Arturo Toscanini: The man behind the legend; Robert Hupka
This is Ben. Welcome to another edition of NBC his weekly broadcast of music with the NBC symphony orchestra of the baton about Toscanini. On this program we'll hear music and. Our guest at intermission time will be Robert Hooke a young photographer whose devotion to Maestro led him to traveled from his native Vienna to the United States in order to be able to hear his concert. We think you'll enjoy knowing his story his music and his photography and of the forthcoming book. This was written by the late Samuel and take photographs by Robert Hooke. Concert begins now as we hear music by you. Yes.
One. The Danse Macabre of sound songs under the baton about Toto Toscanini has been
the opening music on this the twenty second broadcast of NBC special series Toscanini the man behind the legend. The sound you just heard was that of a small tune symbols sometimes called an antique symbol. The antique cymbal player was a member of the percussion section of the NBC symphony orchestra at the time the afternoon of November 8th 951 the place. Carnegie Hall in New York City. The occasion or a personal for a broadcast and recording by the NBC symphony orchestra of the Queen Mab's get so from the Romeo and Juliet symphony later when we hear the antique cymbals again in their finished performance within the context of the score. It was sound this way. Through the courtesy of the American Federation of Musicians and the Toscanini archives at Riverdale
we were able to revisit that rehearsal and see how Maestro Toscanini worked to achieve the perfection he demanded. It was a rehearsal which had been in a sense not looked forward to by the men of the orchestra. They knew the difficulty of the music they knew also that Maestro because of its difficulty and his own high regard for the work would give it special care. His super sensitive is would be even more acutely tuned toward era as he probed and dissected into the very fiber of the piece itself to try to bring it to life with the exact same sounds its composer had in mind when he first set the notes on paper. It was one of those works like Debussy or perhaps one of his scores which Maestro played over and over again in attempt to do it as he would have said just as the composer wished. And so it was a rehearsal which brought the men to the stage of Carnegie Hall many minutes before the actual downbeat as they took last minute opportunities to refresh themselves on their much studied parts.
Harry Byrd the member of the French horn section of the NBC symphony told us recently there was one concert zation that gave me many sleepless nights was the Queen Mab scare So this was one number that required all the delicacy of all the people in the orchestra not only the horn section the horn parts are like a man climbing up a steep mountain and just a little blade of grass to catch on through such a difficult number of required nerves that you could have but and had to be there you know you had to do it and it was great disciplinary and it wasn't. You were so well disciplined that even if you were nervous you played. And from talking with many of Mr. Babbs colleagues in the orchestra we agree that this feeling was largely shared. Before we go into the actual rehearsal itself let's listen to the first 26 seconds of the work. The opening bars of the actual recording which Maestro made of the Queen Mab sketch. Now as we begin to hear the same 26 second portion of the score as maestro has
noticed the infinite detail of his work the frequent stops the words of admonition to the orchestra and finally a reminder to them that this was not the first time they had played this work together. You're. That. Good.
You did not go. In there. You're. Saying you don't want to get all. Mad. Like. Me.
With these rehearsal sounds fresh in our mind then we'll hear the results of all of maestros endevour of cajoling of demanding of teaching of humors and dejection as of unceasing search for perfection. And now the Queen Mab skitzo from Romeo and Juliet By eck wors as broadcast and recorded by the NBC Symphony Orchestra under the baton about Toto Toscanini. Toscanini and the NBC symphony orchestra have just performed the Queen Mab sketch so a bellows
bringing us now to an intermission time on Toscanini. The man behind the legend. Our guest this week is Robert Hooke whose hobby of photography and his admiration for Master Toscanini have taken him far from his native Vienna within a very short time Vanguard Press will publish a book titled This was Toscanini written by a former member of the orchestra the late Samuel Antec a book which will include over 100 photographs taken by the man whom we are presently chatting with Robert Hooke. Bob this is a pleasant reunion for me I remember us so well from rehearsal and concert days and age and Carnegie Hall always with your camera and the constant click of you're like oh whatever. It would take pictures a long time haven't you. Well photography was always a hobby of mine and. In mine they used to take a lot of photographs during school. But you weren't a professional photographer or news you know. Well it's a very mixed up background I was a musician at the heart of photography the hard and when I really feel that music in your
family. Yes. When you was in my blood and I grew up with it and as a matter of fact the first experience of Maestro I was 13 years when I heard my father mention the name Toscanini and of course I had no idea who he was and he said he was a very famous conductor and it was at that time that even the name somehow cast a magic spell on me. I listen to all the great conductors of the time I heard them playing well and a whole lot of them will conduct the Vienna Philharmonic and well. Toscanini even before I heard him entranced me by his recordings there was a magnetic spell that was cast and I will never forget the first. The first experience in the hearing lies in person. My parents took me to the Salzburg festivals in 1934. It was a my 15th birthday and the day before the concert on August 26 we went through a tour of the
Salzburg Festival House and we could not go into the hall because Toscanini was rehearsing and just as we passed by from the outside something hit me the likes I have never experienced before. It was just during this tremendous climax of the Freeman funeral music and good to them. And it was just you know I heard it through the door and heard through closed doors and it was just like I had a vision. I had cold chills going through my spine and it was just the most glorious splendid sound I have ever heard it was something that captivated me and it was just like I don't know if I would have seen to have them open. And you know we didn't open the door and I wouldn't be there at that age and you know I gather that somehow you got with us you know your plan was to get close and it was a constant desire after having heard my story the first time and incidentally after that experience of course the next day we went to the concert it was the most wonderful concert
with the program. Well Robert we have the boy of 15 insults with the first impact the presence of Maestro on the power of Maestro and now we have the realization that a book is just being published with an text text and your photographs some hundreds of your photographs. Let's see how we can make very quickly the bridge you came to America you joined our CIA. You got into the recording division all of which will bring you closer to my eyes that's right I worked on my sister's recordings and I went to all the recording sessions. And as I had taken photographs in Vienna during school one day the thought struck me why take photographs right here in Carnegie Hall because so I instantly started to take photographs and I asked permission. Oh yes of course. Well the Toscanini was very kind and I had the clearance from RCA Victor and I roamed around with my camera and I took about fifteen hundred photographs
candid shot candid shots and the way I took them it was very strange because I used a very powerful telephoto lens and with that lens I sneaked around behind the orchestra. I covered the camera and the lens with my jacket so as to hide the camera clicks. And well this lens would give a close up of my astroid as you might see with an ordinary lens. Distance of a couple of feet from behind the orchestra and I set myself up some time behind the last row orchestra and I remember one kind heart the trumpet player who walked boldly after recording session because I graphed from around the country music. That's right if I was behind them and his chair and I got the most fantastic pictures I had blisters on my thumb one session from taking about 11 rolls of films each one having 36 exposures. But it was a tremendous tremendous experience to watch this magnificent face as you certainly know yourself. And
after I had taken all these pictures I wanted to make a book that when the photographs were taken during the sessions in 1947 46 and 47 and I. Arranged at that time a very beautiful sequence according to to give a picture story of my street recording. I needed a good text and of course I'm not the right with you to write anyhow so the whole thing just faded away. But for years a goal I was asked by the Bangor press to illustrate texts in the text was written by Samuel and who for 17 years played in the orchestra. He wrote a wonderful article that was published in the set of the review literature I think it was at my sister's 80th birthday I'm not sure before. Yes and the maestro himself congratulated and take it and told him that it was the dearest writing because antic was so close to him in all these years. So I had spoken as a matter of fact over the phone to and whether he
might give me permission and of course the magazine to reprint this article. And we were going to get together and he never saw the pictures of course he saw me run around with a camera but unfortunately you know how it is in this busy life of New York. Well it was too late. But when I saw the entire manuscript that was to be published I was so moved because it is the most truthful. Let me let me express what you what you were saying in the introduction which Marsha Davenport the famed writer and music critic has written about this text. She says it is the best written material about Toscanini that I've ever read. Truth being an intensely Allied the author had a singular contribution to make is made it eloquently with sincerity and love. We look for the book when it comes out. We've got to have a bit now from these thousand and more candid shots culled down to 100 as
you took them as you viewed them in your developing room and looked at them what were the qualities and insights into Maestro that you noted. Well it was just a perfectly truthful portrait of the man as he was seen by the orchestra. There was nothing posed of course Maestro never could pose it was a perfectly natural portrait the way the man always was and is a beautiful sequence of conducting portraits as I call it the pictures that I grouped together in sequence as it might look while my sister would conduct a musical piece which begins with a very slow introduction and then it would work up the terrific climax. You can almost feel the music when you look at this tremendous face but an eye or rigidly grouped these pictures in the sequence of a photo story. I had to change all this to fit the new text and it seemed to me who has looked for a good text for my story
that this was really providentially made to order. It's a very beautiful in the word providential. Two people two disciplines quite apart from each other and tech playing there under Maestro as a violinist and feeling things which he wrote about and hope for yourself as a photographer and you meet in the pages of the book 15 years later and it fits. It is a very funny thing because I actually played in the orchestra. I played the camera because when I took these pictures I was working under the influence of Maestro like the men would play the instruments I was hypnotized and I clicked my cable release just at that moment when you're falling in line with your soul under his powers as watching Maestro it was just magnetism hypnotism call you what you wanted it was just beauty that completely captivated you. Thinking over specifics can you recall any. Stormy passage or any tranquil and serene tender moments.
Are there any that stick out in your mind that lead to particular pictures. Yes there was one incident that is quite outstanding. Maestro did not know that I took these photographs at least at the time. I worked around behind the orchestra like a thief. You've come flashing the camera but there was one occasion where he did catch me. It was during an intermission and I did not have my long powerful telephoto lens but went very closely maybe within two or three three feet. He was talking to the cons of my estimation Mischa course at the time and was completely engrossed in the conversation he was in a wonderful mood his face was just radiating. And I figured out well be brave take a chance so I went closely by and click. No reaction whatsoever from my straw and well I clicked again. Again no reaction. Click click.
After the sixth click he got up like lightning and he grabbed me at the caller made a face as if to punch me gently my chin says all the gods sakes. So I was. The reason we heard that very often so I was disarmed and of course I was a marriage that I didn't know what to say I had to do so all I could do is smile back at him and say Mitt take your picture my strip and I click again. This picture came out quite blurry because I was too excited that it was the camera but working on maestro's recordings and being so close to him was just the greatest. And I can only say that being a camera and having the first picture that I took of my sister and Salzburg at the festivals I forgot to turn the film so I got the double exposure. I would have never dreamt that 20 years later I was so fortunate to take this marvelous collection these photographs these
pictures of yours of a thousand and more are a precious addition to the files of the Toscanini family and to the this is a pictorial record of my stroke. They are part of the files of the postman the family of Riverdale. Well in these pictures are. A great treasure but the thing that is even closer to my heart than the pictures are my sister's recordings and I have from the very beginning really dedicated myself to do something about these recordings and I went through every existing file at the time of course during my work at RCA Victor and there was plenty of history made during these seven years that I was with the company where I gathered all this information and I always wanted to make a complete and definitive listing of maestros recordings which is a monumental task. So during these seven years of course I had gathered all this
material but now in nineteen sixty three there was plenty at it and I worked for close to two years doing further research all the Toscanini was very kind and opened all the treasures of his archives to me and well I went through every original source that I could find and got the information together to make a listing and those listings. Is a chronological history of every record from the very front of the very first the first 1020 first record was made in the 17th 900 twenty years it was still a single damn orchestra that's right that was the looks Let's call orchestra touring with Toscanini. The United States Victor Talking Machine Company that's right and well I have listed. It's like a diary. Every date of either recording session or broadcast and given the
complete history of time even the hour of recording and all the contents of the individual records with the timings and of course all the catalogue numbers if you might call it a divine discography. Well I don't know how divine it is but it is a terrifically big job. One last question so let me ask you as a photographer as a lover of music as an intimate coworker these days what is the one thing that you feel that my sister brought you. Well I can say one thing that he brought me closer to God because it is in the reflection of his music that I just feel all the infinite goodness and beauty of God was revealed to us and it was just an experience. Music can be pulled.
Thank you Bob. Our guest has been photographed will appear in a book shortly to be released by Vanguard Press. This was Toscanini written by the late Samuel Antec himself a violinist for 17 years with the NBC symphony concert continues now as we hear a work by the Italian composer the dance of the 100. And.
If anything. I think. And. I think I think and I think they think. Things. Who.
Would. Who. You are.
You are in.
The dance of the woman named Spike colonnade. A concept includes Mao as we hear the NBC Symphony Orchestra under the baton about the Toscanini IN THE SORCERERS APPRENTICE by Dukat. The to. Yeah. Yeah
but. Yeah but. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. I am. I am. I am. The bow. Wow. Yeah but.
Yeah. Ooh ooh. Ooh ooh. Ooh ooh. Ooh ooh ooh. AA. You only. Going. To a few. Areas. I am. Going to end.
You only. Going to. Thank you. The sun.
The sun. Thank you.
You have been listening to Toscanini the man behind the legend.
Each week the National Broadcasting Company brings you Toscanini the man behind the legend a program devoted to the music of Maestro and the NBC symphony orchestra. As well as two intimate interviews with friends and colleagues as we examine the legend that has grown up around the man whose baton dominated the musical world for so many years. I music on this program included the Danse Macabre sand songs Queen Mab scads of bellows dance of the water names by kata Lani and the
Sorcerers Apprentice. You caught Robert who was our guest at intermission time. We cordially invite you to be with us next week. For a program devoted entirely to the music of Tchaikovsky. We will hear Romeo and Juliet selections from the Nutcracker Suite and the final movement of the part of teak symphony. Our guest of intermission time will be the distinguished American composer Aaron Copeland. Future guests will include Samuel shots and off on the anniversary of the first broadcast of the NBC symphony on the number thirteen thousand nine hundred thirty seven. The distinguished operatic star layman will be our guest and we present highlights from Beethoven's Vidalia and Rose Bampton will join us during a forthcoming on Wagner program. Script material for this broadcaster is taken from the personal files of the Toscanini family in Riverdale New York. And the programs are produced for NBC under the supervision of Don Gillis.
This is Ben Grauer speaking. Well. You have heard one of the series of programs produced at the seat in 1963.
Additional material for this president came from the Toscanini archive of post-production by wooden and editing by Sherry Hutchinson. This program is brought to you by the South Carolina Educational Radio Network. Major funding is from Cooper Industries incorporated and Mr and Mrs Gee which are chaffed of. Additional funding comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. This is NPR National Public Radio.
- Robert Hupka
- Producing Organization
- National Broadcasting Company
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- This program focuses on the life and music of conductor Arturo Toscanini and includes a recollection by photographer Robert Hupka.
- Series Description
- This series celebrates the life and music of conductor Arturo Toscanini. Each program includes a tribute to Toscanini by a notable person.
- Media type
Conductor: Toscanini, Arturo, 1867-1957
Host: Grauer, Ben
Performing Group: NBC Symphony Orchestra
Producer: Gillis, Don, 1912-1978
Producing Organization: National Broadcasting Company
Speaker: Hupka, Robert
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 1916 (WAMU)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “Arturo Toscanini: The man behind the legend; Robert Hupka,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 24, 2024, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-tx355r1b.
- MLA: “Arturo Toscanini: The man behind the legend; Robert Hupka.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 24, 2024. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-tx355r1b>.
- APA: Arturo Toscanini: The man behind the legend; Robert Hupka. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-tx355r1b