Artful Display

During a rehearsal of Debussy's La Mer one day, Arturo Toscanini found himself struggling to convey the effect he wished to achieve with a particular passage. Finally, removing a silk handkerchief from his pocket, he tossed it high into the air.

As the entranced orchestra watched its slow, graceful descent to earth, Toscanini beamed. "There," he declared as it settled on the floor, "play it like that!"

[Toscanini got his big break when he was called upon to substitute for an ailing conductor. A cellist at the time, Toscanini took the podium at the opera house in Rio de Janeiro and conducted Verdi's Aida from memory.]

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