"Great Wagner Conductors" is the first in-depth study to bring the great historical Wagner conductors to life - through anecdote, their own views on Wagner’s music, reports of their performances throughout the world, and their recordings. There is a substantial introductory chapter on Wagner - what he was like as a conductor of his own works and what he wanted of his conductors – then follow chapters on Hans von Bülow, Hans Richter, Anton Seidl, Hermann Levi, Felix Mottl, Karl Muck, Artur Nikisch, Albert Coates, Gustav Mahler, Felix Weingartner, Bruno Walter, Arturo Toscanini, Artur Bodanzky, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Fritz Busch, Erich Kleiber, Hans Knappertsbusch, Clemens Krauss, Karl Böhm, Richard Strauss, Otto Klemperer, and Fritz Reiner. Thousands of reviews of performances from many countries have been distilled to bring us as close as we can to knowing what the conductors were really like. There are comprehensive discographies setting out what the conductors recorded. Rare recordings are documented. There is comment on or excerpts from reviews of all the major recordings, and on many of the more obscure. A section on timings of actual and recorded performances, from Wagner onwards, reveals how widely practice has varied. There is a Select Bibliography, and an Index.
"The level of detail achieved is quite breathtaking," wrote David Patmore in "Classical Recordings Quarterly" reviewing the hardback, "It extends to a vast arsenal of footnotes … as a resource they will be amazingly useful in a vast range of different contexts…. For anyone interested in conducting from the mid-nineteenth century onwards, and in particular the performance of Wagner, this book will be an essential acquisition. Its strength lies in the collection of so many different and varied contemporary reports of Wagner in performance from approximately 1850 to 1960. If this is where your interest lies, it will provide much fascinating reading." (Winter 2012).
"Great Wagner Conductors is a major contribution to the literature on this subject," wrote Gary Galo in the "ARSC Journal", "and belongs in the library of every serious Wagner enthusiast." (May 2013).
The book was awarded an Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research in 2013.