B0022. (ARTUR RODZINSKI) HALINA RODZINSKI. Our Two Lives. New York, Scribner's, 1976. 403pp. Index; Discography; Photos; DJ. Most interesting biography of the volatile, highly controversial NYPO Musical Director, 1943 ¬ Feb., 1947. Long out-of-print, Final Hardbound Copy!
“Mrs. Rodzinski's 1976 memoir, OUR TWO LIVES, received critical praise for its vivid portrayal of her husband as an autocratic, temperamental genius who conducted with a baton in his right hand and a loaded revolver in his hip pocket. Mr. Rodzinski, who died in 1958, was music director of the New York Philharmonic from 1943 to 1948.”
- THE NEW YORK TIMES, 1 July, 1993
“While Artur Rodzinski career ended before the advent of high fidelity orchestral recording, he deserves to be remembered for the work he did to raise American ensembles such as Los Angeles, Cleveland, Chicago, and New York to new artistic achievements. He was not an easy man to live with and he had numerous personal quirks and professional challenges. He dealt masterfully with musicians but never got on well with administrators.
This memoir, written by his wife, is an excellent summary of his career as well as an intriguing portrait of life with an internationally famous artist. The asides are as valuable as the main details. Mme. Rodzinski gives marvelous details about such figures as Toscanini, Rachmaninoff, and Rubinstein. She is a gifted storyteller and she has crafted an honest and memorable memorial to her husband and their marriage.”
Tony Gualtieri, 12 Sept., 2017
“Artur had ‘experiences’ out of William James - apparitions and presences of the Divine even in the alley behind Carnegie Hall. One night Artur came back to our apartment after rehearsing Mahler's Resurrection (the Second Symphony) and reported he had found waiting for him at the stage door a striking human being, a very tall, handsome, blind man with a long beard, dressed in a brown cape like a Franciscan's habit. ‘He looked like a Christ’, said Artur. ‘I was even afraid for a moment. But he introduced himself to me, and asked if he could attend a rehearsal of the Mahler. Of course, I told him to come whenever he liked’.
Since Artur did not approve of outsiders at rehearsals, including me, I knew that he had been truly moved by this person whose name was Louis Hardin. Louis and Artur eventually became friends. And Artur, whose new religious concerns had not erased his superstitiousness, believed that Louis brought him good luck.
When we found that Louis lived in a cold loft somewhere, we tried to help him out with some warm clothes. Artur, who never parted with so much as an old slipper, gave Louis one of his suits and a heavy winter coat, which Louis sold. Louis was also averse to shoes, and frostbitten feet he knew well enough. He had nothing against seeing again, however, and gladly went with me to visit a well-known eye specialist, Dr. Milton Berliner. I vaguely had a notion that the new art of corneal transplantation could salvage some vision for Louis. The verdict was negative. Both eyes were too hopelessly damaged for surgery, having been destroyed by an explosion when, as a child, Louis played with dynamite.
Louis Hardin used to be a familiar sight on the streets. His usual haunt was the Avenue of the Americas where, unless he has died or moved elsewhere, he probably still pads around in sandals, horse-blanket cape, and now a headdress that looks as if cadged from an old production of DIE WALKÜRE. For a coin, he will tootle a pretty song on his recorder, and give all the conversation one wants for nothing. Most people know him as MOONDOG. His fortunes, such as they ever were, improved when Goddard Lieberson recorded some of his mournful compositions for Columbia. One of them, a song made out of a borrowing from a Dvorak chamber piece, even became the jukebox hit ‘Nature Boy’.
The Mahler Second which brought Louis Hardin into our lives, was given several beautiful performances and was a hit with both public and critics. The Westminster Choir appeared with soloists Enid Szantho and Astrid Varnay. Mahler was then not at all popular. People blanched at the thought of a concert-length symphony, [but] after the Thursday reading, Carnegie Hall was packed."
- Halina Rodzinski, OUR TWO LIVES, pp.247-248