Riccardo Muti’s autobiography First the Music, Then The Words is definitely one of the most important literary accounts published in recent years.
In eleven chapters and less than two hundred pages, the Maestro thinks back over his musical career with rare intelligence, mixing funny anecdotes with most serious incidents, such as the famous evening at La Scala when he was obliged to play at the piano the entire accompaniment of Traviata.
In these pages, Muti’s wide erudition and remarkable talent for entertainment (about which there was little doubt) are fully displayed, thanks to the structure the Maestro adopted for his work. The episodes follow one another incessantly, without many grave reflections, creating a certain variety which prevents the attention to fail. This method avoids both self-celebration and the description of contrasts of any kind, leaving aside tiresome polemics (of which we are glad to be exempted), but also some more explanations, that maybe we would not have disliked.