Furtwängler’s operatic repertory is sometimes incorrectly understood, notably because we always have in mind what recordings he was able to bequeath to us.
The brief study to be discovered (for members) has but a single ambition: establish the list of the operas conducted by Furtwängler.
Though Furtwängler and his Berliners appeared, in Paris, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and later at the Opéra Garnier — prestige demanded no less —, the Salle Pleyel, inaugurated in 1927, welcomed them twice, for their first appearance in the French capital in 1928 and above all for the concert that marked one of the German musical contributions to the Exhibition of 1937, on September 7.
Here is a rare witness to this evening. Furtwängler acknowledges the public, with at his left Bruno Kittel, chorus master, and he is then himself hailed by the French President, Albert Lebrun.
Last July we announced the release of the Furtwängler/DG box-set, which included all the recordings produced by the group over the previous decades, not forgetting the Polydor of pre-war days, Decca, and also the radio recordings (Berlin, Cairo, Vienna, etc.) all released for many years with the yellow label.
This meant therefore the duplication of some recordings of the Berliner Philharmoniker (1939-1945 archives).
We should rejoice in such an accumulation, yet, alas, DG was content merely to make compilations of the earlier various releases, without undertaking the real editorial work of remastering. What appeared to be welcome some thirty of forty years ago is no longer to be regarded as such in view of current practice.
This is a pity: a missed opportunity. There remains the practicality that at least we have everything at an advantageous price.
Let us hope that Warner will be able to draw the logical conclusion if the group is to be gracious enough to offer us a complete collection!
Here is the link to the comprehensive article of Maciej Chizynski on the site Resmusica
The holder of this ticket attended a concert which remained somewhat overlooked during Furtwängler’s career.
At the end of December 1950, Furtwängler directed a series of three Beethoven Ninths in Berlin, which have faded from memory, probably because they were not recorded — eight others were taped between 1947 and 1954!
For the researcher, it presents several curious details:
– these were the only Ninths given in the Titania-Palast; no doubt it was necessary to enlarge the stage, where the orchestra alone was already cramped,
– it was one of the few times that Furtwängler engaged the choir of St Hedwig’s Cathedral,
– and it was the only time he conducted the wonderful soprano Elfriede Trötschel, who sadly died, still young, only a few years later.
To ensure it of a place of distinction in our archives, here is the facsimile.