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30 March 2020

A promise is a promise.

The recording of the concert of the 50th anniversary of the SWF, on 19 October 2019, is now available to our members. Non-members will have to content themselves with this extract.


Quartets by Schubert, Beethoven and Ravel, performed by the Varian Fry Quartet of Berlin, recorded by Frédéric Briant.

There are two ways to access this:

streaming (available for the next two months), by clicking here.

– downloading (SWF D07), from the shop, as for another reference, yet of course at no cost (the price is zero euro). 2 formats: CD quality (wav 16/44) and high definition (flac 24/96)

A facsimile of the programme can also be downloaded along with a tutorial to help you downloading.

Those who attended the concert will be able to relive these intense moments; everyone else will discover a concert that will leave an important mark in our history.

24 March 2020

Our friends of the Wilhelm Furtwängler Centre of Japan have just released a double DVD of 2 concerts of Furtwängler conducting the RAI Orchestra of Rome:
– that of 10 January 1952, with the Pastorale and the 5th Symphony,
– that of the 19th of the same month, with the 4th Concerto played by Pietro Scarpini and the Eroica.

When one says ‘DVD’, one often thinks of images. In this case we have just sound files. On your screen you will see menus, like those of a film. By clicking, you will be able to listen in high definition.

With sound that is very reasonable – yet which cannot compensate for the relative dryness of the Foro Italico concert hall – here are some very interesting performances, dominated by that of the Eroica, in which the orchestra seems more at ease, as if this very ‘modern’ music gave the instrumentalists greater inspiration!

The double DVD is sold on subscription at a price of 35 € – this is the price (+ expenses) determined by the Japanese association.

This subscription is open until 31 May 2020. We shall have the requisite number of DVDs sent over from Japan so that we can then send them on to you.

The order should be placed on our website shop.


20 March 2020

One of our members, Jean-Luc Tardivat, who is always on the qui vive, noticed this Deutsche Grammophon announcement, copied by the excellent site “Furtwaengler Journal”.

The yellow label is releasing a box-set devoted to the Staatskapelle of Berlin for its 450th anniversary, in other words the Orchestra of the National Opera playing in concert formation. Furtwängler was its conductor before succeeding Nikisch at the BPO.

In order to conjure up Furtwängler’s presence with the Staatskapelle, DG included in its box-set programme the Tristan of October 1947. As is well known, the first act is missing, and our association released a double CD with acts II and III (it can indeed be found on the site mentioned at the head of this article). DG excelled itself by including ONLY act II. Why?

Our double album is still available in our catalogue. Don’t hesitate!

Rehearsal of Tristan in October 1947. On the left: Gottlob Frick (King Marke)

18 March 2020

You have not received the CD you ordered from the SWF? This is—if not normal—at least logical.

Everyone will have understood that during this period of confinement, it has not been possible for us to ensure the delivery of your discs or books.

This is an extra reason for thinking of downloading: the coronavirus is not yet attacking internet traffic…

We are grateful for your understanding and urge you to take care!

13 March 2020

Everyone knows it! Wilhelm Furtwängler began his American career in January 1925, on Saturday 3 to be precise, this being the start of three successive seasons during which, at the head of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra (NYPO), he shared the spotlight with Willem Mengelberg, and then also, from 1926, with Arturo Toscanini.

What we discover from the archives of the New York Philharmonic is that Furtwängler almost appeared at the head of the orchestra as early as January 1924. This anticipated yet missed opportunity emerges from the correspondence preserved in these archives, records that are just as much the reflection of a certain way of doing things at a particular period. Another time…

We have translated these letters. On the other hand, our Anglophone friends, owing to matters of reproduction rights, will have to consult the facsimiles present on the website of the NYPO archives.

Here is this short survey.

9 March 2020

The programme whose facsimile we present today is that for the Berlin Philharmonic concerts of 3-5 April 1938.

Nothing extraordinary: an “all Beethoven” event — except for a few details which you can discover by looking inside.