About a Requiem

The preparation of the release (19 October) by the SWF of the Stockholm German Requiem is also an opportunity to make a few points about the performances of this masterpiece under the baton of Furtwängler.

A few surprises discovered in the course our research:
— though he conducted the work a good number of times in Vienna, it was always with the Symphonic Orchestra (or its predecessor), never with the Philharmonic;
— he conducted it only a few times in Berlin, even though it was there that he had available to him one of his favourite choruses, that of Bruno Kittel;
— his position within the Brahms Gesellschaft enabled him to programme the Requiem three times at great Brahms festivals: Heidelberg in 1926, Jena in 1929 and that of the centenary, in Vienna in 1933;
— he never recorded the work for a disc, Walter Legge (EMI) preferring Karajan after the performances in Lucerne and Vienna in 1947. Happily, there are the radio recordings.

We offer you a small study (English version) consisting of the list of these concerts, a concise biography of all the soloists, and a more detailed portrayal of the Jena performance in 1929.

14 October 2018

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