It was announced a long time ago and now the dream that became a project has become reality: the 50th anniversary of the SWF will be celebrated on Saturday 19 October.
There is still time to join us.
Here now available is the new release of the SWF: the download (high definition and CD format) of the Schubert concert that Furtwängler and his Viennese gave at the Konserthuset of Stockholm on 12 May 1943.
We do not have the whole concert. Lacking are the Overture to Rosamunde, the slow movement of the Unfinished and a good part of the encore: The Emperor Waltz by Strauss. Yet the essence is still present: the 9th, the ‘Great’, amplified by a highly Viennese interpretation with regard to style, a performance out of the ordinary, and above all in a relaxed spirit. We are far from Berlin and its very dark 9th, from the abyss of a nation at war: the musicians seem to have rediscovered peace in a country that neutrality kept away from the sombre agitation of those years
Yet first and foremost we must insist on the excellence of the aural result. Swedish Radio, that provided us with a copy from its archive, did its job well, and — apart from some slight background noise (conservation of the direct engraving discs 33rpm/40 cm) — we benefit from a recording that does justice to the phrasing, to the incredible dynamics, to the rich colours of the woodwind, the opulence of the brass and the seduction of the strings.
A release of this recording has never before reached such a pinnacle, and the merit for this belongs notably to the Studio Art et Son (Christophe Hénault). The release reprints, for the notes (bilingual), the very beautiful text drawn up by the late Lee Schipper for the first vinyl pressing, in addition to articles that appeared in the Austrian papers on the occasion of this nordic tour of 1943.
ProQuartet — the principal association devoted to chamber music and notably to the quartet – brings us its support for the presentation of our concert of the 19th.
Every year, the Association ProQuartet-European Chamber Music Centre takes over the most emblematic venues of the capital as part of the ‘Nuit Blanche à Paris’ (White Night in Paris).
This year too, the finest international ensembles such as the quartets Agate, Piatti, Harold, Elmire, Kuss, Arod, Yako, Mona, Cheng, Maurice and Tchalik will perform masterpieces of yesterday’s and today’s repertories in the course of the Nuit du Quatuor (Night of the Quartet). In an atmosphere of intimacy and unreality, the public will be able at no cost to take advantage of these concerts held within the mythical hall of the Nymphéas of Claude Monet at the Musée de l’Orangerie. This year the public will be able to hear in a pre-premiere three unpublished works composed by pupils of the composition class of the Paris Conservatory.
Access: Musée de l’Orangerie – Jardin des Tuileries – Place de la Concorde, Paris
And that’s not all! ProQuartet is also the Nuit du trio (Night of the Trio).
The ordinary General Meeting of the SWF will be held on 19 October next at 4.30 pm at the Centre Universitaire Malesherbes, 108 bd Malesherbes, Paris. You will find the invitation, together with the agenda and a reply-coupon in the rubric Invitations and minutes of our site.
A new feature: there is no longer any need to send in a reply-coupon. An electronic form will enable you to reply to the matter of your presence or of giving procuration to someone else if you are not able to attend. This form will also be found on the page ‘Invitations and minutes’.
As already announced, this General Meeting of the fiftieth anniversary will be followed by a concert in the Salle Cortot, right next to the venue for our AGM. Read the information about this concert
NB: As the Centre Malesherbes is a public establishment, access to it is controlled, and we warmly recommend you send in the reply-coupon in order to facilitate entrance.
From now until the celebrations of the SWF’s fiftieth anniversary, we shall post memories of ‘former greats’ of the association.
A beautiful story
It is said that the ineffable cannot be told, yet nonetheless I shall try!
I was thirteen (1961) when the film Goodby Again (Aimez-vous Brahms) appeared in the cinemas. About the film, nothing. Yet my parents had offered me for my tenth birthday a Teppaz record player. And my brother, who had seen the film as he was old enough, offered me the 3rd Symphony of Brahms in a recording by the Berliner Philharmoniker made on 13 December 1949. It was winter, as was clear from all the coughing. Antibiotics were no doubt not yet (very much) in fashion. No matter, the conductor had me enthralled.
From that day onwards, anything to do with Furtwängler could not escape me. I spent my time in record shops searching for treasures.
Some time later, in 1969, I made the decision to contact admirers of the great conductor. There must surely be others, though I did not know to what extent! So I decided to write to music magazines in vogue at the time: Diapason, Harmonie and others, in order to seek out soulmates who (was it possible?) would have the same admiration for Furtwängler as I.
That same year, when I had almost completed my mailing, on the radio station France Musique, Pierre Massé announced the birth, in Bordeaux, of a Société Wilhelm Furtwängler and he presented us with the B side of Beethoven’s Fifth. I can still remember it. To be listened to “on your knees”, he said.
My now superfluous letters tossed away, I quickly joined the Société that would fulfil my dreams by enabling me to discover all (or almost) about the supremely illustrious conductor. There I got to know Sami and I still sometimes wonder if I did not attend the lectures of the SWF primarily for his wit. And the much lamented and friendly Benoît Lejay. And then all these masterpieces!
Today I host a programme on one of the last remaining free radios in France and on it I broadcast from time to time works conducted by Furtwängler, or played by him on the piano, sometimes even his own compositions. Yet not too often. Some of them I keep jealously for no-one but myself. The ones I would taken with me on a desert island!
Thank you to the Société Wilhelm Furtwängler for existing.
Michel Ponte (August 2019)
We know that from the mid-1920s onwards, at Furtwängler’s initiative, the Berlin Philharmonic made a practice of regular tours. In principle there were two each year, in winter to northern Germany, the Netherlands and Great Britain, in spring to southern and western Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France. And rather than appearing only in the biggest centres, medium-sized cities were not neglected. His successor was to do away with this form of proselytism.
In the spring of 1951, the Philharmonic left for a month on the road! And they made a stop at Essen, where a brand new hall awaited them, its predecessor having been destroyed during the war.
Here is the facsimile of the programme
We have written about this on our site for the past several months: the fiftieth anniversary of the SWF will be marked notably by an exceptional public concert, on 19 October next in Paris.
This link will give you complete information concerning the concert.
You may already purchase tickets for this concert on our Shop page.
Three ticket prices:
– normal tariff at 25 €
– youth tariff/student at 15 €
– a ‘patronage’ tariff, at 70 €, that will enable members who so desire to support our activity. Your name will appear on the programme in the support section, insofar as we are aware of this before 12 October.
This concert is open to the public, and
It does not take much to bring a hidden event to the surface.
A tiny piece of paper, for example, can be enough — a concert ticket — to reveal a concert of Furtwängler that figures neither in the Trémine list, nor even in his source for Berlin, the voluminous history of the Philharmonic written by Peter Muck.
On 24 January 1940, the Berliner Philharmoniker and their conductor gave a concert in Essen the day after an evening at The Hague (the facsimile of the programme can be found on the SWF site) and on the eve of the stopover in Cologne in the course of this tour.
We have added it to the concert list on our site, unfortunately without the details of the programme. Any info gratefully received…
Work on the future product for downloading is almost complete. The studio Art et Son has cleaned the files from Swedish Radio: some slight but acceptable background noise, a number of ‘clicks’, some very audible that had to be removed ‘by hand’, a well balanced sound in the spectrum (just some sunlight lacking in the higher register) and a generous dynamic.
At the same time the sleeve notes are currently being prepared (and translated):
– the text drawn up by the late lamented Lee Schipper for the original LP edition of more than thirty years ago,
– some press cuttings of the time,
– the list of the Philharmoniker in 1943.
So the baby is looking good! Here is a sound snippet to whet your appetite
Release date: early October.
On 19 October next the concert the SWF is organising to mark its fiftieth anniversary will be held in the Salle Cortot, Paris.
Do we really know this historic place? Not so sure! Here is a little study for some more info about it.