News

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14 June 2019

In the portrait gallery of artists who performed with Furtwängler, here, from the winter of 1941, is a newcomer: the violin prodigy Gerhard Taschner, not yet twenty, appointed Konzertmeister of the Berlin Philharmonic alongside Erich Röhn.

For his first appearance, Furtwängler allotted him a star solo spot between pieces by Reger and Dvorak. This marked the start of his recognition in the violin world, both at the time and in the years to come.

We present a facsimile of this programme of 30 November 1941, also accessible via the concert.

8 June 2019

Clearly the Berlin Philharmonic boxset has provoked comment. The written press is echoed by the radio.

Let us in particular note a special programme devoted to it by the station Deutschlandfunk Kultur on Sunday 9 June at 3.30 pm. The guest is none other than Helge Grünewald, the president of our sister beyond the Rhine, the Furtwängler Gesellschaft.

5 June 2019

One day someone will write an article on Furtwängler and the motor car. He came to it relatively late, in the early 1930s, after taking driving lessons notably from Gilbert Back, a violinist with the Berliner.​

However that may be, his first car was worthy of his celebrity: a Horch convertible — a brand even more select than Mercedes — the 830 model, equipped with a 3 litre V8 engine and styled by Gläser of Dresden, like the one below.

He did not keep it long. Taking Richard Strauss back after a rehearsal (Elektra?), and deep in a discussion, he forgot about the traffic, mixed up the pedals and ended his trip in a luxury car in a parking space that turned out to belong to… the Crown Prince! Strauss never again set foot in a vehicle driven by Furtwängler, who subsequently downgraded his pretensions, driving a DKW and even a Volkswagen ‘Beetle’!

With thanks to Klaus Kramer of the Horch Club, Zwickau

31 May 2019

The new study offered by Stéphane Topakian deals with an important subject, yet one that has been little examined up to now: Furtwängler and Schoenberg — basing his research notably on documentation held by the Arnold Schoenberg Centre in Vienna and thanks to the ever pertinent translations of Marc Trautmann.

We find there a complete list of the concerts that included works by Schoenberg, as well as the unpublished correspondence between Furtwängler and the Schoenbergs (Arnold and Gertrud) between 1919 and 1954 and the letters of Schoenberg that include references to Furtwängler.

The stormy premiere of the Variations Op. 31 on 2 December 1928 is depicted in a separate chapter along with all the press reviews, the high quality of which is a happy surprise.

In its totality, this study shows us how Furtwängler conceived his role and his responsibility in the propagation of the music of his own day and also, on the human level, how he helped Schoenberg (and later his widow) obtain compensation for his brutal eviction from the Prussian Academy of the Arts in May 1933.

Ph.J.

 

26 May 2019

The boxset ‘BPO — archives 1939-1945’ — has been the object of various commentaries. In particular let us hail the article by Maciej Chizynski, which has just been published by the site Resmusica, intelligent and precise as ever, something that will come as no surprise to regular visitors.

Here is a detailed and well documented examination of the boxset. Did the editor read the precious article written by our friend Philippe Jacquard and published just a few weeks ago on our site (link)?

No doubt, which tends to prove that our site is both visible and consulted.

Here is the link for consulting the fine Resmusica article.

21 May 2019

Much is spoken of the sad fate that is currently that of Venezuela.

So this is a good opportunity to remind everyone that this country has known happier days, and notably its capital, Caracas, which offered Furtwängler the grandiose setting of the José Angel Lamas Amphitheatre — also known as the Concha Acústica of Bello Monte — which, from the audience’s viewpoint, stands out against the mountainous landscape that borders the city to the north.

It is a sultry March evening, and Furtwängler is rehearsing with the Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela for the concerts marking the inauguration of the building.

15 May 2019

As we know, while the Vienna Philharmonic is not the ideal vehicle for contemporary music, it is a bastion of “Germanic” music, particularly of the romantic period — as the lucky owners of the two tickets below would have been able to confirm. The facsimile of the corresponding programme is online.

No-one could have predicted that one of the featured composers, Hans Pfitzner, would die soon afterwards.

9 May 2019

We announced it just recently: the whole concert of 13 July 1950 — Furtwängler conducting the prestigious Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam — is available as a download.

In other words, in addition to the traditional CD format files (comparable to CDs released some three years ago) we offer you high definition files, with the corresponding added sound value.

There is no need for a detailed presentation of this concert: no doubt the finest concert reading of Beethoven’s First, and a First of Brahms, that combines peerless conducting technique with a performance level that is no doubt utterly perfect from the instrumental aspect. Not forgetting one of the most successful Leonore no. 3!

This package deal, that includes digital sleeve notes, is available for 12 € (corresponding to two CDs…)

4 May 2019

Some documents just make you mad! This photo, for example, taken in Lucerne, in August 1949 during a performance of Haydn’s Creation, with Irmgard Seefried, Walter Ludwig, Boris Christoff and the Festival Chorus and Orchestra: we have the image and wait desperately for the sound to go with it!

The concert was broadcast and even recorded, yet the engraving was no doubt destroyed. That said, since the Overture to Manfred of Lucerne ’53 was recently found (an Audite disc), we may well dream…

28 April 2019

What Parisian, catholic or not, has not been deeply moved by the tragic images and news we have received from all over concerning the fire at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris? They are many who, in France and throughout the world, have felt this same body blow: in just a few moments some 800 years of history seemed to evaporate with heavy clouds of smoke.

Because we must not resign ourselves to tragedy and instead think of the future, because an association devoted to art may not enclose itself in narrow confinement without taking note of what happens right next to it, the SWF is making a donation to the Fondation pour la Patrimoine.​​

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