This line from Victor Hugo — “Come! An invisible flute…” — finds a quite prosaic echo on our site: our album of The Magic Flute (Salzburg 1951) is no longer visible there. A victim of its success, it is out of stock. Yet be reassured: it will be reborn digitally, and in the course of February 2019 it will be possible to download this great moment of music and theatre… and in high definition 24/96!
What a curious programme was the one printed and distributed for the Berlin concert of 28 September 1947!
The concert was organised for members of the allied occupation forces, hence mainly Americans (the Titania Palast was in the American sector). Was this the reason for entrusting the preparation of the programme notes to someone no doubt more able to wield a rifle than a pen? The turns of phrase are such as to discourage our very modest English, and we asked our faithful member Roger Smithson to try to decrypt this hotchpotch.
We thank him warmly and note the presentation, not unintended, of the programme’s title page: Yehudi Menuhin (in large letters) is accompanied (in very small letters) by an orchestra that must doubtless be of the third zone and in the hands of some obscure baton wielder…
Who has heard of Coffeyville, a small community of ten thousand souls in the state of Kansas, a stone’s throw from Oklahoma? And yet many lovers of French comic strips and of the ’poor lonesome cowboy’ Lucky Luke should remember it: it was there that a bloodbath ended the saga of the gang of the Dalton brothers on 5 October 1892.
What on earth has this to do with Furtwängler and our association, I hear you ask?
The statistics of the SWF website are clear: it is this forsaken locality that has recorded the greatest number of connections to our site for the whole of the North American continent and even for the world, France excepted.
A ‘Furt’ fetichist? No, doubtless some robot programmed to operate continuously in order to extract information and statistics. However, lacking credentials and a member’s card, it cannot get much. Our site resists, just as the town and its banks resisted the outlaws.
PS: Same conclusion for Perm in Siberian Russia. It is much bigger than Coffeyville, but less fun…
William Walton in Wien.
Three Ws that hail the performance of a work by Walton by the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Furtwängler. The archives of the Philharmoniker inform us that this enfant terrible of English music (the epithet is not ours) had five of his pieces programmed by the orchestra — over a period of 70 years!, including two with Furtwängler. Where were the other conductors? And it is said that Furtwängler did not do much for his contemporaries! Or else he was very happy to have the same Christian name…
Because an association is a community, because it lives on what it produces but no less on what its members contribute to it, we are starting something new and invite you to send us your comments on our various news items.
For practical reasons the comments — reserved of course to members — should conform to the language chosen by the visitor for the site, without a system of translation which would be too onerous and too slow.
In several bulletins we have mentioned the centenary of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in 1942, though this was always in fragmentary fashion, providing one element or correcting another… In order to give a precise idea of the nature of the various events, we have decided to present an extensive panorama of them in study format, enriched with many hitherto unpublished documents.
As it was also necessary to give a clear snapshot of the orchestra, we have asked Christian Merlin to draw up its portrait. The well-known chronicler is also the author of a book on the Wiener Philharmoniker — a veritable and an authoritative magnum opus (Le Philharmonique de Vienne, Buchet Chastel, 2017).
And to leave the last word to Furtwängler, we have reproduced the speech he gave at the inauguration, in a translation made by Audrey Roncigli and also in a facsimile of the leaflet that was published just afterwards by the Philharmoniker.
A real trip back in time, one you yourself will be able to take a few weeks from now.
Some members have had difficulty downloading the Deutsches Requiem.
The problem seems to come from the slowness of our server, no doubt more used to chansonnettes in mp3 than a long requiem in 24/96. However that may be: rather than writing a shortcut for the Requiem, we have changed the server.
A few weeks ago we posted a paper circular (to those who have decided to stay with paper), and now a faithful Swiss member has sent us some circulars from a while back, 1999 and 2000 to be precise.
This is the perfect opportunity to repeat our appeal, notably to our older members: we still have gaps in the long series of newsletters. We lack in particular the documents from 1973 to 1979.
It would be great to be able to start off our fiftieth anniversary with our archives complete!
We remind everyone that we limit the edition of the paper circular to those who request it. It merely contains the elements that appear on our website.
In October 1947 Furtwängler conducted an opera for the first time in more than three years! And it was Tristan und Isolde at the Berlin Staatsoper, now established in the Admiralspalast following the destruction of the opera house ‘Unter den Linden’.
He was well supported by faithful singers such as Ludwig Suthaus, Erna Schlüter and Gottlob Frick, yet also by a female stage director well acquainted with the world of Wagner, the soprano Frida Leider. As for the decorator Lothar Schenk von Trapp, he was one of those who brought new blood to the scenography. And since the recording has survived from this evening of 3 October, though without the first act, we shall have to be satisfied in this connection with a picture: the scenery for Tristan’s ship.
The facsimile of the programme also reveals the economic situation in Berlin at the time: it has only a pretty meagre four pages…
We have the almost complete list of Furtwängler’s concerts. Yet we also have, through online documentation or through the acquisition of documents, some printed programmes. And there is sometimes a surprise, for example a last-minute programme change. This is the case with a concert in New York, where Furtwängler withdrew from a work… The reason? Read the attached pdf document and you will be astonished.