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31 March 2023

Our long-time member Angelo Scottini — author of the superlative study Furtwängler in Italy — is to thank for an exceptional programme, that of Furtwängler’s return to the orchestra on Sunday, April 6, 1947.
Having been confined to Switzerland and finally rehabilitated after more than two years of silence, it was in Italy, in Rome and then in Florence, that he made his comeback with the Orchestra of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia.
Download the programme.

13 March 2023

« Everybody can’t be an orphan… »
Jules Renard, Poil de carotte

A month ago we issued the programme for the February 13, 1942 concert. It was a follow-up to the BPO’s tour through Scandinavian countries. Here is the programme, to be downloaded, of the concert that preceded this journey, on January 11, 1942.

It featured an exceptionally gifted artist, the violinist Guila Bustabo. Her fate refers to the quote in the title…

1 March 2023

Is it a programme? Is it a poster? In any case, when classified among our “Get the programme!” documents, it takes the number one spot. Dated December 13th, 1914, it shows the details of a concert in Lübeck by the Verein-Orchester conducted by Furtwängler for the benefit of the Red Cross. Nobody knew then that this institution would have much to do over the next four years…

Portrait by his mother, ca. 1915

25 February 2023

A conference about Bruckner was planned for March, 16th. Unfortunately, we have to cancel it. Our lecturer, who lives in the provinces of France, preferred to cancel this date and to postpone it to June, 15th — due to the uncertainty of transportation these days.

Admittedly, this is not the first date we have cancelled but, please believe us, we are sincerely sorry for these unforeseen difficulties.

We look forward to seeing you on June,15th.

11 February 2023

What’s so special about this concert in Berlin on 13 February 1942, the programme for which the SWF presents here in pdf?

Certainly it was not part of the series of ten annual subscription concerts; it was organized for the benefit of the charity Aid for Elderly Artists. But it gave rise to a public scandal which provoked some polemical reactions in the newspapers and required clarification from the Intendant of the Philharmonic and from Furtwängler himself.

To learn more about this high point (?!) in Berlin’s cultural life, read the article accompanying the programme.

Chair from the old Philharmonic Hall, Berlin

27 January 2023

We announced it for January 30th, here it is today, for you to enjoy this weekend.

In our shop you will find a new SWF product (SWF D10) : Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7, a performance by the Berlin Philharmonic on 18 October 1949.

Despite what one might have read, this is not a recording of one of the concerts given on 16, 17 and 18 October — which included Leonore II and Karl Höller’s Cello Concerto No. 2 — but a radio production recorded in the orchestra’s rehearsal room, the Gemeindehaus in Dahlem.

As we all know, recordings of this symphony — again with the BPO — were made in the Spring of 1951 in Cairo and then in Rome. To this must be added the irreplaceable document of the recording of the Adagio alone for Telefunken Records (1942). The 1949 performance is undoubtedly the most successful, benefiting from the concerts and their preparation, but also from the editing possibilities that enable an exemplary set-up.

In order to make this product available, we were able to work with a higher quality tape than the one used for the CD edition more than fifteen years ago. Indeed, Warner Classics kindly made available to us the recent Abbey Road digitisation of the copy of the tape used for the first pressings (Pathé-Marconi). This source stands out above all in terms of background noise, as its lower level makes it easier to read and thus optimises the musical content. Although we managed to remove some of the noise and improve some of the original edits, some saturation inherent in the original source remains. The coda of the 1st movement is such an orchestral outburst that one can hardly imagine how the technique of that time could have been able to deal with it…

The package includes: HD files (192-24), the same CD quality files (44-16), English/French digital booklets. For those who would like to burn a compact disc from the downloaded files, we have also included a cover and an inlay card, which can be printed out to fill the CD case. We also published another piece of news , to help you do this.

27 January 2023

We understand that some of you may be reluctant to download files from our online shop.

We would like to encourage you to take the plunge by manufacturing — if you wish — a compact disc for your record collection.

First step: download the files (all or part of them) after placing your order. If you are not equipped with “high definition” devices, which add a little extra to the sound, you will also be provided with “CD quality” files, 44-16, far from any low definition (mp3 type).

And don’t forget that as long as you are a SWF member and the product is available, you can always access your order (in “My profile” then “My orders”), and start the download again.

In theory, all computers allow you to burn a blank CD (e.g. Windows Media Player on Windows, Apple Music on Mac). You can do this by putting in sequence the 4 “CD quality” 44-16 files that represent each movement.

You will also find in the package two pdf files to print: the cover and the inlay card. All you have to do then is fill in the jewel box.

Having a problem? Send an email to:

24 January 2023

In the winter of 1935 Furtwängler took the Berlin Philharmonic on a long journey, including ten concerts in Great Britain. The map below, with numbers for each day, shows the route of the tour.

Let’s pause in Edinburgh and download the programme for the evening’s event at Usher Hall.

Harold Holt, the impresario who promoted the tour, was one of the greats of British musical life. His organisation became part of what is today Askonas-Holt, one of the most important and reputable agencies in the world.

18 January 2023

Among the CDs issued by the SWF, one is out of print: Bruckner’s 7th Symphony, recorded on 18 October 1949 with the Berlin Philharmonic.

It was missing. So the SWF is about to provide you with this record as a “high definition” download, with, as always, the files in CD format, the digital booklets (French and English), and — to allow you to keep a compact disc in your record library if you wish — something to print out the cover and the inlay card of a jewel box.

For this exceptional performance of Furtwängler’s most performed symphony by Bruckner — along with the Fourth — it was necessary to start from a flawless document. Warner Classics provided us with the files digitised by Abbey Road Studios (ex-EMI studio), from a copy of the first source (Pathé-Marconi), which has not aged a bit.

From this source, Christophe Hénault established a master that respects the incredible original dynamics and the splendour of the orchestra, even though it was recorded — without an audience — in what was then the Berliner’s rehearsal hall, the Gemeindehaus in Berlin-Dahlem, which was of modest dimensions…

This product will be available on 30 January, at the usual price of € 8,00.

Furtwängler and his Berliner at the Gemeindehaus of Berlin.

9 January 2023

Has the Furtwängler Centre of Japan read our article of January 4 about the publication of the Beethoven box set?

Still, the website of our Japanese counterpart announces the withdrawal of this product from sale, indicating the reason: Egmont would be a ‘fake’, which is not quite accurate. Actually this is the recording of the concert of 4 September 1953 in Munich, which we reissued on a compact disc in 1989 (see below). But the sound of the Japanese source is so poor that it was difficult to match it. Henning Smidth did it; thanks to him. Let us add that the cough of a female listener, present at the same time on both sources, completes the demonstration.

The box should come out again, but with the litigious recording removed.

Interested persons are invited to check out this new edition directly on the WFCJ website.

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