News

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7 December 2023

The streaming from the SWF website starts today.

Remember that subscription to this service — €10.00 per year — is only available to SWF members.

As it is indivisible from the membership, it was impossible to handle it separately. So, if you are already a member of the SWF, the streaming subscription will restart a membership on this date, but — don't worry — it will be deducted on a pro rata basis.
So if your membership is valid until 15 April, and you subscribe to streaming on 10 December, a new annual membership will start on 10 December, but the pro rata amount from 10 December to 15 April will be deducted from the membership fee.

To subscribe: please go to
My profile (top right),
– then click on My subscription,
– and finally click on Update or change your subscription: and then choose your option. The site will do the rest to calculate your new membership fee.

Or more directly go to the page: My membership

The catalogue now available is only part of the SWF catalogue, but
– it also contains items from our German sister company,
– iIt will be expanded over the coming weeks, and this site will announce new additions as they are made.

By consulting the playlist, you will discover that you can access the audio files either via Composer/work, or by Album, when an entire old album has been made available.

Please note that the sources we have in high definition are available in this format and in CD format: if the file exists in high definition, you will see the small HD icon nest to SD.

This new feature, a real step forward in the history of the SWF, is combined with a redesign of our website, and in particular its home page. The current and future content is aimed at providing ever more information, but the website is now adapted to suit new viewing preferences, particularly those of smartphone users.

29 November 2023

Recently, we highlighted the importance of consulting newspapers to complete or correct concert listings. This work is paying off, as a rigorous examination has led us to a major discovery.

We know Furtwängler's activities in Lübeck through symphonic concerts, "popular" concerts and even chamber music sessions. In addition to this, "official" documents and known lists show the conductor's activity as a guest of the municipal opera house. Three events were recorded: Die Meistersinger in 1913, Fidelio and The Merry Wives of Windsor in 1915.

How could a fourth opera be overlooked? No one can explain it, but one fact is certain: Furtwängler conducted Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio on 27 March 1914. Not only was he able to rely on the cast of the Stadttheater, but also on two distinguished guests: the tenor Karl Erb and the comic actor Ludwig Flaschner.

The only review of the evening is nothing but praise.

22 November 2023

This morning we launched a SWF YouTube channel.

It was created by Guilhem Chameyrat, a member of the Board.

The first thing you'll find on this YouTube channel is, of course, videos. We'll be providing different formats, for example themed videos on Furtwängler's art or particular recordings, interviews, or even podcasts.

The channel will also feature playlists. You'll be able to listen to the best Furtwängler performances, sorted by specific criteria, starting with the magnificent recordings remastered by Studio Art et Son and officially released by Warner on YouTube for streaming.

Here are the links.

– the channel: https://www.youtube.com/@SocieteWilhelmFurtwangler

– introductory video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rO8qJNf8eT0&ab_channel=Soci%C3%A9t%C3%A9WilhelmFurtwangler

15 November 2023

We had previously announced that the streaming service would be available in mid-November.

A number of imperatives — notably that of presenting a coherent and more extensive catalogue — and a number of technical restrictions lead us to postpone the launch of this service.

Rest assured: this is only a minor postponement. Everything should be up and running by early December.

11 November 2023

Reading the newspapers of the time is always a good idea. Thus, when considering Furtwängler's career, one may discover — in the course of a reading — a concert that went unnoticed, absent from the lists; or possibly correct an error that has gone unreported for decades.

The mistake here is the date of the first Fidelio, conducted by Furtwängler at the Theater Lübeck. No one could explain why the lists indicated March 23, 1915. It was actually March 9. Not a big deal, one might say. Except that this musical performance was of great importance in the conductor's career. At the end of this evening, a delegation from Mannheim led by Bodanzky announced to Furtwängler that he had been chosen as the new musical director of the Mannheim Opera for the coming season.

Addendum: During the Summer of 1917, Furtwängler reunited with his former Lübeck orchestra and Jani Szanto, who had been his Konzertmeister, for a charity concert given at the Kurhaus in Travemünde, Lübeck's seaside resort. The concert, performed on the evening of July 27, featured :
- Overture from Der Freischütz
- Dvorak's Violin Concerto, with Szanto ;
- Beethoven's 5th Symphony.

Related information: St Matthew Passion from April 1915 was listed as "soloists unknown". This is no longer the case, nor is the identity of the four choral ensembles that took part.

Our lists have now been corrected.

Travemünde : the Kurhaus

4 November 2023

Today, the SWF is not featuring a programme, but a promotional booklet for a festival: the "Festliche Musiktage" in Potsdam in the Summer of 1938. This series of musical events, focusing on Bach and Mozart, was under the artistic direction of Edwin Fischer. The great pianist also gave masterclasses in Potsdam, with Wilhelm Furtwängler, who lived in a beautiful mansion, Die Fasanerie, in the park of Sansouci Castle, as a neighbour. The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra performed at the festival, and for several years the conductor was also a pianist, playing Bach concertos with Fischer, Kempff and Erdmann, which he conducted from the piano.

Last summer of peace. It should be noted that the layout does everything to attract foreign tourists: the extensive text is trilingual; apart from the mention of Göring's patronage, the brochure is free of propaganda but also rich in photos of the emblematic buildings of the city of Frederick the Great.

Let's travel through time and space.

27 October 2023

A few weeks ago we published the facsimile of a Philharmonia programme, that of the concert of April 24, 1952.

Let's stay in England for a rarer document: the facsimile of the programme of a concert given by Furtwängler with the London Philharmonic, and not in a prestigious venue like the Royal Albert Hall, but in the suburbs of London, at Watford Town Hall. And there is nothing routine about the poster, which features in particular a work by Mahler that was still little known in Great Britain, and an artist on the verge of making a career there, Eugenia Zareska.

Roger Smithson presents all the details.

Ask for the programme!

20 October 2023

 

The topic has been mentioned on several occasions: the SWF will soon (first weeks of November) be providing its members with a new way of enjoying performances of Furtwängler produced by the association: streaming.

Let's remember that streaming consists of listening to audio files live and uninterrupted, without having to import them, a bit like on a radio, except that you choose your own programme from the many on offer; and what is in high definition remains so. So this is a world away from listening to mp3 files on YouTube!

Of course, this service will only be available to SWF members, via the SWF website, with an annual subscription fee of €10.

Initially, the digital "warehouse" will include:
– the 12 SWF Dxx albums, i.e. the digital packs currently available for download;
– a number of CDs, including the 1954 Paris concert, the 1943 Meistersinger, Bruckner's 9th...

We will gradually add our own extensive catalogue, as well as a number of releases from the Wilhelm Furtwängler Gesellschaft, i.e. produced by our German counterpart.

It should be noted that:
– We have taken into account those who want to listen to these files on their smartphone;
– No booklet is included with these playlists, as booklets are only available as downloads;
– You will be able to access these audio files either by targeting a specific work or by listening to an entire album. For example, if you ask to listen to Brahms's Haydn Variations, you will be given access (once everything is online) to all the versions available from the SWF: VPO 1943, Berlin 1943, BPO 1950, Hamburg 1951, Paris 1954... with a link to the complete original album concerned. The choice is yours.

This will in no way stop the SWF from carrying on its work on structured editorial projects, which will be available in the future for both downloading and streaming.

11 October 2023

Rarely do we get the chance to entertain our members with Furtwängler as the subject. Let's make the most of it.

In 1927, The Paris Times, a Parisian daily, but English-language and American-inspired, published an article entitled "The Man of the Day" featuring Furtwängler. If it weren't for his photo, you might think it was a case of mistaken identity... But no, it was our conductor. Unfortunately, the article is not signed. What a shame! We'd have liked to know the author of such blunders...

Click here to enjoy.

30 September 2023

The SWF regularly acquires programmes of concerts conducted by Furtwängler. But you may also contribute: if you come across one of these precious documents, please think of us all.

This is what one of our members did — many thanks to him — by providing us with the programme of the concerts performed by the Berliner from 13 to 16 November 1943. Here it is.

Its distinctive characteristics include the presence of a French soloist, the great Pierre Fournier for Schumann's Concerto, and one of the rare performances of Bruckner's 6th Symphony.

25 September 2023

For various reasons, it will not be possible for us to dispatch 'physical' discs (CDs) between 1 October and 10 November.

Please place your orders in the shop now or wait until 10 November.

Thank you for your understanding.

23 September 2023

Nils-Göran Olve, one of our Swedish correspondents, is the son of a violinist who played for a long time in the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, hence under Furtwängler’s baton.
He participated in our recently released album SWF D12, writing the booklet with Göran Soderval. He did so while he did not yet have the restoration done by the SWF, knowing only previous editions. After downloading and listening to the album, he sent us the following comment.

"I've now listened carefully to your new issue, and my admiration for the performances and the sound restoration only grows! Compared with the previous releases that I know there is more transparency and less disturbing reminders that these were acetates or lacquers which were stored for a quarter-century before being rescued in the 1960s. I was also afraid that the tapes had deteriorated from the half-century which elapsed before SWF bought the new digital transfer. Yes, the sound of the full orchestra is not always quite undistorted, and there is background noise. But I felt I had not given proper attention to the music-making. Don Juan is interesting throughout. The Tristan Prelude is at an ideal pace, and in the Liebestod I don't miss the soprano part — in fact, Furtwängler makes a case for the orchestral version as an interesting alternative when he lets the orchestra unleash its full power in a way which is impossible if you don't want to drown you Isolde!

But best of all is the Ninth which I will have to compare with other Furtwängler performances, because this strikes me as just about perfect for my taste which has not been the case with Furtwängler Ninths before. Isn't this swifter than his 1950s recordings, and therefore more to my taste? Yet there is freedom and time for the wind soloists to make memorable contributions. I believe you used the word "serene" and I agree — in the slow movement particularly one can imagine Furtwängler to remain forever in this rapt atmosphere, and not have to return to his country until war was over.

So congratulations, and I hope it sells well so that more people can hear it!

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