Concert of 14 October 1940

This was the very last time Furtwängler conducted a Concerto by Chopin, and the very last time he performed with Eduard Erdmann (1). He was a great admirer of Chopin, often envying pianists the privilege of having such a corpus at their disposal, and even saying: "Bach is the Old Testament, Beethoven the New... otherwise there's only Chopin."

The Symphony in C major, Op. 46, is the last of Hans Pfitzner's three symphonies. It is a three-movement work with a relatively "light" orchestration. This is undoubtedly one of Pfitzner's most frequently performed orchestral pages. Furtwängler, who premiered it in Berlin, performed it several times, most recently at the Salzburg Festival in 1949. A disc of this performance exists, alongside the historic recordings by Pfitzner (Berlin 1940) and Böhm (Dresden 1941).

Furtwängler never lost his affinity for Pfitzner, despite the terrible, acrimonious temperament of the man who had been his boss in Strasbourg in 1910. He conducted his operas — Palestrina, Der arme Heinrich, Christelflein, Das Herz —, symphonies, concertos, and the cantatas Von deutscher Seele and Das dunkle Reich, and premiered many of them. And he was present, a baton in his hand, for the inauguration of the Pfitzner Gesellschaft in 1938.

(1) Erdmann is mentioned in connection with the concert of 30 January 1922 in Berlin.

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