Concert of 27 June 1943

Here is a concert we are all familiar with: this "all-Beethoven" program has been handed down to posterity thanks to the magnetic tapes recorded on the occasion of the concerts — we use the words "on the occasion", because there is every reason to believe that the tape recorders were also used for a recording in the empty hall.

Whatever the case, Furtwängler performed a hardly relaxed Fourth, a madcap Fifth and — in the middle of all this — a Coriolan overture, the dramatic climax of the evening.

Was there any reason for him to be so passionate and gloomy? Just consider the dates: while the Second World War was certainly at its most intense (and after the turning point of "Stalingrad"), the situation was quite a paradox for the conductor: during the course of rehearsals, he had a short ceremony in Potsdam with a certain Elisabeth Albert, widow of Ackermann. Furtwängler had just married.

The booklet features two of Furtwängler's "close friends". Walter Riezler, art historian and writer of a book about Beethoven, was a young pupil of the archaeologist Adolf Furtwängler, who employed him — along with Alfred Curtius — as tutor to his son Wilhelm. His article on Beethoven's 4th, starting on page 4, continues after the middle section. As for publicist Karla Höcker, we are already familiar with her, as she wrote extensively about her encounters with the conductor, particularly when accompanying him on tour.

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