Sir Thomas

Furtwängler was on good terms with his colleagues… with perhaps one exception (have a guess…).

Yet there is one conductor with whom his relationship was particularly cordial: Sir Thomas Beecham. A priori, however, everything seemed as though it would keep them apart: heritage, training, repertory, style, the approach to music. Nonetheless, a complicity was established between them, and Sir Thomas was particularly loyal: when Furtwängler was banned by the Nazis from touring in Great Britain, the baton was offered to Beecham, who refused. And when Furtwängler died, on the other hand, he maintained the presence of the late conductor in a concert, the programme of which was not at all typical of the Englishman’s repertory. Faithfulness…

Here is a rare snapshot taken during Beecham’s first invitation to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic, on 29 January 1930. The two conductors stand either side of Sir Horace Rumbold, United Kingdom ambassador to Germany.

17 April 2020

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