glyph 7: Wilhelm Furtwangler, Peter Gutman, Bruckner, Mahler, Beethoven, Germany, WWII, music, classical, Berlin, Nazi Germany


Wilhelm Furtwängler: Genius Forged in the Cauldron of War

by Peter Gutman

Peter Gutman writes:

A survey of the life and artistry of Wilhelm Furtwängler: Before the War, the War Years, Furtwängler's Artistry, his Wartime Recordings, After the War, Furtwängler's Post-War Career, his Post-War Recordings, Furtwängler's Legacy and my highly subjective choice of his Greatest Recordings.

Berlin. October 7, 1944. A typical day toward the end of the Third Reich. Soldiers die. Civilians suffer. Jews are murdered. Nothing special.

In the Beethovensaal a concert is about to begin,but the theater is empty, relieved of its usual audience studded with Nazi elite seeking a brief cultured respite from the stresses of war. The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is on stage, awaiting its cue. Conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler stands awkwardly on the podium. The vague meandering of his baton summons the first shadowy note of Bruckner's Ninth Symphony. A Radio Berlin engineer starts his Magnetophon. The most extraordinary orchestral recording of the century has just begun.
entered before July 9, 2006

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