Alles gut zum Geburtstag, Herr Furtwängler!

And today we are celebrating the birthday of another acclaimed German conductor, Herr Wilhelm Furtwängler. Known as an unpredictable conductor, and mostly misinterpreted due to this artistic characteristic, in fact he used to take musical liberties as required by his free mind. He held positions in many important musical places – Leipzig’s Gewandhaus and Wien among them – but built himself fame as the chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker between 1922 and 1954.

I need to say that I particularly share his non-acceptance about the end of tonality. Ok, it may not be something to be proud of – and believe me, I am not – but I would not be 100% honest if I stated otherwise. I really appreciate the repertoire he developed.

If you want to know a bit more about his impact as a conductor, I encourage you to read Daniel Barenboim’s post Why Furtwängler still moves us today, originally published at the German’s newspaper Der Tagesspiegel.

And before closing, I give you 3 petit-cadeaus:

  • A special free track of Furtwängler’s 1951 Haydn recording with the Berliner Philharmoniker (you need to register at Deutsche Grammophon in order to get access to free tracks);
  • The 2014 documentary Furtwängler’s Love (free trailer and film available online at the Digital Concert Hall of the Beliner Philharmoniker);
  • Schumman’s 4th Symphony in D minor, Op. 120, in a studio recording made in Berlin 1953 conducted by Furtwängler (watch the video in youtube).
Elisabeth Furtwängler, wife of the former
Conductor, and central source in the
Documentary “Furtwängler’s Love”

That’s it for today. Happy birthday, Mr. Furtwängler! Or like the Germans would say it: Alles gut sum Geburtstag, Herr Futwängler! 🙂

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2 Replies to “Alles gut zum Geburtstag, Herr Furtwängler!”

  1. I first listened to Furt’s Beethoven symphonies as a toddler, and they’re still the ultimate ones in my book. His approach to the fourth symphony, for instance, renders almost eleven minutes on the first movement, with an eerie atmosphere as his hands control his much-loved low register on the strings section. Bernstein’s mark halts at nine and a half… Truly, my hero. Wie ein Held zum siegen.

    1. Indeed! I could not agree more… he made a real contribution to the way we listen to this first movement (of Beethoven’s 4th Symphony) – it is definitively one of the great joys in life! Thanks for bringing this sweet memory to this very day Fred! 🙂

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