Friday, January 25, 2008

Wilhelm Furtwangler...

...was born on 25 January 1886.

Here he is conducting the overture to Wagner's Die Meistersinger in Berlin in 1942, complete with banners.

Worth seeing, too, the Istvan Szabo film based on Ronald Harwood's play Taking Sides, a chilling tale of the victimisation of Furtwangler by a pig-ignorant deNazifying American official after the war (and btw includes a delectable few moments of Rini Shaham singing jazz).

Also would like to refer you to Tony Palmer's documentary The Salzburg Festival: A brief history (it's the better part of three hours long) in which the director interviews Mrs Furtwangler. She recounts that her husband stayed in Germany during the war because it was threatened that if he left, his entire orchestra would be disbanded, drafted and sent to certain death the Front.

Please fasten your seatbelts for an uncomfortable few minutes.