Friday, November 13, 2009


The photograph below: Wilhelm Furtwangler and the Berlin Philharmonic in Berlin’s Alte Philharmonie in 1930. The Alte Philharmonie was home of the Berlin Philharmonic from the late 19th Century until the hall’s 1944 destruction by Allied bombs.

The photograph below: Furtwangler and the Berlin Philharmonic in the Alte Philharmonie in 1938.

The photograph below: Furtwangler and the Berlin Philharmonic in Berlin’s Funkhaus in 1947.

Andrew, a fervent Furtwangler admirer, has read practically every word published—in English and in German—on the subject of Furtwangler. Andrew can site every composition Furtwangler performed, including even the order in which the great conductor took works into his repertory. Andrew knows where Furtwangler performed (and where he did not), with what artists and orchestras Furtwangler performed (and those he did not), and in which theaters Furtwangler appeared (and those he did not).

Andrew’s father, also a great Furtwangler admirer, met Furtwangler’s widow, Elisabeth, several times. In fact, Andrew’s father corresponded with Elisabeth for several years and, in the process, learned many remarkable things about Furtwangler and Furtwangler’s family, friends and associates (including Furtwangler’s offspring, legitimate and otherwise).

Does the public know, for instance, that Elisabeth Furtwangler was a close personal friend of Frau Jodl, widow of General Jodl (the same General Jodl executed at Nuremberg in 1946 for war crimes)?

I rather doubt it.

Fifty-five years after her husband’s death, Elisabeth, now 99, lives on, still occupying the family home near Geneva—the very house in which the great conductor died on November 30, 1954.

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