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18th December 2003 permanent link

As a break from walking into a political firefight on samizdata, I did a bit of comparative listening to the 1944 Fürtwangler Eroica against a couple of other recordings I have. It’s head and shoulders the best.

I also did a bit of googling on Furtwängler’s career. Found that I’m not alone (at at any rate) in regarding the 1944 performance as the truly great Eroica recording, and nobody except me seems to have any qualms about the political correctness of listening to it. And I found a website with an excellent biographical article which I recommend reading. It makes it abundantly clear that Furtwängler wasn’t a Nazi – unlike von Karajan, who in addition to being an inferior and overrated conductor, was a party member. (Does this mean I now have to get rid of my von Karajan CDs? No great loss). The website unfortunately only works properly in Internet Explorer.

Also as a benefit of the samizdata discussion, I now know how to spell “Furtwängler” correctly – although nobody seems to have noticed that I didn’t before.

Update: I found an even better Furtwängler biography on Peter Gutmann's excellent website classical notes

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