The Devil's Music Master: The Controversial Life and Career by Sam H. Shirakawa

By Sam H. Shirakawa

From 1922 until eventually his dying in 1954, Wilhelm Furtwängler was once the main cultural track determine of the German-speaking international, conductor of either the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic orchestras. yet a cloud nonetheless hangs over his attractiveness, regardless of his indisputable brilliance as a musician, as a result of a deadly and tragic selection. Wilhelm Furtwängler remained in Germany whilst hundreds of thousands of intellectuals and artists fled after the Nazis seized strength in 1933. His selection to stick in the back of earned him lasting condemnation as a Nazi collaborator--"The Devil's track Master." many years after his demise, Furtwängler continues to be for lots of not just the best but additionally the main arguable musical character of our time.
In The Devil's tune grasp, Sam H. Shirakawa forges the 1st full-length and entire biography of Furtwängler. He surveys Furtwängler's youth as a tricky yet wonderful prodigy, his upward thrust to pre-eminence as Germany's major conductor, and his improvement as a musician, composer, and philosopher. Shirakawa additionally studies the wealthy recorded legacy Furtwängler documented all through his forty-year career--such because the mythical Tristan with Kirsten Flagstad and the recognized performances of Beethoven's 9th Symphony in 1942 and 1951.
Equally vital, Shirakawa is going behind the curtain and in the back of the traces to discover how the Nazis seized regulate of the humanities and the way Furtwängler single-handedly attempted to avoid evil characters as Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels and Luftwaffe leader Hermann Göring from annihilating Germany's musical existence. He indicates how Furtwängler, faraway from being a toady to the Nazis, stood up overtly opposed to Hitler and Himmler--at huge, immense own risk--to salvage the musical traditions of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. Shirakawa additionally provides relocating and overwhelming facts of Furtwängler's marvelous efforts to avoid wasting the lives of Jews and different persecuted contributors trapped in Nazi Germany--only to be proscribed on the finish of the conflict and approximately framed as a struggle criminal.
But there has been extra to Furtwängler than his politics, or perhaps his track, and we come to understand this remarkable guy as a reluctant composer, a prolific essayist and diary keeper, a devoted buddy, an impressive enemy whilst crossed, and an incorrigible philanderer. a number of musical luminaries percentage their thoughts of Furtwängler to around out this shiny portrait.
Based on dozens of interviews and study in several files, letters, and diaries, a lot of them formerly unpublished, The Devil's track grasp is an in-depth examine the lifestyles and instances of a special character whose deadly flaw lay in his uncompromising trust that track and artwork needs to be stored except politics, a conviction that remodeled him right into a tragic determine.

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Additional info for The Devil's Music Master: The Controversial Life and Career of Wilhelm Furtwangler

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That meant Furtwangler could devote nearly all his restricted time to Beethoven, but it also meant that the critical evaluation of Mannheim's new Court Kapellmeister would be based entirely on his interpretation of that trap-laden symphony. " Nonetheless, the critic for the Neue Mannheimer Zeitung paid more attention to Furtw£ngler's Haydn than Beethoven's Fifth: The performance gave felicitous evidence that Herr Furtwangler possesses a full understanding of the beauty in Haydn's naive music. He gave us Haydn simply and truthfully and without pretensions.

149-165. 21. Personal conversation with the author, Clarens, 4 April 1990. With Music Empowered « » enough, Furtwangler also caught the attention of Bruno Walter—nine years his senior and well on his way to international fame as one of Germany's brightest conductors. Walter, who had succeeded Felix Mottl at Munich in 1911 after a brilliant success at the Vienna Court Opera, became something of a friend and advisor to Furtwangler, a fact Furtwangler always acknowledged despite some unfortunate changes in their relationship later.

Operetta, as the general manager of the opera house had pointed out, was not his metier. 14 The major work on the program was Bruckner's Ninth Symphony, the most complex and demanding of all of this composer's works. The orchestra members were skeptical that this novice would be able to bring it off. But he immediately established a natural rapport with the musicians from the very outset of rehearsals, and the performance was enthusiastically received. Everyone who knew the demands of the work were surprised that a musician with so little experience could elicit such passion and depth of feeling from relative strangers.

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