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Thread: Furtwangler.....what made him so great?

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Question Furtwangler.....what made him so great?

    what made him so revered? legendary?

    i've heard great and not so great performances by him.

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Some fine interpretations.

    And there was the Debate - - - - - Furtwängler <-- GREAT --> Toscanini - - - - -

    Experience teaches you to recognize a mistake when you've made it again.
    - anonymous

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    Senior Member Taneyev's Avatar
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    Well, he was tall.
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    What makes or made, any great conductor great ? Hard to say. Sheer talent, musicianiship, hard work,
    love of music, commitment to excellence , ability to inspire orchestras to give their best .
    Furtwangler had all these qualities in spades !

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    Charisma !!
    “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

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    His ability to take the monumental works of Bruckner and put them together into organic units according to his particular vision makes him unique, at least in my listening room.

    I believe this quote is from Schenker: The characteristics of interpretation that have come to be associated with Furtwangler are the sense of a work's entire canvass in every played note, the grasp of a work's totality, the mastery in achieving seamless chains of transitions culminating in an organic unity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post
    what made him so revered? legendary?

    i've heard great and not so great performances by him.
    The answer to WHY FURTWANGLER became the greatest conductor will be hidden in performances of Beethoven's Choral at the 1951 Bayreuth recording and Bruckner's Apocalpytic Eighth Recording with the Berlin Philharmonic. You may also listen to Tchaikovsky's Pathetique and Schubert's Great C Major. Feel the timpani as if it is ripping the soul apart and gauge the spiritual overflow! Toscanini is cat's whiskers compared with Wilhelm!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post
    what made him so revered? legendary?

    i've heard great and not so great performances by him.
    For me Beethoven's 9th crown belongs to him, during the Nazi era.
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    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    That 9th is powerful and poignant to be sure, but I think the interpretation had more to do with what was going on in the audience than it did what was going on in the music. Historically, it's important, but it isn't a definitive 9th.

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    Senior Member Mephistopheles's Avatar
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    I have no idea why Furtwangler was great, I'm not familiar with his recordings. I do suspect, though, that he has now been dead long enough that the man becomes myth, and his achievements become inflated out of proportion, just as we see with many composers who have been underground for longer, and as happens with all artists.

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    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    Well, I suppose it's easy to assume that if you've never heard any of his recordings and know very little about him.

    When i was 18, I thought that if I didn't know about something, it probably wasn't important.
    Last edited by bigshot; Sep-19-2012 at 21:07.
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    Senior Member moody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tahnak View Post
    The answer to WHY FURTWANGLER became the greatest conductor will be hidden in performances of Beethoven's Choral at the 1951 Bayreuth recording and Bruckner's Apocalpytic Eighth Recording with the Berlin Philharmonic. You may also listen to Tchaikovsky's Pathetique and Schubert's Great C Major. Feel the timpani as if it is ripping the soul apart and gauge the spiritual overflow! Toscanini is cat's whiskers compared with Wilhelm!
    Pity about your last sentence--and I was agreeing with you up till then ,a pointless remark!
    Fools talk because they have to say something, wise men talk because they have something to say.

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    Senior Member moody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mephistopheles View Post
    I have no idea why Furtwangler was great, I'm not familiar with his recordings. I do suspect, though, that he has now been dead long enough that the man becomes myth, and his achievements become inflated out of proportion, just as we see with many composers who have been underground for longer, and as happens with all artists.
    Well why don't you listen to some of his recordings before you comment-- I saw him and he's no myth.
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    Senior Member moody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    That 9th is powerful and poignant to be sure, but I think the interpretation had more to do with what was going on in the audience than it did what was going on in the music. Historically, it's important, but it isn't a definitive 9th.
    The one you want is the live Berlin effort from the 40's, you can't get any thing more definitive than that.
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    Fools talk because they have to say something, wise men talk because they have something to say.

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    Senior Member Mephistopheles's Avatar
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    I didn't say Furtwangler wasn't great, I was making a general statement about how we perceive artists of the past. Don't get your knickers in a twist. Jeez.

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