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Thread: Explain fascination with Furtwängler

  1. #1501
    Senior Member Brahmsianhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brahms4 View Post
    That`s actually Guido Cantelli,not Karajan in that photo.Cantelli was drafted into the Italian army,but refused to fight alongside the Germans.He was thrown into a labor camp.Not to be confused with Karajan!
    You're right. Thanks for catching!

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    Senior Member Brahmsianhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    The tired old arguments again. When on earth are you going to pack this nonsense in and concentrate on the music. I'm not surprised as at the turn of the century Firtwangler was a young man. It is called AGEING! Don't you also realise that Karajan was out of favour with the regime long before Furtwangler was? Or must we instruct you in some history of what actually happened? You really are desperately scraping the barrel for arguments aren't you!
    It's amazing how you try to find an argument with everything, even simply having fun with pictures.

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brahmsianhorn View Post
    It's amazing how you try to find an argument with everything, even simply having fun with pictures.
    Even when the pictures are wrong?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brahmsianhorn View Post
    You're right. Thanks for catching!
    As captain Maiwaring would say, “I just wondered when anyone was going to notice!”

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brahms4 View Post
    That`s actually Guido Cantelli,not Karajan in that photo.Cantelli was drafted into the Italian army,but refused to fight alongside the Germans.He was thrown into a labor camp.Not to be confused with Karajan!
    Or Furtwangler!

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    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enthusiast View Post
    I tried to find a cake with a swastika on it but failed.
    Here's your swastika cake
    swastikacake.jpg

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    I try and ignore the Nazi references on threads like this, because I don't feel I can presume to judge others for their accommodations with the horrors of that period, when I have had such an easy ride (- so far, at least). In the positions of F or HvK or whoever (Bohm?), would I have left (if I could) or carried on or got myself into trouble with the regime or been an active supporter of the regime or what? I don't know, so I can't judge.

    I do find the whole "X behaved better than Y during WW2" thing a bit tedious.

    However, following a recommendation on this thread I listened to the 1944 Bruckner 8 conducted by F, and at points I couldn't help thinking that while this was being performed so many people were in the camps or being rounded up. I am aware that that is irrational, as horrible things happen all the time, and one has to get on with life, but there it was. I didn't draw any conclusions about the character of Furtwangler or the musicians, and neither would I do that about other musicians active at the time, but I was troubled.

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    Senior Member Brahmsianhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    As captain Maiwaring would say, “I just wondered when anyone was going to notice!”
    I googled "young Karajan" images, and Cantelli came up. So sue me.

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    Senior Member Brahmsianhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eclectic Al View Post
    I try and ignore the Nazi references on threads like this, because I don't feel I can presume to judge others for their accommodations with the horrors of that period, when I have had such an easy ride (- so far, at least). In the positions of F or HvK or whoever (Bohm?), would I have left (if I could) or carried on or got myself into trouble with the regime or been an active supporter of the regime or what? I don't know, so I can't judge.

    I do find the whole "X behaved better than Y during WW2" thing a bit tedious.

    However, following a recommendation on this thread I listened to the 1944 Bruckner 8 conducted by F, and at points I couldn't help thinking that while this was being performed so many people were in the camps or being rounded up. I am aware that that is irrational, as horrible things happen all the time, and one has to get on with life, but there it was. I didn't draw any conclusions about the character of Furtwangler or the musicians, and neither would I do that about other musicians active at the time, but I was troubled.
    The argument from the other side is that those who lived in Austria-Germany and opposed the Nazis were just as helpless - even moreso - as those who were performing Beethoven in New York. In fact they were under more stress and in more actual danger.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brahmsianhorn View Post
    The argument from the other side is that those who lived in Austria-Germany and opposed the Nazis were just as helpless - even moreso - as those who were performing Beethoven in New York. In fact they were under more stress and in more actual danger.
    I'm sure it's true that getting out was safer. However, as I say, I'm not really judging any of them, as I don't feel I have the right to do so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brahmsianhorn View Post
    The argument from the other side is that those who lived in Austria-Germany and opposed the Nazis were just as helpless - even moreso - as those who were performing Beethoven in New York. In fact they were under more stress and in more actual danger.
    Compared to Huberman, Kanppertsbusch, and Kubelik, Furtwangler's moral judgment seem questionable and not beyond criticism (I am aware of the good deeds he did but let's not romanticize him too much). He benefited from the regime for money from broadcasting and power in the music scene. But among the musicians served under the regime, he was leaning on the good side (if not hedging his bets) and was not a Nazi by any means. Mengelberg and Kabasta were enthusiastic supporters of the Nazi and punished for it postwar. Karl Bohm was a Nazi sympathizer and people seem to have no problem with him (which says a lot about his legacy). Let's not forget that Hitler was a big promoter of Wagner and Bruckner and I don't think it's just "appropriation", he clearly loved their music. So Wagner and Bruckner's music also served the Third Reich, should we avoid them because of that? Of course not.

    I tend not to be too harsh on artists for their political alignments because of the power dynamics. Artists had choices, true, but they hold very little political power and politics were not their primary concerns. There are far more reprehensible historical figures who held tremendous power that has been mistakenly (and dangerously) revered and praised across the world. History is a messy business.

    Anti-Nazi musicians such as Toscanini, Huberman, and Kubelik are worthy of praise for their moral backbones, for sure. But this does not prevent us from appreciating the art of Furtwangler or Cortot, or even Mengelberg and Kabasta, without illusions of their characters. Otherwise, should listeners in the west also avoid musicians who served under the USSR (which in many ways is worse than the Third Reich)?
    Last edited by UniversalTuringMachine; Jul-17-2020 at 20:12.

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  14. #1512
    Senior Member Brahmsianhorn's Avatar
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    The thing is Furtwangler did not merely neutrally decide to stay in Germany. He saw himself as a bastion of good in the face of his country being in a state of crisis. He was the head of German music, the guardian of the heritage of Beethoven, Brahms, and Wagner. Had he left, he would be leaving that heritage in the hands of evil, not to mention abandoning his people. Whether or not you agree, that was the way he saw it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brahmsianhorn View Post
    The thing is Furtwangler did not merely neutrally decide to stay in Germany. He saw himself as a bastion of good in the face of his country being in a state of crisis. He was the head of German music, the guardian of the heritage of Beethoven, Brahms, and Wagner. Had he left, he would be leaving that heritage in the hands of evil, not to mention abandoning his people. Whether or not you agree, that was the way he saw it.
    Furtwangler's love for German culture needs no explanation. It's all in his music!

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    Quote Originally Posted by hammeredklavier View Post
    Here's your swastika cake
    swastikacake.jpg
    I think you baked that yourself!

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  19. #1515
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brahmsianhorn View Post
    The thing is Furtwangler did not merely neutrally decide to stay in Germany. He saw himself as a bastion of good in the face of his country being in a state of crisis. He was the head of German music, the guardian of the heritage of Beethoven, Brahms, and Wagner. Had he left, he would be leaving that heritage in the hands of evil, not to mention abandoning his people. Whether or not you agree, that was the way he saw it.
    Well that is one side of the equation. The other half is that he got a good living in Germany. There are two sides to it

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