Wilhelm Furtwängler

Wilhelm Furtwängler

Art and the Politics of the Unpolitical

Roger Allen

Hardback
$39.95

Boydell Press

Overview

Overview

A pathbreaking, new intellectual biography of the composer and conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler.
Wilhelm Furtwängler (1886-1954) has entered the historical memory as a renowned interpreter of the canon of Austro-German musical masterworks. His extensive legacy of recorded performances of Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner and Wagner is widely regarded as unsurpassed. Yet more than sixty years after his death he remains a controversial figure: the complexities and equivocacy of his high-profile position within the Third Reich still cast a long shadow over his reputation.
This book builds an intellectual biography of Furtwängler, probing this ambiguity, through a critical examination of his extensive series of essays, addresses and symphonies. It traces the development of his thought from its foundations in late nineteenth-century traditions of Bildung and associated discourses of conservative-minded nationalism, through the turbulent years of the Weimar Republic and the cultural and moral dilemmas of the Nazi period, to the post-World War II years of Bundesrepublik reconstruction, in which the beleaguered idealist found himself adrift in an alien cultural environment overshadowed by the unfolding narrative of the Nazi holocaust. The book will be of interest not only to music scholars but to cultural and intellectual historians as well.

ROGER ALLEN is a Fellow of St Peter's College, Oxford and author of Richard Wagner's Beethoven (1870): A New Translation (Boydell Press, 2014)

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Details

May 2018
10 black and white, 13 line illustrations
318 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781783272839
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
BIC AVH, 1DFG, 2AB, 3JJ
BISAC BIO004000, MUS008000, HIS014000
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Table of Contents

Introduction
Wilhelm Furtwängler: The Historical, Cultural and Intellectual Background
Childhood and Youth [1886-1911]
Lübeck and Mannheim [1911-1920]
Furtwängler in the Weimar Republic [1919- 1933]
Furtwängler and the Nazi State I [1933-1935]
Furtwängler in the Nazi State II [1935-1945]
Reflection and Reaction: Furtwängler in the post-war period [1945-1950]
Furtwängler as Symphonist
'All Greatness is Simplicity' [1951-1954]
Afterword
Appendix 1: Two Furtwängler essays, 'Heinrich Schenker' [1947], 'Hans Pfitzner' [1948]
Appendix 2: Thomas Mann, 'Germany and the Germans' [1945]
Appendix 3: Audio and visual sources
Bibliography

Reviews

This impeccably researched and engagingly written study tackles the emotive subject from a cultural perspective, shedding fresh light on how Furtwängler remained (at least in his mind) apolitical during a period of extreme politicisation. BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE

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