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EXPERIENCE THE GOLDEN AGE OF
NATIONAL SOCIALIST ART / MUSIC
• IMPORTED FROM GERMANY
• ORIGINAL THIRD REICH CLASSICAL MUSIC
• NAZI PEOPLES CONCERTS
On this CD Wilhelm Furtwaengler conducts the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra playing Beethoven's 3rd Symphony Erocia on December 18, 1944 (2nd day of the Battle of the Bulge) & the Third Leonore by Beethoven June 2, 1944. These rare historic wartime recordings provide a glimpse of the Golden Age of art in Nazi Germany.
SPELLBINDING RAW EMOTION
If art is an expression of the times in which it is created, then this recording made on 18 December 1944 clearly conveys the spirit of the Third Reich just before its last Christmas. The music is familiar enough --- Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony. But of the innumerable performances of this work, none compare to this one, its every phrase indelibly stamped with the seal of a struggle for existence.
As Wilhelm Furtwaengler led the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in this tense, furious interpretation of the Eroica, thousands of men and armored columns were cutting a totally unexpected swath of destruction through the Anglo-American lines. The Battle of the Bulge, Germany’s last major offensive and final throw of the dice, was just two days old, as each member of the the audience in the capital’s Great Music Union Hall was gripped by the most riveting version of this famous symphony. Incredibly, the Vienna Philharmonic’s players rise to the break-neck, even ruthless pace set by their conductor.
Furtwaengler’s vision of the piece was set in the unique context of that historic moment, when years of defeat appeared to have been reversed by a stunning victory. His version of Beethoven 3rd Symphony conjures the potent momentum of Operation Wacht am Rhein, and is inseparable from the desperate spirit of that attack on which the hope of a battered nation depended. Especially since the reissue of his Third Reich recordings, Furtwaengler’s legacy has undergone a worldwide revival that has convinced many audiophiles that he was the 20th Century’s greatest symphonic director. Certainly, no other orchestral conductor since has measured up to him.
For listeners interested only in the most dramatic rendering of the Eroica on c.d., they will undoubtedly find his 1944 performance riveting. Others aware of the extra-musical forces that infused Wilhelm Furtwaengler at this pivotal moment in World War Two will find still more to stir the soul.
Earlier that same year, he led the same players through an incredibly volcanic reading of another Beethoven staple, the third Leonore Overture from Fidelio. The piece has become something of an old standard, less interesting than it should be due to too many conventional performances. Furtwaengler’s rendition is anything but mainstream for its sharp-edged impact and profound searching of the score to bring up otherwise undiscovered riches by the handful. Like the Eroica recording, this one was made circa a crucial turning-point in the war, just four days prior to the Allies’ Normandy Invasion. As such, the Vienna Philharmonic resonated with the world-shattering tensions of the time, transfiguring this otherwise familiar masterpiece into a solidly monumental work.
- Marc Roland
= German Language
Details: Playing Time: 66:47
Don't miss out on there video recordings of live performances by Wilhelm Furtwaengler!
The Wilhelm Furtwaengler CD is outstanding! I am enjoying the music very much. There are some more recordings that I am wishing to buy soon, as well as more posters.
This historic Third Reich performance by the famous Stuttgart Choir and Orchestra was recorded on October 25, 1938. The 2 CD set will provide you with hours of entailment as you listen to Mozart performed the way it supposed to be.
There are, quite easily, several dozen c.d.s available of Mozart’s ultra-famous opera, but audiophiles will be hard-pressed to find any better renditions than this Third Reich recording. The arts, like everything else in Germany at the time the performance in question took place, were energized by National Socialism, whose advocates strove to exemplify their culture. It was no accident that Wilhelm Furtwaengler was the greatest symphonic conductor of his epoch, or that Walter Gieseking was its supreme pianist. Like their colleagues, they were inspired by an unparalled folkish upheaval that showed in their work. So too, this re-release of La Nozze de Figaro (here sung in German as Die Hochzeit des Figaro) reflects the will-to-perfection of the era that conditioned the music. How close it came to perfection, let modern listeners judge for themselves.
In spring, 1938, a new staging of the opera in Dresden had won particularly enthusiastic acclaim. And no wonder, given the high-powered principals involved. Karl Boehm, still famous nearly seventy years later as among the outstanding symphonic directors of the 20th Century, led a similarly renowned Maria Cebotari as Susanna. Her strong soprano is appealingly contrasted in this recording with the sweeter tone produced by Margarete Teschemacher (Countess Almaviva), a less well remembered but outstanding singer with a distinctly individualistic style.
Long after the war, well into the 1960s, Kurt Boeheme was a bass baritone with a world-wide following. Paul Schoeffler, our Figaro, was, with Rudolf Boeckelmann, the premiere Hans Sachs of his time --- many would agree, for all time.
Other members included Mathieu Ahlersmeyer (Count Almaviva), Elizabeth Waldenau (Marcellina), Karl Wessely (Basilio), Hubert Buchta (Don Curzio), Hans Herbert Fiedler (Antonio), and Hannerle Franck (Barbarina) --- very strong singers all. Happily, the c.d. album includes a photograph taken of their Dresden premiere in which they all appear together on stage in costume.
Putting this extraordinary, “dream cast” together in a single work was a stroke of genius that truly epitomized the Mozart masterpiece. They were not only singers of the first rank, but actors who brought out the work’s perennial comedy. When Figaro explains to the love-sick Cherubino (Angela Kolniak) that joining the army just to impress his girl-friend was a dumb idea, Schoeffler fields a witty irony missing from modern stagings.
The Dresden performances were so well-received, the entire production was removed to Stuttgart on 25 October, where it was broadcast over the Reichssender, or German radio, when this recording was made. Its reincarnation on compact disc not only preserves one of the most flawless opera recordings ever made, but documents the artistic heights achieved by a reinvigorated people in the not too distant past. - Marc Roland
C03 - Die Hochzeit Des Figaro
= German Language
Details: 2 CD set, Playing Time: 151:34
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Date this page was last updated:
Sunday, December 13, 2015