Furtwaengler, Shirakawa, and Roget, LLC

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Furtwaengler, Shirakawa, and Roget, LLC

Postby uncle janko » Sun Feb 04, 2007 6:18 pm

"The Devil's Music Master: The Controversial Life and Career of Wilhelm Furtwangler" [1992] sets the record (sic) straight on what WF did and did not do under the Nazis. It is a long overdue rehabilitation of a great man who was defamed mercilessly by the New York critic crowd (while they let a real Nazi like v. Karajan pretty much off the hook entirely). Sir Yehudi Menuhin always stuck up for Furtwaengler and this book explains why.

It is also quite possibly the worst-written book I have ever read; Shirakawa seems never to have had his thesaurus out of reach, Oxford seems to have had its editors in a stupor, and one wishes the thing were a bad translation from some other language--but it's not. Hitler was a better German stylist than Shirakawa is in English, and that's plumbing the plumbing, if not the depths. Despite the prose--not Gottschalkian, just godawful--I recommend the book to any classical music devotees out there.

I have always found it strange that WF got hammered by US opinionologues who never failed to give Soviet artists under similar circumstances a complete pass (Oistrakh--a Party member) or even outright--and deserved!--sympathy (Shostakovich). Then again, these are the same people who trashed the intellectually resolute Dimitri Mitropoulos for being homosexual in order to promote the equally homosexual--and vastly more libertine--Leonard Bernstein: the conductor as orgasmotron.
Doing good, doing well, raising hope and raising hell. Janko Shave.
"Airplane music? Just like music for big bees, only louder."--Arnold Schoenberg
uncle janko
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Postby uncle janko » Tue Feb 06, 2007 7:07 pm

I used the hapax legomenon "orgasmatron" with satiric intent. Mr Shirakawa apparently takes the things of the musical flesh seriously, to wit (p. 397):

"If Wagner had the least intention of making the Love Duet into an operatic representation of sexual intercourse (which he evidently did), Furtwängler vivifies it to the fullest. Blessedly unlike a number of later recordings of this scene, Furtwängler's lovers neither thump nor shriek in primal lust while they claw and hump toward orgasm. "

Shock and awe, dears, shock and awe.
Doing good, doing well, raising hope and raising hell. Janko Shave.
"Airplane music? Just like music for big bees, only louder."--Arnold Schoenberg
uncle janko
Senior Member
 
Posts: 4674
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2006 4:04 am


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