When the great conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler (1886-1954) decided to remain in Germany under the Third Reich, he was widely and bitterly condemned as a Nazi collaborator who gave cultural and moral credibility to Hitler's regime. Although Furtwangler was exonerated at a de-nazification trial in 1947, his reputation as a Nazi sympathizer continued to darken both his personal and professional life.
In this meticulously researched book, Fred K. Prieberg thoroughly investigates the renowned musician's uneasy position in Nazi Germany. Prieberg reveals in fascinating detail that Furtwangler, by persisting with his direction of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and the Berlin Staatsoper, waged a heroic struggle to preserve and nurture the masterpieces of German music. For Furtwangler, the sacred traditions of German art transcended politics.
Prieberg argues that Furtwangler resisted efforts by the Third Reich to exploit him as a propaganda tool. As the preeminent conductor in Germany, he used his influence to protect Jewish musicians and staff in his orchestra. He never gave the obligatory Nazi salute at concerts, even when Hitler was present, and avoided performing in occupied countries or for grand Nazi Party occasions. Furtwangler's unquestioning belief in the higher ideals of German art gave him the strength and courage to sustain his quiet yet effective opposition to the Third Reich.
Trial of Strength presents convincing evidence that Wilhelm Furtwangler was neither Nazi nor Nazi sympathizer. It also illuminates the perils of artistic collaboration with a totalitarian regime.
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German
A significant addition to the ongoing discussion of the extent to which Germany's most important musical figure was co-opted by the Nazis. Wilhelm Furtw„ngler (1886-1954) was among the most important re-creative artists of the century, supreme interpreter of the high German classics and an almost mystical believer in their spiritual power. He was also, as Prieberg (Music in the National Socialist State, not reviewed) convincingly demonstrates, dangerously na‹ve in believing that he could keep those masterpieces undefiled--and himself uncompromised--by the politicization of the arts in Nazi Germany. In a similar manner to the way that the physicist Werner Heisenberg believed that he could preserve the purity of German science despite what he saw as the vulgarity of the Nazi regime, Furtw„ngler saw himself as the guardian of German high culture and civilization. This is not an easy book to read; the style is effortful (it's unclear whether that is the fault of the writing or of the translation), and the subject--the degradation of an artist- -is chilling and painful. Prieberg fully explicates Furtw„ngler's acts of resistance: his arguments in the 1930s against the banning of music written by non-Aryan composers; his protests against the firing of Jewish members of the Berlin Philharmonic and their replacement by inferior musicians. Prieberg's thesis is that, having decided to stay in Germany, Furtw„ngler was ``broken'' by the regime (``blackmailed'' into conducting Hitler's birthday festivities in 1942, he avoided the task in subsequent years by pleading illness). The real strength of Prieberg's work is its reliance on contemporary documents, many quoted at considerable length, that allow the reader to draw his or her own conclusions. These conclusions are likely to be less charitable, and less favorable, to the maestro, than Prieberg's. A powerful primer on the futility of temporizing with evil. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Description du livre Northeastern, 1994. Hardcover. État : New. book. N° de réf. du libraire M1555531962
Description du livre Northeastern, 1994. Hardcover. État : New. Never used!. N° de réf. du libraire P111555531962