Boydell Press have recently released Wilhelm Furtwängler: Art and the Politics of the Unpolitical, by Dr Roger Allen, Fellow and Tutor in Music at St Peter’s College and a member of the Music Faculty.
Wilhelm Furtwängler (1886-1954) has entered the historical memory as a renowned interpreter of the canon of Austro-German musical masterworks. He was principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic twice (1922-45 and 1952-54) and 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 ambiguities of his high-profile position within the Third Reich still cast a long shadow over his reputation.
Dr Allen’s book probes that ambiguity by means of a critical examination of Furtwängler’s extensive series of essays, addresses and musical compositions. 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 nineteenth-century idealist found himself adrift in an alien cultural environment overshadowed by the unfolding narrative of the Nazi holocaust.
More information about the book, including how to purchase, is available here.