After Wilhelm Furtwängler assumed the lead of the Berliner Philharmoniker, he immediately began to update the orchestra’s repertoire, dominated for decades by tradition and the late Romantic era: already at the second concert of his first season, on 22/23 October 1922, he presented Scriabin’s Poème de l’extase, followed less than two months later by Schoenberg’s Five Pieces for Orchestra op. 16. On 7 January 1924, a memorable performance of Stravinsky’s Sacre was staged that ended in a general uproar – with “sounds of a previously unknown severity”(Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung). The myth that even today surrounds Furtwängler’s concerts with the Berliner Philharmoniker is based, however, on his interpretations of works by Beethoven, Brahms and Bruckner, the last two Schubert symphonies and selected compositions by Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Schumann and Strauss: well-known pieces sounded so present and fresh in his interpretation that no less a figure than Hans Heinz Stuckenschmidt summarised: “There was never even an instant that was foreseeable.”
This fourth and last part of Götz Teutsch’s Philharmonic Salon, about the Wolff Concert Agency in the 1920s and first half of the 1930s until the liquidation of the company forced by the National Socialists, is entitled Philharmonic Dinner – Louise Wolff and Wilhelm Furtwängler. It is the Furtwängler era, and his conduct during the time of dictatorship has been assessed variously. The Scharoun Ensemble Berlin will play works by Beethoven, Hindemith, Reger, Strauss – and Furtwängler (the maestro considered himself as a composer who also conducted). Rufus Beck will read texts by Edith Stargardt-Wolff, Thomas Mann, Klaus Lang, Henrik Holm and others.