Rivalry in Music – Furtwängler vs. Toscanini

Next broadcasts Monday, February 26 at 20:30 on Mezzo

  • Documentary
  • Monday, March 4 at 00:00 on Mezzo
  • Tuesday, March 5 at 17:45 on Mezzo
  • Friday, March 8 at 06:30 on Mezzo

Two men without whom the profession of conductor would not be what it is today. Two men who couldn't be more different from each other: Arturo Toscanini and Wilhelm Furtwängler. The former was rigorously faithful to the musical score, the latter conducted with radical subjectivity. In 1931 they both conducted at the Bayreuth Festival – for the first and last time. Soon the polite rivalry turned into bitter enmity. Both men were forced to take a stand on the regimes in their respective countries – and chose radically different paths. Toscanini, "the dictator", bravely challenged Mussolini; Furtwängler, a conservative, meanwhile proclaimed that art is always apolitical and reluctantly made a pact with the Nazis. The documentary not only opens up the different musical universes of the two great conductors by retracing their careers in Milan, Bayreuth and New York, but also raises a question that is more topical than ever: what has art to do with politics?


Recording: January 1 2020
Director: Thomas von Steinaecker
Duration: 00:52

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