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Hitler's Conductor

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Hitler's Conductor

Hitler's Conductor

Hitler's Conductor

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1470638/1470639" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Wilhelm Furtwangler Courtesy of the Wilhelm Furtwangler Society of America hide caption

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Courtesy of the Wilhelm Furtwangler Society of America

Reporter Dan Charles examines the controversial life of Wilhelm Furtwangler, who conducted the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra from the 1920s until the mid 1950s. After World War Two, the Americans put him on trial as an accomplice to Hitler. He was acquitted, but his reputation— at least in the United States —never recovered. But nearly 50 years after his death, there are Wilhelm Furtwangler societies all over the world who revere his music, and collect rare recordings of his performances.

Music heard in this feature:

1. Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 'Choral'. Performed by the Berlin Philharmonic in March of 1942, in Berlin. From the CD Furtwangler Conducts Beethoven (Music and Arts).

2. Brahms' Symphony No. 2 in D, op. 73. Performed by the Vienna Philharmonic in January of 1945, in Vienna. From the CD Wilhelm Furtwangler Conducts Johannes Brahms (Music and Arts).

3. Johann Sebastian Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 In D Major, BWV 1050, conducted and performed by Wilhelm Furtwangler at the Salzburg Music Festival in 1954. (Recording courtesy of Elisabeth Furtwangler—not commercially available).

4. Brahms' Symphony No. 3 in F, op. 90. Performed by the Berlin Philharmonic in Berlin, 1954. From the CD Wilhelm Furtwangler Conducts Johannes Brahms (Music and Arts).