Wednesday, March 7, 2012

'Furtwangler's Love'

Forever, it seems, I have been wanting to watch this DVD kicking around called  "Furtwangler's Love."

Is that a catchy title or what? It is about the conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler and Elisabeth, his wife. I am sorry. I love people's private lives, I just do. I cannot help it.

The documentary interviews his wife, who is aged and looking back. It is kind of cool when she talks about how she met Maestro Wilhelm. Her husband had died in the war and she was wearing black all the time and her sister Maria finally tells her, "Put on these blue slacks and colorful top and come downstairs." Something like that. I am paraphrasing. But blue slacks figured in the picture.

Elisabeth put on the blue slacks and Furtwangler hit on her and the rest, shall we say, is history.

It is a good story but a few things take away from it.

For one thing, it kind of changes things that Furtwangler had a first wife from whom he was separated and meanwhile he fathered something like five illegitimate children. I had not known that! And I mean, to me, that takes away something from this supposedly amazing romance.

Also, it got so I preferred the character of Maria to Elisabeth. Apparently Furtwangler first wanted to marry Maria but Maria put him off. Maria sounded like a real woman about town. Elisabeth says at the start that Maria called her and said, "I'm falling in love with Furtwangler." But apparently not enough to marry him.

Could they make a documentary about just Maria?

It would probably be more interesting than this one. This one, I hate to say it, but it turned into a bore. I love Furtwangler as a conductor, I do. I will have to tell why one of these days. But this video bogged down and I have to say, I gave it the hook about half an hour into it.

One thing I did love: the repeated shots of Elisabeth's villa in Switzerland. The bright blue sky, the green grass, the birds singing. You should see this snowy windy, wet weather we are having in Buffalo. I just wanted to beam myself to that villa.

Can I have a video of just that?

Also there is this tremendous aside about how to Elisabeth and Maria and whoever else, "Fu" was Furtwangler and "Kna" was Hans Knappertsbusch. Who knew that? It was a kind of shorthand because their names were so long.

Ladies and gentlemen, Fu ...

... and Kna.

I will never be able to say their full names again!

No comments:

Post a Comment