1930 - The Furtwänglerian art of conducting




The Furtwänglerian art of conducting: a panorama




Mendelssohn, Les Hébrides


by Felix Matus-Echaiz




CD SWF 042-4



                      The Hebrides, Overture

                   Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

                                        1930, Berlin



 Les Hébrides
1'46 - 2'32

The second theme, introduced by the cellos, is played "a tempo" (without tempo). Played with the violins, it acquires some inflexions : we wait for something to happen. These two different ways to play the theme is a fine example of how expression can the driving force of an interpretation.


  Les Hébrides
5'30 - 6'25

These measures of the "Ride" is particularly difficult, due to the number of musical subtleties to put in the light. Furtwängler treats this section in four different phases.

In the first (0'00-0'18 in the present excerpt, 5’30’’-5’48’’ on the complete track) the crescendo is taking shape, each «percussion» of the cords is adding strength to it.

The second phase (0'19-0'28 in the present excerpt, 5’49-5’58 on the complete track) provides a complete change of accentuation. The semiquavers of the violins in the third phase (0'29-0'39 in the present excerpt, 5’59-6’09 on the complete track) give to this section an effervescence which announces the climax of the whole section.

The summit (0'40-0'50 in the present excerpt, 6’10’-6’20 on the complete track) is reached by the orchestra in a complete rhythmic outburst, and calms down in only a few seconds (0'51-0'55 in the present excerpt, 6’21-6’25 on the complete track).


 Les Hébrides
 7'41 - 8'09

One must listen again and again the beauty of the phrasing of the clarinets, which let the theme dye slowly. Meanwhile in the background the French horns give a great solemnity to the section, by a rhythm of three short and one long. The mingling of the two instruments produces a meaningful feeling of suspension.

  (c) 2005    


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