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aaangyl
aaangyl
YES WE CAN HAS!
Sat, Mar. 22nd, 2008 06:30 pm
On Vox: // Furtwanglert. /

Brought to you by MSNLiveSharedVox!

I lent my copy of Tristan und Isolde to Hans, explaining that while I didn't have words for what it was I liked, there was some particular quality to that production that caused me to feel very involved in the music and emotions and always caused that recording to stand out to me.  He focused in on the conductor, Wilhelm Furtwängler.  This fellow, it turns out, is interesting for a number of reasons.  It seems he was very kinetic, but not very articulate at all - in fact, the more I read what other people had to say about him, the more he sounds like an Aspie.  (If so, his willingness to stay in Germany makes a lot more sense - there seemed to be a certain rational detachment required in those who stayed despite opposed morality, even if they did so in attempt to help embedded Jews escape, as his widow claimed he did.)

When conducting, he flailed about, largely expressionless of the face, often off the beat, throwing his entire body into a twitching, convulsive expression of some deeper emotional movement only he could feel, that he was desperately trying to breathe to his orchestra through his body.  His players loved him - you don't have to guess, you can look at their faces in the videos, or listen to the sheer magnificence of the recordings of his concerts, and you can tell he's infusing them with a great holy fire.  It's almost like he trusts them to organically handle certain things that other conductors are sticklers for - consider Toscanini's metronome-like presentation and crisp precision in contrast.  Furtwangler's movements are about intensity and emotion, about building and carrying the story, and leaving his people to handle the details underneath - very rarely do you see his body insist to any of the musicians "do this bit this way in precise detail", rather, he leads everyone collectively in broad sweeping arcs punctuated by energetic explosions of emphasis.

Here's s YouTube of him conducting Beethoven's 9th in 1942, so you can see what I'm talking about here:

Such a profound departure and such a great impact did he make, that he became a verb.  Speaking approvingly of his successor, Daniel Barenboim, Furtwangler's widow said, "Er furtwänglert." ("He furtwänglers.")

Bonus Material:
- Don Giovanni - Commendatore scene
- Conducting Flagstad in Gotterdammerung
- Aww heck, you can search YouTuba as well as I can, huh?


Originally posted on angyl.vox.com


8CommentReply


aaangyl
aaangyl
YES WE CAN HAS!
Sun, Mar. 23rd, 2008 02:54 am (UTC)

- I know a decent number of Aspies - kinda hard not to in the Bay Area Tech scene. I have a strong Blink (immediate-gut) reaction to a lot of the traits, though it's not as reliable as my Gaydar.
- I was (unsuccessfully) married to an Aspie.
- My mother is a clinical psychologist so I've got a historic familiarity with psych and tend to be extremely irreverent about it all. No offense intended.
- I myself am kinda the OPPOSITE, or so it appears. I get like a 4 on the AS quotient test, and I'm frighteningly comfortable in crowds and random social situations.


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aaangyl
aaangyl
YES WE CAN HAS!
Sun, Mar. 23rd, 2008 03:22 am (UTC)

Details and I are interesting. I'm _aware_ of them, sometimes even _very aware_ of them. Occasionally I hyperfocus on some detail and wind up wasting time on these little variations 99% of the population wouldn't even NOTICE, though usually such things are indicative of not having taken any vitamins for a week. Usually, though, I don't care about _perfection_ in details, I'm very pragmatic and utilitarian overall. I make fast decisions about what is "Important" to a final product and what is not, and I'll geek out about details that I consider key to the picture I'm painting. So you won't see me with big serial collections for the most part, but then you might stumble on five different interpretations of a certain opera, plus the stories it was derived from and some of the major things it went on to influence - the details collect to support the story. I usually see that run kind of backwards in Aspies, where the details come first and the story is derived from them, or the code needs to be elegant and beautiful first and then we'll go find a commercial application for it. Does that make sense to you?


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aaangyl
aaangyl
YES WE CAN HAS!
Sun, Mar. 23rd, 2008 03:27 am (UTC)

Productive?


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hansandersen
hansandersen
Hans Christian Andersen
Sun, Mar. 23rd, 2008 08:31 am (UTC)

Oh. My. God.

Just listened to the Gotterdammerung finale.

It's fast. Unbelievably fast. And it sounds so... effortless. To be honest, it sounds like Beethoven. Strip away the pomp and the grandeur, and conduct Gotterdammerung with the same sort of light-footed ecstasy that you might expect from the Pastoral symphony...

I had no idea that Wagner could sound like that.


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