Friday, December 03, 2010

Wilhelm Furtwangler and Ernest Ansermet

Elisabeth Furtwangler contends that the above photograph was taken in Paris in 1945.

I believe Mrs. Furtwangler’s information may be incorrect.

From Furtwangler’s visage alone, I would guess that this photograph was taken in 1952 or 1953—and certainly no earlier than 1950.

Further, I am very skeptical that Furtwangler visited Paris in 1945.

It is amply documented that Furtwangler did not travel from Germany to liberated France while hostilities ensued, which of necessity must eliminate the first four months of 1945. Once the war was over, Furtwangler faced de-Nazification proceedings—and it is very unlikely that the Allies would have allowed Furtwangler to travel to France during the final eight months of 1945, a period during which Furtwangler’s future was very much in doubt.

Until Furtwangler received clearance to resume public life, an event that did not occur until 1947, it is highly improbable that ANY authorities—American, British, French or Russian—allowed Furtwangler to cross into France.

Awaiting de-Nazification, Furtwangler WAS, however, permitted to travel to Switzerland, where his family maintained a home.

If Furtwangler met Ansermet in 1945, it almost certainly was in Geneva, the city in which Ansermet resided, and not in Paris.

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