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April 13   -   ArtsJournal: music

When Furtwängler Reopened Bayreuth After The War - With Beethoven

Given all the particular, er, associations attached to Wagner and his operas, the reopening of his own opera house and festival six years after Germany's defeat was a fraught, touchy affair. Yet conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler pulled it off, forgoing any of Wagner's own operas in favor of everyone's favorite German expression of uplift. Sappy? On the contrary, argues Colin Fleming: the performance, newly reissued on disc, "is as viscerally intense as 20th-century classical recordings get ... simultaneously draining, in what it pulls from you emotionally, and emboldeningly triumphal."

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