Which Version of the Bruckner Symphony # 8 did Furtwangler Conduct
April of 1954?
There appears to be an ongoing question as to the version of the
Symphony # 8 that Wilhelm Furtwangler conducted in April of 1954.
The Vienna Philharmonic performance was the
publication of 1892.
According to musicologist Mark Kluge, "The Vienna Philharmonic
confirmed that the players signed their parts of the 1892 edition
this specific Furtwangler performance. If Nowak wrote the program notes
this concert and not once indicated any hint that a pre-publication
of his was used (in fact, all the musical examples in the program are
and if all of that information was widely published a decade ago, one
why the myths are so persistent."
This is a documented fact, so while this is a persistent rumor, it
to have been carefully refuted.
Further, Furtwangler wrote in his notebook in 1941 about his
with the Haas editions:
"They have found (it is said) the setting copy [of the Eighth]. Haas
this has changed nothing. The fact remains - violation of Bruckner by
One might sooner speak of a violation of the public by the Haas myth.
fact is that it was not the Gesamtausgabe that made Bruckner famous,
the earlier version. The question is even raised of whether the
would have made him quite so famous. I am not concerned with the
Bruckner, the Bruckner of the 'scribes and Pharisees', but with the
Bruckner. And I cannot call only the Original-Ausgabe authentic if
print from a later period is available. This is why Haas' violation
is necessary, and it is not authentic. It even contradicts the
of all great men. Only unproductive minds can seriously believe
that a great
artist can be 'put under pressure' for the duration of a depression.
and productivity are essential opposites, the former only ever a
nothing more. The falsification that is done here to the
of Bruckner - Bruckner as a fool - is much greater than [that done] by
essays [attempts?] of the first scholars, Lowe and Schalk."
This is in Aufzeichungen 1924-1954. Weisbaden 1980, from the English
by Michael Tanner, as Notebooks 1924-1954, London 1989.
This explains why Furtwangler reverted back to the
publication of 1892 in 1954 after giving the premiere of the Haas
The Haas editions are coming under greater scrutiny recently.
they may provide a satisfying performing edition, they represent a
that was never sanctioned by the composer. Even the first published
(except for the 9th) can make that claim. Nowak's and later
are giving us differing performing versions of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th
8th symphonies. Each one is in an edition essentially approved by
Based on his notes, it appears that Furtwangler would approve of this