Text Box: Conductor autographs


Price: sold



Two page large octavo autographed letter signed by the legendary conductor to conductor and composer Robert Heger, January 9, 1929.  We offer with an original vintage candid 3” x 4.5” snapshot of Furtwängler and his young wife Elisabeth outdoors on a deck, c. mid 1940’s.

The conductor writes:

1. IX 29

Dear esteemed friend and colleague,

             I am just finishing the programs for the coming season, and I must now tell you, to my sincere, great regret, that this time I couldn’t include your symphony in them, after all.  It turned out that I had too many new items of a similar “tendency” (i.e., in the eyes of the press) which, the way things are in Berlin, I would like to avoid.  In particular, some debts from earlier years (which will be very tough for me to pay) are the reason that I have no more room for your work, which I would much prefer performing and which is much better.  But you know yourself too well the way it is with programs not to understand.

I heard about your big success in South America and was very pleasd; hopefully things will start off well in Vienna, too.

I won’t get to Walküre until the end of October and am doing Lohengrin in Berlin first.  I would be very pleased to hear from you sometime.

With cordial regards,


Wilhelm Furtwängler

Best regards to your sister too!  I am travelling in Mannheim (Mollstr. 45) in a few days, in Berlin from the 15th.

Furtwängler (1886-1954) and Robert Heger (1886-1978) both born the same year are both remembered today as conductors, but both were also composers in their own right, though their conducting output, especially on records still lives on.  Heger, while not quite as popular as Furtwängler, was still extremely popular with the public as a conductor, especially in Vienna.  Furtwängler operated in very regimented Berlin where post World War I money was not worth the paper it was printed on and therefore to drive the public to purchase tickets, it was incumbent upon him to select works the public would hear and the critics would not pan.  In reviewing the 1929 Berlin Philharmonic schedule, the “new” works that year included Bloch’s “Schelomo”, Hindemith’s “Concerto for Organ and Chamber Orchestra, No. 2, Korngold’s “”viel Lärm um nichts”, Raphael’s “Theme Variations und Rondo” and Stravinsky’s “Firebird”.  The only work of this “new” genre performed on the 1929 tours was Stravinsky’s “Firebird”.  (not including earlier more established works of Strauss, Pfistner etc.) All of the composer’s listed with the exception of Günther Raphael were better known than Heger as a composer and Raphael was politically connected.  Heger wrote two symphonies, the second op. 21 in C minor written in 1928 would be the one discussed in this letter.  It received its’ World Premiere on January 15th, 1929 with the Wiener Sinfonie-Orchester at the Wiener Musikverein with the composer on the podium.

A content filled letter between two important conducting colleagues.  It clearly shows the dilemma conductors face when choosing their programming, one which still echoes today as they work to add new compositions to their concerts.

We offer with a wonderful and quite unknown snapshot photograph of Furtwängler and his young wife of the time.


Phone: 212-860-5541  *  Fax: 917-677-8247