Furtwängler vs. Toscanini - 27 September on Arte

Author: 3B-Produktion

27 SEPT 2020: Rivalry in Music – Furtwängler vs. Toscanini!

  • Furtwängler vs Toscanini | Copyright: © 3B-Produktion – Büro für bewegtes Bild

    Furtwängler vs Toscanini © 3B-Produktion – Büro für bewegtes Bild

  • Susanna Mälkki | Copyright: © 3B-Produktion – Büro für bewegtes Bild

    Susanna Mälkki © 3B-Produktion – Büro für bewegtes Bild

  • Franco Pulcini | Copyright: © 3B-Produktion – Büro für bewegtes Bild

    Franco Pulcini © 3B-Produktion – Büro für bewegtes Bild

Two men without whom the profession of conductor wouldn’t be what it is today. Two men who couldn’t have been any more different from each other: Arturo Toscanini and Wilhelm Furtwängler.

One of them was a visionary, rigorously faithful to the musical score, the other with his radical subjectivity was recognised even in his lifetime as being seemingly from a past century.

One was shockingly inhibited, scolding his musicians during rehearsals, even slapping them – the other was full of self-doubt.

In the first half of the 20th century the two behemoths were revered like todays popstars. When in 1931 both of them conducted at the Bayreuth Festival – for the first and last time – it was a magical moment, the stuff of legends. But soon the polite rivalry turned into bitter enmity. Both men were forced to take a stance on fascism in their respective countries – and chose radically different paths.

Toscanini, the hot-headed conductor who goes by the nickname “the dictator” bravely defies Mussolini early on. Furtwängler, a dyed-in-the-wool-conservative on the other hand, proclaimed that art is always apolitical and reluctantly makes a pact with the Nazis.

While Toscanini emigrates to the USA, becoming a media star, Furtwängler risks his neck conducting for the Hitler Regime.

The documentary not only opens up the different musical worlds of the two great conductors by re-tracing their careers in Milan, Bayreuth and New York – it also poses a question which today is more relevant than ever: What does art have to do with morality?

Broadcasting 27 September on Arte.

Original title Die Großen Musikrivalen – Furtwängler vs Toscanini
English title Rivalry in Music – Furtwängler vs Toscanini
Genre Documentary
Production year 2020
Duration 52 Minutes
Production Company 3B-Produktion
Co-Production Company ZDF/Arte
Director Thomas von Steinaecker
Director of Photography Chris Valentien
Editor Volker Schaner
Sound Engineer Robert Sandow, Waldemar Bruch
Producer Lucie Tamborini
Co-Producer Dietmar Klumm
Executive Producer Bernhard von Hülsen, Maria Willer



Magic Moments of Music

sounding images

Argerich, Netrebko, Karajan, Caballé: Four new episodes of the extensive documentary series available at the end of 2020!

La Netrebko enchants Salzburg


Star soprano Anna Netrebko + Yusif Eyvazov serve up Russian jewels in a concert gala dedicated to Russian repertoire.

Golden Prague 2020 + Safety Precautions

Czech Television

We are pleased to inform you that despite the pandemic restrictions the 57th Golden Prague Festival will be held as planned from 23 - 26 Sept 2020.

Arctic dance film Fram tours festivals worldwide

Lumikinos Production

The dance film and documentary Fram is available for acquisition after its first successful year on the international film festival circuit.


Benefit from exclusive insights + opportunties with a thematic variety of IMZ Mailings to choose from.

By clicking "SUBSCRIBE" you consent that your data can be processed by the IMZ International Music + Media Centre for the purposes of processing your inquiry.