Ursula’s 1947 home movies of Karajan and Furtwängler

Urusla Strebi, daughter of the Lucerne lawyer Walter Strebi, grew up in the company of great musicians.

Her father was the brains behind the Lucerne Festival and the personal adviser to musicians with a Nazi-era past. The family’s home movies are fascinating, not least for glimpses of Dinu Lipatti, who did not have long to live.

Watch here.

Ursula married the brass ensemble founder Philip Jones and lived her adult life happily in London.

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  • Very interesting….. especially the composition accompanying the footage, which is a piece by Lipatti ‘in old style’.

    • What do you think about this work?
      I liked it, quite a lot. I didn’t know the work, but somehow thought I was hearing Lipatti’s playing. That sound and phrasing, made more identifiable by the sound of the pianos he used and the recording techniques of the day. Whenever I hear his playing I think of it as the greatest ever.

  • This footage made me very emotional. I feel honored and moved to view this footage of these legends. Maestros Furtwängler and Karajan , as well as geniuses and Lipatti and Schwartzkopf have been major inspirations and heroes for me through my journey and music education, and they will always continue teaching me.

    This was a rare moment of lucidity for me; reminding me of the grand musical legacy we artists are all a part of, and verily, why we do it. We endure a heavy responsibility with most exacting demands of interpretation and artistry, yet I’m sure most of us would not trade the honor and privilege of being a part of it for anything.

    Thank you to the Strebi family, as well as Susanne Schmerda for posting, and Norman Lebrecht for sharing this gem.

  • Wonderful to see a glimpse of the great Maria Stader. Being so short in stature made it difficult for Opera Houses to cast her, but what a magnificent recorded legacy she has left us, especially with Fricsay conducting!

  • In this rare footage, we see an ensemble of four bassoonists, playing an arrangement by Paul Hindemith (as described in the titles). Does anyone know of what piece what was that arrangement, did it’s notes survive – and the names of these bassoonists?

    • Sorry to take so long to get back to you on this. I have traced this bassoon mystery with enormous care and the only conclusion we have come to is that it was a piece of Hindemith’s customised by him for the occasion. I did find out the name of one of the bassoonists (no longer alive) and if you need it, can try and dig it out. Orlando.murrin@gmail.com

  • Just marvelous! Thank you, Norman, for sharing this. Seeing Dinu Lipatti was the highlight for me, what a phenomenal artist he was…

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