Rare Menuhin film: Yehudi in Berlin, 1946

No words needed.


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  • Has the complete performance been preserved – at least in audio form? I believe this is the only time that Menuhin and Celi worked together, and they seem to get along.

  • I assume Menuhin’s intentions in facilitating reconciliation were sincere and he was obviously not alone among musicians who returned to performing in Germany and Austria. That said it is disquieting watching him playing with musicians many of whom were proud to support fascism and racism. I recall YM writing about his decision to support Furtwangler after the war but did he address the BPO and VPO?

    • There’s a comprehensive film on the subject called the Reich’s Orchestra or something like that. Please check it out.
      Doubtlessly it will help put this wonderful act of conciliation in context.

  • A great musician who plays with much warmth and a remarkable humanist for sure. I wonder though if he had the misfortune to loose family members in concentration camps he would have been so ready to visit Germany immediately after the war. I believe he was criticised for this visit by some Jewish musicians & I can understand their standpoint.

    • I understand their viewpoint and I also understand his point. On balance, I think that I am glad his point prevailed and that Germany was re-integrated into the community of western European nations.

  • I am sorry that I have to add on to my previous comment, but the question is this; should we be so forgiving of people who have not necessarily repented for their past beliefs or actions but are in a pitiable state because they are totally defeated? The redemption of Germany took place not only through the devastation of loosing the war, but also through decades of division and political transformation. This process was only completed through generational change, for we know there were many Nazi sympathisers who went to their graves unrepentant. I am a huge admirer of Yehudi Menuhin,even more as a human being than as a violinist. In this issue, however, I believe his attempts to build bridges were a bit premature. Germany had to be truly de-Nazified first.

    • Completely agree. In my earlier comment regarding the BPO I meant to recommend the documentary, The Reichsorchester: The Berlin Philharmonic. It has been a number of years since I watched the dvd but the take home message(s) for me was that many members were national socialists and perhaps more disturbing was that many more opted for blissful ignorance of what happened to their former colleagues. As I recall no one in the orchestra ever questioned the sudden availability of fine instruments.

      • and doubtlessley Yehudi M’s glorious appearance will have eased some off that ignorance/12years of brainwashing on *some* of the orchestras part. The takehome message from the documentary being that not all the Orchestra fell under the spell of Nazism.
        Glass half empty etc.

        Solti was working with German orchestras quite rapidly after the war as well.

        • Yes, Solti was working at the Frankfurt Opera and Celi with the BPO because there was a shortage of conductors permitted to work in Germany. As soon as possible, i.e. the de-Nazification process concluded, both conductors were pushed aside. As I recall the documentary the glass was considerably less than half full.

  • World needs a few naive idealists in every generation – preferably those who are truly fine human beings such as Yegudi Menuhin rather than the other kind.

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