As a follow-up to my previous Karajan post (here), below an excerpt from an interview with Daniel Barenboim (full source here):
Question: You met two conductors associated with Nazism: Wilhelm Furtwängler and Herbert von Karajan. Did you talk to them about this?
Daniel Barenboim: I met Furtwängler when I was 11 years old. I did not have the courage and even less the understanding to talk to him about this issue. But I believe he never really identified himself with that horror. With Karajan, it was different. I summoned him and he told me: “I had artistic ambitions, I wanted to work in Germany, and for this I had to associate myself to the Nazi Party. That is what I did.”
This is of course, a second-hand source and Barenboim is by no means a neutral player in this game, so one should carefully consider the reliability of the statement. In my view, it makes completely sense. And I believe that many would have done the same, today as well, though it´s nothing to be exactly proud of.
Understandable, from a musical point of view, that Barenboim wants to rehabilitate Furtwängler, but is that warranted? A very good and not easy question to answer, which I´ll nevertheless try to do in an upcoming post - after having chewed my way through the 400+ pages Furtwängler biography "The devil´s music maker".