Sir Harold Malcolm Watts Sargent was an English conductor and composer regarded as Britain's leading conductor of choral works. The musical ensembles with which he was associated included the Ballets Russes, the Huddersfield Choral Society, the Royal Choral Society, the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, the London Philharmonic, Hallé, Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Symphony and Royal Philharmonic orchestras. Sargent was held in high esteem by choirs and instrumental soloists, but because of his high standards and a statement that he made in a 1936 interview disputing musicians' rights to tenure, his relationship with orchestral players was uneasy. Despite this, he was co-founder of the London Philharmonic, was the first conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic as a full-time ensemble, played an important part in saving the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra from disbandment in the 1960s; as chief conductor of London's internationally famous summer music festival the Proms from 1948 to 1967, Sargent was one of the best-known English conductors.
When he took over the Proms from their founder, Sir Henry Wood, he and two assistants conducted the two-month season between them. By the time he died, he was assisted by a large international roster of guest conductors. At the outbreak of the Second World War, Sargent turned down an offer of a major musical directorship in Australia and returned to the UK to bring music to as many people as possible as his contribution to national morale, his fame extended beyond the concert hall: to the British public, he was a familiar broadcaster in BBC radio talk shows, generations of Gilbert and Sullivan devotees have known his recordings of the most popular Savoy Operas. He toured throughout the world and was noted for his skill as a conductor, his championship of British composers, his debonair appearance, which won him the nickname "Flash Harry." Sargent was born in Bath Villas, Ashford, in England, to a working-class family. His father, Henry Sargent, was amateur musician and part-time church organist.
Sargent was brought up in Stamford, where he joined the choir at Peterborough Cathedral, studied the organ and won a scholarship to Stamford School. At the age of 14, he accompanied rehearsals for amateur productions of The Gondoliers and The Yeomen of the Guard at Stamford. At the age of 16 he earned his diploma as Associate of the Royal College of Organists, at 18 he was awarded the degree of Bachelor of Music by the University of Durham. Sargent worked first as an organist at St Mary's Church, Melton Mowbray, from 1914 to 1924, except for eight months in 1918 when he served as a private in the Durham Light Infantry during the First World War, he was chosen for the organist post over more than 150 other applicants. At the same time, he worked on many musical projects in Leicester, Melton Mowbray and Stamford, where he not only conducted but produced the operas of Gilbert and Sullivan and others for amateur societies; the Prince of Wales and his entourage hunted in Leicestershire and watched the annual Gilbert and Sullivan productions there, together with the Duke of York and other members of the Royal Family.
At the age of 24 Sargent became England's youngest Doctor of Music, with a degree from Durham. Sargent's break came when Sir Henry Wood visited De Montfort Hall, early in 1921 with the Queen's Hall orchestra; as it was customary to commission a piece from a local composer, Wood invited Sargent to write a piece entitled Impression on a Windy Day. Sargent completed the work too late for Wood to have enough time to learn it, so Wood called on Sargent to conduct the first performance himself. Wood recognised not only the worth of the piece but Sargent's talent as a conductor and gave him the chance to make his debut conducting the work at Wood's annual season of promenade concerts known as the Proms, in the Queen's Hall on 11 October of the same year. Sargent as composer attracted favourable notice in a Prom season when other composer-conductors included Gustav Holst with his Planets suite, the next year, Wood included a nocturne and scherzo by Sargent in the Proms programme conducted by the composer.
Sargent was invited to conduct the Impression again in the 1923 season, but it was as a conductor that he made the greater impact. On the advice of Wood, among others, he soon abandoned composition in favour of conducting, he founded the amateur Leicester Symphony Orchestra in 1922, which he continued to conduct until 1939. Under Sargent, the orchestra's prestige grew until it was able to obtain such top-flight soloists as Alfred Cortot, Artur Schnabel, Guilhermina Suggia and Benno Moiseiwitsch. Moiseiwitsch gave Sargent piano lessons without charge, judging him talented enough to make a successful career as a concert pianist, but Sargent chose a conducting career. At the instigation of Wood and Adrian Boult he became a lecturer at the Royal College of Music in London in 1923. In the 1920s, Sargent became one of the best-known English conductors. For the British National Opera Company, he conducted The Mastersingers on tour in 1925, for the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, he conducted London seasons at the Prince's Theatre in 1926 and the newly rebuilt Savoy Theatre in 1929–30.
He was criticised in The Times's review of 20 September 1926 for adding "gags" to the Gilbert and Sullivan scores, although the writer praised the crispness of the ensemble, the "musicalness" of the performance and the beauty of the overture. Rupert D'Oyly Carte wrote to the paper stating that, in fact, Sargent had worked from Arthur Sullivan's manuscript scores and had brought out the "details of the orchestration" as Sullivan ha
Budapest is the capital and the most populous city of Hungary, the tenth-largest city in the European Union by population within city limits. The city had an estimated population of 1,752,704 in 2016 distributed over a land area of about 525 square kilometres. Budapest is both a city and county, forms the centre of the Budapest metropolitan area, which has an area of 7,626 square kilometres and a population of 3,303,786, comprising 33 percent of the population of Hungary; the history of Budapest began when an early Celtic settlement transformed into the Roman town of Aquincum, the capital of Lower Pannonia. The Hungarians arrived in the territory in the late 9th century; the area was pillaged by the Mongols in 1241. Buda, the settlements on the west bank of the river, became one of the centres of Renaissance humanist culture by the 15th century; the Battle of Mohács in 1526 was followed by nearly 150 years of Ottoman rule. After the reconquest of Buda in 1686, the region entered a new age of prosperity.
Pest-Buda became a global city with the unification of Buda, Óbuda, Pest on 17 November 1873, with the name'Budapest' given to the new capital. Budapest became the co-capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a great power that dissolved in 1918, following World War I; the city was the focal point of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Battle of Budapest in 1945, the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Budapest is an Alpha − global city with strengths in commerce, media, fashion, technology and entertainment, it is Hungary's financial centre and the highest ranked Central and Eastern European city on Innovation Cities Top 100 index, as well ranked as the second fastest-developing urban economy in Europe. Budapest is the headquarters of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, the European Police College and the first foreign office of the China Investment Promotion Agency. Over 40 colleges and universities are located in Budapest, including the Eötvös Loránd University, the Semmelweis University and the Budapest University of Technology and Economics.
Opened in 1896, the city's subway system, the Budapest Metro, serves 1.27 million, while the Budapest Tram Network serves 1.08 million passengers daily. Budapest is cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, ranked as "the world's second best city" by Condé Nast Traveler, "Europe's 7th most idyllic place to live" by Forbes. Among Budapest's important museums and cultural institutions is the Museum of Fine Arts. Further famous cultural institutions are the Hungarian National Museum, House of Terror, Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Hungarian State Opera House and National Széchényi Library; the central area of the city along the Danube River is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has many notable monuments, including the Hungarian Parliament, Buda Castle, Fisherman's Bastion, Gresham Palace, Széchenyi Chain Bridge, Matthias Church and the Liberty Statue. Other famous landmarks include Andrássy Avenue, St. Stephen's Basilica, Heroes' Square, the Great Market Hall, the Nyugati Railway Station built by the Eiffel Company of Paris in 1877 and the second-oldest metro line in the world, the Millennium Underground Railway.
The city has around 80 geothermal springs, the largest thermal water cave system, second largest synagogue, third largest Parliament building in the world. Budapest attracts 4.4 million international tourists per year, making it a popular destination in Europe. The separate towns of Buda, Óbuda, Pest were in 1873 unified and given the new name Budapest. Before this, the towns together had sometimes been referred to colloquially as "Pest-Buda". Pest has been sometimes used colloquially as a shortened name for Budapest. All varieties of English pronounce the -s- as in the English word pest; the -u in Buda- is pronounced either /u/ like food or /ju/ like cue. In Hungarian, the -s- is pronounced /ʃ/ as in wash; the origins of the names "Buda" and "Pest" are obscure. The first name comes from: Buda was the name of the first constable of the fortress built on the Castle Hill in the 11th century or a derivative of Bod or Bud, a personal name of Turkic origin, meaning'twig'. or a Slavic personal name, the short form of Budimír, Budivoj.
Linguistically, however, a German origin through the Slavic derivative вода is not possible, there is no certainty that a Turkic word comes from the word buta ~ buda'branch, twig'. According to a legend recorded in chronicles from the Middle Ages, "Buda" comes from the name of its founder, brother of Hunnic ruler Attila. There are several theories about Pest. One states that the name derives from Roman times, since there was a local fortress called by Ptolemaios "Pession". Another has it that Pest originates in the Slavic word for пещера, or peštera. A third cites pešt, referencing a cave where fires burned or a limekiln; the first settlement on the territory of Budapest was built by Celts before 1 AD. It was occupied by the Romans; the Roman settlement – Aquincum – became the main city of Pannonia Inferior in 106 AD. At first it was a military settlement, the city rose around it, making it the focal point of the city's commercial life. Today this area corresponds to the Óbuda district within Budapest.
The Romans constructed roads, amphitheaters and houses with heated floors in this fortified military camp. The Roman city of Aquincum is the best-conserved of the Roman sites in Hungary; the archaeological site was turned into a museum with open-air sections. The Magyar tribes led by Árpád, forc
London Philharmonic Orchestra
The London Philharmonic Orchestra is one of five permanent symphony orchestras based in London. It was founded by the conductors Sir Thomas Beecham and Malcolm Sargent in 1932 as a rival to the existing London Symphony and BBC Symphony Orchestras; the founders' ambition was to build an orchestra the equal of any American rival. Between 1932 and the Second World War the LPO was judged to have succeeded in this regard. After the outbreak of war, the orchestra's private backers withdrew and the players reconstituted the LPO as a self-governing cooperative. In the post-war years, the orchestra faced challenges from two new rivals. By the 1960s the LPO had regained its earlier standards, in 1964 it secured a valuable engagement to play in the Glyndebourne Festival opera house during the summer months. In 1993 it was appointed resident orchestra of the Royal Festival Hall on the south bank of the Thames, one of London's major concert venues. Since 1995 the residency has been jointly held with the Philharmonia.
In addition to its work at the Festival Hall and Glyndebourne, the LPO performs at the Congress Theatre and the Brighton Dome, tours nationally and internationally. Since Beecham, the orchestra has had ten principal conductors, including Sir Adrian Boult, Bernard Haitink, Sir Georg Solti, Klaus Tennstedt and Vladimir Jurowski; the orchestra has been active in recording studios since its earliest days, has played on hundreds of sets made by EMI, Decca and other companies. Since 2005 the LPO has had its own record label, issuing live recordings of concerts; the orchestra has played on numerous film soundtracks, including Lawrence of Arabia and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In the 1920s the London Symphony Orchestra was the city's best-known concert and recording orchestra. Others were the Royal Albert Hall Orchestra, the orchestra of the Royal Philharmonic Society, the BBC's Wireless Symphony Orchestra and Sir Henry Wood's Queen's Hall Orchestra. All except the last of these were ad hoc ensembles, with little continuity of personnel, none approached the excellence of the best continental and American orchestras.
This became obvious in 1927 when the Berlin Philharmonic, under Wilhelm Furtwängler, gave two concerts at the Queen's Hall. The chief music critic of The Times commented, "the British public... was electrified when it heard the disciplined precision of the Berlin Philharmonic... This was how an orchestra could, therefore, ought to sound". After the Berliners, London heard a succession of major foreign orchestras, including the Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under Willem Mengelberg and the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York under Arturo Toscanini. Among those determined that London should have a permanent orchestra of similar excellence were Sir John Reith, director-general of the British Broadcasting Corporation, the conductor Sir Thomas Beecham. In 1928 they opened discussions about jointly setting up such an ensemble, but after 18 months of negotiations it became clear that the corporation and the conductor had irreconcilable priorities. Beecham demanded more personal control of the orchestra and repertoire than the BBC was willing to concede, his priorities were the opera house and the concert hall rather than the broadcasting studio.
The BBC went ahead without him, under its director of music, Adrian Boult, launched the BBC Symphony Orchestra in October 1930, to immense acclaim. In 1931 Beecham was approached by the rising young conductor Malcolm Sargent with a proposal to set up a permanent, salaried orchestra with a subsidy guaranteed by Sargent's patrons, the Courtauld family. Sargent and Beecham envisaged a reshuffled version of the LSO, but the orchestra, a self-governing body, balked at weeding out and replacing underperforming players. In 1932 Beecham agreed with Sargent to set up a new orchestra from scratch; the BBC having attracted a large number of the finest musicians from other orchestras, many in the musical world doubted that Beecham could find enough good players. He was fortunate in the timing of the enterprise: the depressed economy had reduced the number of freelance dates available to orchestral players. Moreover, Beecham himself was a strong attraction to many musicians: he commented, "I always get the players.
Among other considerations, they are so good they refuse to play under anybody but me." In a study of the foundation of the LPO, David Patmore writes, "The combination of steady work higher than usual rates, variety of performance and Beecham's own magnetic personality would make such an offering irresistible to many orchestral musicians."Beecham and Sargent had financial backing from leading figures in commerce, including Samuel Courtauld, Robert Mayer and Baron Frédéric d'Erlanger, secured profitable contracts to record for Columbia and play for the Royal Philharmonic Society, the Royal Choral Society, the Courtauld-Sargent Concerts, Mayer's concerts for children, the international opera season at Covent Garden. During his earlier negotiations with the BBC Beecham had proposed the title "London Philharmonic Orchestra", now adopted for the new ensemble. With the aid of the impresario Harold Holt and other influential and informed contacts he recruited 106 players, they included a few young musicians straight from music college, many established players from provincial orchestras, 17 of the LSO's leading members.
During the early years, the orchestra was led by Paul Beard and David McCallum, included leading players such as James Bradshaw, Gwydion
Chamber music is a form of classical music, composed for a small group of instruments—traditionally a group that could fit in a palace chamber or a large room. Most broadly, it includes any art music, performed by a small number of performers, with one performer to a part. However, by convention, it does not include solo instrument performances; because of its intimate nature, chamber music has been described as "the music of friends". For more than 100 years, chamber music was played by amateur musicians in their homes, today, when chamber music performance has migrated from the home to the concert hall, many musicians and professional, still play chamber music for their own pleasure. Playing chamber music requires special skills, both musical and social, that differ from the skills required for playing solo or symphonic works. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe described chamber music as "four rational people conversing"; this conversational paradigm–which refers to the way one instrument introduces a melody or motif and other instruments subsequently "respond" with a similar motif–has been a thread woven through the history of chamber music composition from the end of the 18th century to the present.
The analogy to conversation recurs in analyses of chamber music compositions. From its earliest beginnings in the Medieval period to the present, chamber music has been a reflection of the changes in the technology and the society that produced it. During the Middle Ages and the early Renaissance, instruments were used as accompaniment for singers. String players would play along with the melody line sung by the singer. There were purely instrumental ensembles of stringed precursors of the violin family, called consorts; some analysts consider the origin of classical instrumental ensembles to be the sonata da camera and the sonata da chiesa. These were compositions for one to five or more instruments; the sonata da camera was a suite of fast movements, interspersed with dance tunes. These forms developed into the trio sonata of the Baroque – two treble instruments and a bass instrument with a keyboard or other chording instrument filling in the harmony. Both the bass instrument and the chordal instrument would play the basso continuo part.
During the Baroque period, chamber music as a genre was not defined. Works could be played on any variety of instruments, in orchestral or chamber ensembles; the Art of Fugue by Johann Sebastian Bach, for example, can be played on a keyboard instrument or by a string quartet or a string orchestra. The instrumentation of trio sonatas was often flexibly specified. Sometimes composers mixed movements for chamber ensembles with orchestral movements. Telemann's'Tafelmusik', for example, has five sets of movements for various combinations of instruments, ending with a full orchestral section. Baroque chamber music was contrapuntal; because each instrument was playing the same melodies, all the instruments were equal. In the trio sonata, there is no ascendent or solo instrument, but all three instruments share equal importance; the harmonic role played by the keyboard or other chording instrument was subsidiary, the keyboard part was not written out. In the second half of the 18th century, tastes began to change: many composers preferred a new, lighter Galant style, with "thinner texture... and defined melody and bass" to the complexities of counterpoint.
Now a new custom arose. Patrons invited street musicians to play evening concerts below the balconies of their homes, their friends and their lovers. Patrons and musicians commissioned composers to write suitable suites of dances and tunes, for groups of two to five or six players; these works were called serenades, divertimenti, or cassations. The young Joseph Haydn was commissioned to write several of these. Joseph Haydn is credited with creating the modern form of chamber music as we know it. In 83 string quartets, 45 piano trios, numerous string trios and wind ensembles, Haydn established the conversational style of composition and the overall form, to dominate the world of chamber music for the next two centuries. An example of the conversational mode of composition is Haydn's string quartet Op. 20, No. 4 in D major. In the first movement, after a statement of the main theme by all the instruments, the first violin breaks into a triplet figure, supported by the second violin and cello; the cello answers with its own triplet figure the viola, while the other instruments play a secondary theme against this movement.
Unlike counterpoint, where each part plays the same melodic role as the others, here each instrument contributes its own character, its own comment on the music as it develops. Haydn settled on an overall form for his chamber music compositions, which would become the standard, with slight varia
Joseph Szigeti was a Hungarian violinist. Born into a musical family, he spent his early childhood in a small town in Transylvania, he proved himself to be a child prodigy on the violin, moved to Budapest with his father to study with the renowned pedagogue Jenő Hubay. After completing his studies with Hubay in his early teens, Szigeti began his international concert career, his performances at that time were limited to salon-style recitals and the more overtly virtuosic repertoire. Following a bout of tuberculosis that required a stay in a sanatorium in Switzerland, Szigeti settled in Geneva, where he became Professor of Violin at the local conservatory in 1917, it was in Geneva that he met his future wife, Wanda Ostrowska, at the same time he became friends with the composer Béla Bartók. Both relationships were to be lifelong. From the 1920s until 1960, Szigeti performed around the world and recorded extensively, he distinguished himself as a strong advocate of new music, was the dedicatee of many new works by contemporary composers.
Among the more notable pieces written for him are Ernest Bloch's Violin Concerto, Bartók's Rhapsody No. 1, Eugène Ysaÿe's Solo Sonata No. 1. After retiring from the concert stage in 1960, he worked at teaching and writing until his death in 1973, at the age of 80. Szigeti was born Joseph "Jóska" Singer to a Jewish family in Austria-Hungary, his mother died when he was three years old, soon thereafter the boy was sent to live with his grandparents in the little Carpathian town of Máramaros-Sziget. He grew up surrounded by music, as the town band was composed entirely of his uncles. After a few informal lessons on the cimbalom from his aunt, he received his first lessons on the violin from his Uncle Bernat at the age of six. Szigeti showed a talent for the violin. Several years his father took him to Budapest to receive proper training at the conservatory. After a brief stint with an inadequate teacher, Szigeti auditioned at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music and was admitted directly into the class of Jenő Hubay, without the usual delays and formalities.
Hubay, a student of Joseph Joachim in Berlin, had by that time established himself as one of the preeminent teachers in Europe and a fountainhead of the Hungarian violin tradition. Szigeti joined such violinists as Franz von Vecsey, Emil Telmányi, Jelly d'Arányi and Stefi Geyer in Hubay's studio. In those days, Europe produced a great many child prodigies, inspired by the phenomenal success of the young Czech virtuoso Jan Kubelík and formed by rigorous teaching and enthusiastic parents; the Hubay studio was no exception. In 1905, at the age of thirteen, Szigeti made his Berlin debut playing Bach's Chaconne in D minor, Ernst's Concerto in F-sharp minor, Paganini's Witches Dance. Despite the formidable program, the event received mention only by a photograph in the Sunday supplement of the Berliner Tageblatt captioned: "A Musical Prodigy: Josef Szigeti". Szigeti spent the next few months with a summer theater company in a small Hungarian resort town, playing mini-recitals in between acts of folk operetta.
In that same vein, the next year he played at a circus in Frankfurt, where he appeared under the pseudonym "Jóska Szulagi". In 1906, Hubay took Szigeti to play for Joseph Joachim in Berlin. Joachim was impressed, suggested that Szigeti should finish his studies with him. Szigeti declined the offer, both out of loyalty to Hubay and a perceived aloofness and lack of rapport between Joachim and his students. Soon after the meeting with Joachim, Szigeti embarked on a major concert tour of England. Midway through the tour, in Surrey, he met a music-loving couple who adopted him, extending an invitation to stay with them for an indefinite length of time. Throughout England, he gave many successful concerts, including the premiere of the first work dedicated to him: Hamilton Harty's Violin Concerto. During this time, Szigeti toured with an all-star ensemble including legendary singer Dame Nellie Melba and pianists Ferruccio Busoni and Wilhelm Backhaus. Philippe Gaubert, a famous French flutist of the day, as well as the young singer John McCormack, were part of these tours.
The most significant of the new contacts was Busoni. The great pianist and composer became Szigeti's mentor during these formative years, the two would remain close friends until Busoni's death in 1924. By Szigeti's own admission, before meeting Busoni his life was characterized by a certain laziness and indifference brought on by the then-typical life of a young prodigy violinist, he had grown accustomed to playing crowd-pleasing salon miniatures and dazzling virtuosic encores without much thought. He knew little of the works of the great masters; as Szigeti put it, Busoni—particularly through their careful study of Bach's Chaconne—"shook me once and for all out of my adolescent complacency". In 1913, Szigeti was diagnosed with tuberculosis and was sent to a sanatorium in Davos, Switzerland to recover, interrupting his concert career. During his stay at the sanatorium, he became re-acquainted with the composer Béla Bartók, recovering from pneumonia; the two had known each other only in passing during their conservatory days, but now they began a friendship that would last until Bartók's death in 19
Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic by population and area, the largest Moravian city, the historical capital city of the Margraviate of Moravia. Brno is the administrative center of the South Moravian Region in which it forms a separate district; the city has about 400,000 inhabitants. Brno is the seat of judicial authority of the Czech Republic – it is the seat of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Administrative Court, the Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office; the city is a significant administrative centre. It is the seat of a number of state authorities, including the Ombudsman, the Office for the Protection of Competition. Brno is an important centre of higher education, with 33 faculties belonging to 13 institutes of higher learning and about 89,000 students. Brno Exhibition Centre ranks among the largest exhibition centres in Europe; the complex opened in 1928 and established the tradition of large exhibitions and trade fairs held in Brno. Brno hosts motorbike and other races on the Masaryk Circuit, a tradition established in 1930, in which the Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix is one of the most prestigious races.
Another cultural tradition is an international fireworks competition, Ignis Brunensis, that attracts tens of thousands of daily visitors. The most visited sights of the city include the Špilberk castle and fortress and the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul on Petrov hill, two medieval buildings that dominate the cityscape and are depicted as its traditional symbols; the other large preserved castle near the city is Veveří Castle by Brno Reservoir. This castle is the site of a number of legends. Another architectural monument of Brno is the functionalist Villa Tugendhat, included on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. One of the natural sights nearby is the Moravian Karst; the city is a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and has been designated as a "City of Music" in 2017. The etymology of the name Brno is disputed, it might be derived from the Old Czech brnie'muddy, swampy.' Alternative derivations are from a Slavic verb brniti or a Celtic language spoken in the area before it was overrun by Germanic peoples and Slavic peoples.
Throughout its history, Brno's locals referred to the town in other languages, including Brünn in German, ברין in Yiddish and Bruna in Latin. The city was referred to as Brunn in English, but this usage is not common today; the Asteroid 2889 Brno was named after the city, as well as the Bren light machine gun, one of the most famous weapons of World War II. The Brno basin has been inhabited since prehistoric times, but the town's direct predecessor was a fortified settlement of the Great Moravia Empire known as Staré Zámky, inhabited from the Neolithic Age to the early 11th century. In the early 11th century Brno was established as a castle of a non-ruling prince from the House of Přemyslid, Brno became one of the centres of Moravia along with Olomouc and Znojmo. Brno was first mentioned in Cosmas' Chronica Boëmorum dated to year 1091, when Bohemian king Vratislav II besieged his brother Conrad at Brno castle. In the mid 11th century, Moravia was divided into three separate territories. Seats of these rulers and thus "capitals" of these territories were castles and towns of Brno and Znojmo.
In the late 12th century, Moravia began forming the Margraviate of Moravia. Since until the mid of the 17th century, it was not clear which town should be the capital of Moravia. Political power was therefore "evenly" divided between Brno and Olomouc, but Znojmo played an important role; the Moravian Diet, the Moravian Land Tables, the Moravian Land Court were all seated in both cities at once. However, Brno was the official seat of the Moravian Margraves, its geographical position closer to Vienna became important. Otherwise, until 1642 Olomouc was larger than Brno by population, it was the seat of the only Roman Catholic diocese in Moravia. In 1243 Brno was granted the large and small city privileges by the King, thus it was recognized as a royal city. In 1324 Queen Elisabeth Richeza of Poland founded the current Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady, now her final resting place. In the 14th century, Brno became one of the centres for the Moravian regional assemblies, whose meetings alternated between Brno and Olomouc.
These assemblies made political and financial decisions. Brno and Olomouc were the seats of the Land Court and the Land Tables, thus they were the two most important cities in Moravia. From the mid 14th century to the early 15th century the Špilberk Castle had served as the permanent seat of the Margraves of Moravia. In the 15th century Brno was besieged in 1428 and again in 1430 by the Hussites during the Hussite Wars. Both attempts to conquer the city failed. In 1641, in the midst of the Thirty Years' War, the Holy Roman Emperor and Margrave of Moravia Ferdinand III commanded permanent relocation of the diet and the land
Gustav Heinrich Ernst Martin Wilhelm Furtwängler was a German conductor and composer. He is regarded as one of the greatest symphonic and operatic conductors of the 20th century. Furtwängler was principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic between 1922 and 1945, from 1952 until 1954, he was principal conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra, was a guest conductor of other major orchestras including the Vienna Philharmonic. He was the leading conductor to remain in Germany during the Second World War, although he was not an adherent of the Nazi regime; this decision caused lasting controversy, the extent to which his presence lent prestige to the Third Reich is still debated. Furtwängler's conducting is well documented in commercial and broadcast recordings and has contributed to his lasting reputation, he had a major influence on many conductors, his name is mentioned when discussing their interpretive styles. Wilhelm Furtwängler was born in Schöneberg into a prominent family, his father Adolf was his mother a painter.
Most of his childhood was spent in Munich, where his father taught at the city's Ludwig Maximilian University. He was given a musical education from an early age, developed an early love of Ludwig van Beethoven, a composer with whose works he remained associated throughout his life. Although Furtwängler achieved fame chiefly from his conducting, he regarded himself foremost as a composer, he began conducting. By age of twenty, he had composed several works. However, they were not well received, that, combined with the financial insecurity of a career as a composer, led him to concentrate on conducting, he made his conducting debut with the Kaim Orchestra in Anton Bruckner's Ninth Symphony. He subsequently held conducting posts at Munich, Strasbourg, Lübeck, Mannheim and Vienna. Furtwangler succeeded Artur Bodanzky as principal conductor of the Mannheim Opera and Music Academy in 1915, remaining until 1920; as a boy he had sometimes stayed with his grandmother in Mannheim. Through her family he met the Geissmars, a Jewish family who were leading lawyers and amateur musicians in the town.
Berta Geissmar wrote, "Furtwängler became so good at as to attain professional skill... Every sport appealed to him: he loved tennis and swimming... He was a good horseman..." She reports that he was a strong mountain climber and hiker. Berta Geissmar subsequently became his secretary and business manager, in Mannheim and in Berlin, until she was forced to leave Germany in 1934. From 1921 onwards, Furtwängler shared holidays in the Engadin with her mother. In 1924 he bought a house there. After he married, the house was open to a wide circle of friends. In 1920 he was appointed conductor of the Berlin Staatskapelle succeeding Richard Strauss. In January 1922, following the sudden death of Arthur Nikisch, he was appointed to the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Shortly afterwards he was appointed to the prestigious Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, again in succession to Nikisch. Furtwängler made his London debut in 1924, continued to appear there before the outbreak of World War 2 as late as 1938, when he conducted Richard Wagner's Ring.
In 1925 he appeared as guest conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, making return visits in the following two years. In January 1945 Furtwängler fled to Switzerland, it was during this period that he completed what is considered his most significant composition, the Symphony No. 2 in E minor. It was given its premiere in 1948 by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Furtwängler's direction and was recorded for Deutsche Grammophon. Following the war, he resumed performing and recording, remained a popular conductor in Europe, although his actions in the 1930s and 40s were a subject of ongoing criticism, he died in 1954 in Ebersteinburg, close to Baden-Baden. He is buried in the Heidelberg Bergfriedhof, his second wife Elisabeth died in 2013, aged 103. Furtwängler's relationship with and attitudes towards Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party were a matter of much controversy. Furtwängler was critical of Hitler's appointment as Chancellor of Germany, was convinced that Hitler would not stay in power for long.
He had said of Hitler in 1932, "This hissing street pedlar will never get anywhere in Germany". As the antisemitic policies of the Third Reich took effect, Jewish musicians were forced out of work and began to leave Germany; the Nazis were aware that Furtwängler was opposed to the policies and might decide to go abroad, so the Berlin Philharmonic, which employed many Jews, was exempted from the policies. In 1933, when Bruno Walter was dismissed from his position as principal conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Nazis asked Furtwängler to replace him for an international tour, their goal was to show to the world. Furtwängler refused, it was Richard Strauss who replaced Walter. On April 10, 1933, Furtwängler wrote a public letter to Goebbels to denounce the new rulers' antisemitism: Ultimately there is only one dividing line I recognize: that between good and bad art. However, while the dividing line between Jews and non-Jews is being drawn with a downright merciless theoretical precision, that other dividing line, the one which in the long run is so important for our music life, the decisive dividing line between good and bad, seems to have far too little significance attributed to it If concerts offer nothing people will not attend.