Furtwangler : Complete Rias Recordings (13 Cds)

Album cover art for upc 4022143214034
Label: AUDITE
Catalog: AUD21403
Format: CD

Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler. Yehudi Menuhin,violin; Gerhard Taschner, violin

CD 1: Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 ‘Pastoral’ & No. 5 25-05-1947
CD 2: Mendelssohn Bartholdy: A Midsummer Night's Dream 28-09-1947 Beethoven: Violin Concerto (Y. Menuhin) 28-09-1947 Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 3, BWV 1068 24-10-1948
CD 3: Schubert: Symphony No. 8 ‘Unfi nished’ 24-10-1948 Brahms: Symphony No. 4 24-10-1948
CD 4: Bruckner: Symphony No. 8 15-03-1949
CD 5: Schumann: Overture to “Manfred” 18-12-1949 Brahms: Symphony No. 3 in F major 18-12-1949 Fortner: Violin Concerto (G. Taschner) 18-12-1949
CD 6: Wagner: “Götterdämmerung” (Trauermarsch) 19-12-1949 Wagner: “Die Meistersinger” (Prelude to Act I) 19-12-1949 Händel: Concerto grosso in D minor, Op. 6 No. 10 20-06-1950 Brahms: Variations on a theme by J. Haydn, Op. 56a 20-06-1950 Hindemith: Concerto for Orchestra, Op. 38 20-06-1950
CD 7: Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E fl at major ‘Eroica’ 20-06-1950 Gluck: Overture to “Alceste” 05-09-1951 Händel: Concerto grosso in D major, Op 6 No. 5 27-04-1954
CD 8: Weber: Overture to “Der Freischütz” 08-12-1952 Hindemith: Symphony ‘Die Harmonie der Welt’ 08-12-1952
CD 9: Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E fl at major ‘Eroica’ 08-12-1952 Schubert: Overture to “Rosamunde” 15-09-1953 Blacher: Concertante Musik für Orchester 27-04-1954
CD 10: Schubert: Symphony No. 8 & No. 9 ‘The Great’ 15-09-1953
CD 11: Brahms: Symphony No. 3 in F major 27-04-1954 Strauss: “Don Juan” 27-04-1954 Wagner: “Tristan und Isolde” (Prelude and Liebestod) 27-04-1954
CD 12: Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 ‘Pastoral’ & No. 5 23-05-1954
Bonus CD: Colloquium: Furtwängler on the art of interpretation 27-02-1951

Last one in Canada!
Wholenote Discoveries - July 2009
More than half a century has passed since the death of Wilhelm Furtwangler who was, as the saying goes, a legend in his own lifetime. His reputation around the world up to the early post WW2 years rested on word-of-mouth and the still incomparable HMV recordings with The Berlin Philharmonic of the Beethoven Fifth (1937), Music from Parsifal and Tristan (1938), and the Tchaikovsky Sixth (1939). Following the war his recordings, mainly with the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics and the Philharmonia Orchestra, elicited critical acclaim and live on in CD catalogues. The recordings that exist of his concert performances are more representative of the energy and uniqueness of his interpretations than those from the studio. From 1947 until 1954 many of his concerts with the Berlin Philharmonic were heard on the RIAS, originating from the Titania-Palast in Berlin. Audite has acquired the original master tapes from Deutschlandradio and after expert remastering has issued 31 of these priceless (in the artistic sense) performances on a 12 CD set together with a 13th disc of a 1951 colloquium, in German, with Furtwangler answering questions posed by an informed audience who all seem to be having a good time. As might be expected, there are some duplications of repertoire: from Beethoven two Eroicas, two Fifths and two Pastorales, along with two Brahms Thirds. The Bruckner Eighth from 15 March 1949 might seem to be a mislabelling of the 14 March 1949 performance on Testament (SBT1143). They are, in fact, different performances from different venues. The Testament is from The Gemeindehaus, Dahlem. They also offer quite a different sound picture. The Testament sounds less weighty and more detailed, the Audite is more opulent and ambient, a quality that characterises the sound on each of these 12 new discs. As expected, these are unashamedly Romantic performances of Mendelssohn, Beethoven including the violin concerto with Menuhin, Bach, Schubert, the Fortner violin concerto (Gerhard Taschner), Wagner, Hindemith, Gluck, Handel and Weber. Anachronistic? As there are no absolutes in interpretation, who’s to say? These are organic performances that delve deeper into the various scores than is fashionable today. There is no shortage of Furtwangler CDs but these are unique in that, taken from the master tapes, we hear exactly what was fresh then. I found every performance, excepting Schumann’s Manfred Overture, to be quite intoxicating. In the film “Taking Sides”, expanded from the stage play about Furtwangler’s de-Nazification, author Ronald Harwood has Furtwangler commenting on a live performance of a Schubert string quintet, “The tempos were a little too correct for my taste.” “What does he mean ‘too correct?’” asks someone. “I don’t know,” was the reply. We know. Bruce Surtees

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