Author Topic: The Art of Wilhelm Furtwängler  (Read 123201 times)

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Offline Que

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The Art of Wilhelm Furtwängler
« on: April 19, 2007, 10:23:00 PM »
Bill's recent post on the M&A set with wartime Beethoven recordings reminded me that we could use a Furtwangler thread again!  :)

Again - because we had a very nice thread on the old forum: Furtwängler recommendations

What are your favourite Furtwängler recordings?

Q

Offline Que

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Re: The Art of Wilhelm Furtwängler
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2007, 11:01:29 PM »
Melodiya has just issued a Furtwängler Edition of the wartime recordings.

Might be interesting! :)
I'm going to try some myself but would appreciate any comments, especially on the sound.

Q

Some highlights:

« Last Edit: April 20, 2007, 02:15:29 AM by Que »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Art of Wilhelm Furtwängler
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2007, 11:13:14 PM »
Bruckner Symphony 9 (Berlin 1944.....half the audience was Russian hahaha)

Actually this is, together with Gunter Wand's recording, the greatest ever recording of this symphony.  It has a unique doom-laden atmosphere which, no doubt, reflects the circumstances of its performance.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Choo Choo

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Re: The Art of Wilhelm Furtwängler
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2007, 12:35:42 AM »
Second that.

Also recommend the "headless corpse" Bruckner #6.  Had the 1st movement survived, this would also undoubtedly be one of the finest recordings extant.  Heartbreaking both for what it is and what it is not.

Harry Collier

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Re: The Art of Wilhelm Furtwängler
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2007, 01:54:41 AM »
Melodiya has just issued a Furtwängler Edition of the wartime recordings.
Might be interesting! :)
I'm going to try some myself but would appreciate any comments, especially on the sound.

I'd also be most interested in comments on the sound. I think pretty well all these recordings are available via other labels, and the Melodyas are, somewhat optimisticly, at full price.

Offline val

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Re: The Art of Wilhelm Furtwängler
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2007, 02:54:48 AM »
Quote
Que

What are your favourite Furtwängler recordings?

Furtwängler's widow, Elisabeth, always said that his best recordings were those made during the war.

I agree, regarding Beethoven's 5th and 7th Symphonies, with the BPO (1942 or 1943), Bruckner's 5th (BPO, 1942) and 9th (BPO, 1944).

On the other hand I prefer Beethoven's 6th with the VPO in 1952, the 9th in Bayreuth (1951) and regarding operas, the Ring in the Scala (1950) and Tristan und Isolde with Flagstad and Suthaus with the Philharmonia.

But my absolute favorite, is the version of Schumann's Manfred Overture with the BPO, incredibly intense, almost in trance. There is another version with the VPO, but very inferior.

Offline dirkronk

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Re: The Art of Wilhelm Furtwängler
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2007, 03:58:19 AM »
I'm a "power and speed" kinda guy, so it won't come as any surprise that most of my Furtwangler choices are performances with the Berlin rather than with Vienna. And I often tend toward the drive (near-mania?) of the wartime stuff versus the smoother and more contemplative approach of the years just before his death.

His 1942 Beethoven 9th (the famous March version, not the April "Hitler's birthday" performance) still astounds in the emotional response it elicits and the power it expresses. The 1944 Bruckner 9th, as already noted, offers similar qualities. The Beethoven Eroica of Dec. 8, 1952 is a great one. In concerti, the early '50s Emperor concerto with E. Fischer is more straightforward, with far lower emotional amplitude than some of my choices, but it's a wonderfully fulfilling presentation of the music IMO. And the Beethoven violin concerto with Rohr is very special. Furtwangler's takes on the Schubert 9th--wartime and early '50s versions--are quite different but both compelling. Beyond these, much of his wartime and early postwar Brahms could be added to my list. So would what little Schumann he left us. Wouldn't want to be without any of these.

Dirk


Choo Choo

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Re: The Art of Wilhelm Furtwängler
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2007, 04:33:18 AM »
The Beethoven Eroica of Dec. 8, 1952 is a great one.

Second that, too.

Not always that easy to find - last I saw, it was available only as part of a 4-disk Tahra set - but well worth it for arguably his finest Eroica.

Offline MishaK

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Re: The Art of Wilhelm Furtwängler
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2007, 05:36:07 AM »
Apart from what's been mentioned, his Schubert 9 on DG is unsurpassed, as is the Good Friday Spell from Parsifal.

Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: The Art of Wilhelm Furtwängler
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2007, 11:34:09 AM »
Don't miss his performance of Bruckner symphony No. 8 on Testament!
If you really dislike Bach you keep quiet about it! - Andras Schiff

Drasko

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Re: The Art of Wilhelm Furtwängler
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2007, 12:00:35 PM »
Don't miss his performance of Bruckner symphony No. 8 on Testament!

I prefer the next day performance (15.03) in front of audience, more noisy but more fluid and the '44 VPO one to that one (by a hair).


Michel

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Re: The Art of Wilhelm Furtwängler
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2007, 01:37:34 PM »
I like Furtwangler a great deal, but I don't listen much to his Bruckner. Its too fast; the chromaticism isn't given enough space.

I much prefer his Beethoven, and would recommend the M&A Wartime recording, its great!

Choo Choo

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Re: The Art of Wilhelm Furtwängler
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2007, 01:52:12 PM »
I like Furtwangler a great deal, but I don't listen much to his Bruckner. Its too fast; the chromaticism isn't given enough space.

It's easy to fall into that way of thinking, yet what always strikes me about his Bruckner #9 every time I hear it, is the amazing delicacy with which he handles it - particularly (of course) in the Adagio.  Nothing broad-brush about his approach to this one.

Offline Bogey

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Re: The Art of Wilhelm Furtwängler
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2007, 05:47:44 PM »


....His 1942 Beethoven 9th (the famous March version, not the April "Hitler's birthday" performance) still astounds in the emotional response it elicits and the power it expresses....

Dirk



Please excuse the "cropping" of your post Dirk.  The 9th you mentioned, from March of '42, is the one that is on the Music and Arts set for those that care to, or did not know. :)
« Last Edit: April 20, 2007, 06:19:11 PM by Bill »
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uffeviking

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Re: The Art of Wilhelm Furtwängler
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2007, 07:06:05 PM »
Bruckner Symphony 9 (Berlin 1944.....half the audience was Russian hahaha)


The first few sentences in this article will prove your above statement to be incorrect.

http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/berlin.htm

Offline Que

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Re: The Art of Wilhelm Furtwängler
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2007, 10:48:31 PM »
I'd also be most interested in comments on the sound. I think pretty well all these recordings are available via other labels, and the Melodiyas are, somewhat optimisticly, at full price.

Yes, all these recordings are already available on other labels. But considering the fact that Melodiya had access to the original recordings, I don't rule out the possibility that they come up with the best sound of all.
The French Furtwängler Society and Opus Kura both prefer Melodiya LP's as source for the wartime recordings. And with good reason. I have compared for the Bruckner V transfers by DG, M&A, Arkadia and Opus Kura. The Opus Kura came ahead - leaving the others far behind.

BTW, the issues in Melodiya's Furtwängler Edition are available at €13 (mid price).

Q
« Last Edit: April 20, 2007, 10:51:48 PM by Que »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Art of Wilhelm Furtwängler
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2007, 10:55:54 PM »
The first few sentences in this article will prove your above statement to be incorrect.

http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/berlin.htm

 Thanks,I was just being flippant  :)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

SimonGodders

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Re: The Art of Wilhelm Furtwängler
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2007, 12:37:31 AM »
Second that, too.

Not always that easy to find - last I saw, it was available only as part of a 4-disk Tahra set - but well worth it for arguably his finest Eroica.

Listening to it this morning at a very high volume. WOW! Has to be one of the best Eroica's out there. Brilliant
 :)

Choo Choo

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Re: The Art of Wilhelm Furtwängler
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2007, 01:26:21 AM »
Isn't it just.  In fact I'm going to play it right now.

George

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Re: The Art of Wilhelm Furtwängler
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2007, 11:32:38 AM »
Listening to it this morning at a very high volume. WOW! Has to be one of the best Eroica's out there. Brilliant
 :)

Hey, Simon!

Which recording is this? Link please?  :)