Furtwangler Archive

Furtwängler conducts Romantic Poems and Viennese Dances = Orchestral works by LISZT; WAGNER; BRAHMS; SMETANA; TCHAIKOVSKY; STRAUSS – Vienna Phil. Orch./ Berlin Phil. Orch. / Wilhelm Furtwängler  – Praga Digitals 

Furtwängler conducts Romantic Poems and Viennese Dances = Orchestral works by LISZT; WAGNER; BRAHMS; SMETANA; TCHAIKOVSKY; STRAUSS – Vienna Phil. Orch./ Berlin Phil. Orch. / Wilhelm Furtwängler – Praga Digitals 

Praga Digitals restores in stunning sound Wilhelm Furtwängler’s explorations into tone-poems and orchestral works that gain his sense of Romantic ardor. Furtwängler conducts Romantic Poems and Viennese Dances = LISZT: Les Preludes; WAGNER: Siegfried Idyll; BRAHMS: Variations on a Theme of Haydn, Op. 56a; SMETANA: The Moldau; TCHAIKOVSKY: Waltz and Finale from Serenade for Strings in C Major, Op. 48; STRAUSS: Pizzicato-Polka – Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/ Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (Brahms)/ Wilhelm Furtwängler – Praga Digitals PRD/DSD 350 148, 79:46 (1/26/18) [Distr. by Harmonia mundi/PIAS] ****:    Recorded 1949-1954, these symphonic poems and “incidental” pieces reflect no less of conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler’s commitment to the Romantic sensibility, here for the most part featuring his work with his “mistress,” the Vienna Philharmonic.  Liszt’s 1848 Les Preludes, after Lamartine, fell into disrepute as having become Hitler’s favorite piece of music. Despite any political association—through no fault of the composer—the work conveys a through-composed motif that soon reaches heroically martial proportions, courtesy of trumpet and tympani. The storm eventually subsides into a bucolic and idyllic repose, harp, strings, and French horn inviting the violin and selected woodwinds into the glade.  The last section builds up to its potent, assertive, former glory, ripe with sturdy […]

SCHUBERT: Symphony No. 8; DVORAK: Symphony No. 9  – Munich Philharmonic/ Sergiu Celibidache – Munich Philharmonic Archive

SCHUBERT: Symphony No. 8; DVORAK: Symphony No. 9  – Munich Philharmonic/ Sergiu Celibidache – Munich Philharmonic Archive

SCHUBERT: Symphony No. 8 in b minor, D. 759 “Unfinished”; DVORAK: Symphony No. 9 in e minor, Op. 95 “From the New World” – Munich Philharmonic/ Sergiu Celibidache – Munich Philharmonic Archive MPHIL0004, 74:12 (6/16/17) [Distr. by Warner Classics] *****: The orchestral alchemy of Sergiu Celibidache resonates by way of this first release from the Munich Philharmonic’s label.  Romanian conductor Sergiu Celibidache (1912-1996) assumed the conductorship of the Munich Philharmonic in 1979, and he remained with the ensemble until 1996. The orchestra itself has launched its own label, which means that a huge component of their archives will make accessible a powerful legacy of this conductor’s work in concert performances. The pairing of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony (30 September 1988) and Dvorak’s New World Symphony (16 June 1985) marks the initial release; and the readings instantiate Celibidache’s repute as a master of orchestral color, whose demanding—even manic—rehearsal standards brought forth readings of intensely concentrated thought and unbridled passion. Comparatively speaking, the less eccentric performance lies in the Schubert symphony, which suffers neither colossal inflation nor exaggerated, slow tempos. The focus bears on Schubert’s instrumental coloring of superb melodies, moving in gracious, dramatic character. Schubert abandons conventional sonata-form in his first movement, […]

BEETHOVEN: Coriolan Ov.; Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major “Eroica” – Vienna Philharmonic Orch./ Berlin Philharmonic Orch./ W. Furtwaengler – Pristine Audio

BEETHOVEN: Coriolan Ov.; Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major “Eroica” – Vienna Philharmonic Orch./ Berlin Philharmonic Orch./ W. Furtwaengler – Pristine Audio

BEETHOVEN: Coriolan Overture, Op. 62; Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55 “Eroica” – Vienna Philharmonic Orch. (Op. 55)/ Berlin Philharmonic Orch. (Op. 62)/ Wilhelm Furtwaengler – Pristine Audio PASC 488, 62:07 [avail. in various formats from www.pristineclassical.com] *****: Great performances in the best sound by the great Futwaengler from the World War II era. Given the extensive commentary and analytical documentation regarding these two wartime performances by Furtwaengler – the Coriolan (27-30 June 1943) and the Eroica (19-20 December 1944) – especially from John Ardoin, I can hardly shed new light upon these recordings.  What they do testify to, given their ferocity and intensity, asserts that Furtwaengler’s greatest, humanistic, creative powers emerged at precisely the wrong moment in cultural history, while surrounded by the nadir of political regimes. Perhaps it doesn’t so much surprise us that Furtwaengler meant to suppress legally any document of the occasion, when the Urania label (in 1953) brought out this performance of the Eroica. The terrific tension that suffuses every measure – even more concentrated in the Marche funebre – gives us the impression of an Atlas whose shoulders bear the weight of the world, at least its aesthetic if not its moral, character. […]

Furtwangler Conducts BEETHOVEN = Leonor Ov.; Sym. No. 7 & No. 8 – Vienna Philharmonic – Praga Digitals

Furtwangler Conducts BEETHOVEN = Leonor Ov.; Sym. No. 7 & No. 8 – Vienna Philharmonic – Praga Digitals

Praga gives us three Beethoven performances by the veteran Furtwaengler. BEETHOVEN: Leonore Overture No. 3 in C, Op. 72a; Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92; Symphony No. 8 in F Major, Op. 93 – Vienna Philharmonic Orch./ Wilhelm Furtwaengler – Praga Digitals mono-only SACD PRD/DSD 350127 (1/6/17) 79:22 [Distr. by PIAS] ****: Assembled from Vienna concert and studio performances, 1944-1954, Praga revives three extremely potent readings of Beethoven by Wilhelm Furtwaengler (1886-1954), of which the Beethoven Eighth Symphony (8 August 1954) from Salzburg eluded – as had the performance of the Second Symphony (10/3/48 from Vienna) – collectors for many years. The disc opens with a June 2, 1944 reading of the Leonore Overture No. 3, a symphonic poem of 1806 in its own right that precludes any need for stage drama. Besides possessing a grand leisure, the performance moves with regal authority in all parts, as luminous as it can be sudden and fraught with intimations of the abyss of Florestan’s unjust imprisonment.  Furtwaengler builds a terrific tension that at first culminates in the famed trumpet call that resounds with the urge to political and personal freedom, certainly an ironic commentary on the climate of the occasion […]