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Brahms: Symphonies, Etc / Wilhelm Furtwangler


Release Date: 09/19/1995 
Label:  Emi Classics Références Catalog #: 65513   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Johannes BrahmsLudwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic OrchestraBerlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Mono 
Imported from : UNITED KINGDOM   
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics/Furtwängler. EMI 65513.

Brahms and Beethoven were the center of Furtwängler’s universe, the composers whose music he most closely identified with, and whose art gave him the greatest sense of fulfillment and renewal. While perhaps not the finest of the conductor’s outings ever captured, the postwar realizations collected here – of the four Brahms symphonies, the Variations on a Theme by Haydn, and the three Hungarian Dances that Brahms himself orchestrated, together with two Beethoven overtures – show Furtwängler in an exemplary light, as an insightful interpreter and a compelling, spontaneous musical presence. Those qualities come across with particular point in the Brahms
Read more symphonies, which are all taken from live performances (No. 1 is played by the Vienna Philharmonic, Nos. 2-4 by the Berlin Philharmonic), with noticeable audience noise and such problems as the occasional piquant tuning of chords, but also with plenty of the excitable, impassioned, and highly profiled music making for which Furtwängler was famous.

These are turbulent and expressive readings, not autumnal and reserved, and certainly not understated. In fact, the Third (from 1949) emerges, if anything, somewhat overstated in this, the earliest of Furtwängler’s four recordings of the piece: one can feel the orchestra straining at the bit at the beginning of the first movement, and again at the exposition repeat, and the performance as a whole seems too episodic, too hurried, and lacking in grip. It’s a different story with the rest of the canon. The Fourth (recorded in 1948) receives a powerful reading, very firm in conception, while the Second (from 1952) is quite intense and appealing, notable for the soaring lyricism Furtwängler imparts to the Adagio and the giddiness he brings to the finale. Furtwängler performed and recorded the First more than any other Brahms symphony, and he excited a particularly strong response in the Vienna Philharmonic when he led this performance in 1952. Listening to it, or any of the others in this set, one realizes rather quickly what’s so remarkable about this conductor: he gave performances that were experiences of the music, not mere reconstructions of it. Nobody makes music like this any more. – Ted Libbey, author of The NPR Guide to Building a Classical CD Collection. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1 in C minor, Op. 68 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855-1876; Austria 
Date of Recording: 1949 
2.
Symphony no 2 in D major, Op. 73 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; Austria 
3.
Symphony no 3 in F major, Op. 90 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; Austria 
4.
Symphony no 4 in E minor, Op. 98 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884-1885; Austria 
5.
Hungarian Dances (21) for Orchestra, WoO 1: no 1 in G minor by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Austria 
6.
Hungarian Dances (21) for Orchestra, WoO 1: no 3 in F major by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Austria 
7.
Hungarian Dances (21) for Orchestra, WoO 1: no 10 in F major by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Austria 
8.
Variations in B flat major on a theme by Haydn, Op. 56a "St. Anthony" by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873; Austria 
9.
Coriolan Overture in C minor, Op. 62 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807; Vienna, Austria 
10.
Leonore Overture no 2 in C major, Op. 72 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1805; Vienna, Austria 

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