Notes and Editorial Reviews
Symphony No. 1. Variations on a Theme of Haydn
Wilhelm Furtwängler, cond; N German RO of Hamburg
TAHRA FURT 2010 (Monaural SACD: 68:44) Live: Musikhalle, Hamburg 10/27/1951
This is a new mastering in SACD form of one of the very greatest of Furtwängler’s recorded performances. I have reviewed it in
18:5 and again in 20:3. The Tahra transfer has always been magnificent (the original Tahra release was FURT 1001). It is massive but
perfectly calibrated Brahms, and I won’t waste space repeating what I said in more detail earlier.
The question here is whether the new Tahra remastering is a meaningful improvement over the old. It depends, I suppose, on your definition of “meaningful.” Listening on an SACD player, but with two channels (after all, the original is monaural), I hear a very slight improvement in clarity and detail. But this has always been one of the best sonic representations of Furtwängler’s art, mitigated only by some graininess in the strings, which is still present, and I am not sure that I would recommend replacing the older Tahra with this new one.
However, if you don’t have this performance, this does give you an opportunity to add it to your collection. If I had to choose a single recorded performance to convince a listener that Wilhelm Furtwängler was one of the greatest conductors to make records, I would most likely choose this one, in part because of the strength of the performance and in part because of its superior sound quality when compared to other Furtwängler recordings. Both works come from the same concert, and together they should completely overwhelm anyone who cares about music.
FANFARE: Henry Fogel
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 1 in C minor, Op. 68 by Johannes Brahms
North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1855-1876; Austria
Date of Recording: 10/27/1951
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