Wilhelm Furtwangler - The Great EMI Recordings

Release Date: 5/17/2011
Catalog Number: 5099990787829
Number of Discs: 21

Physical Format:

CD
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Notes and Editorial Reviews
Wilhelm Gustav Heinrich Ernst Martin Furtwängler, to give him his full name, was born in Berlin on 25 January 1886. His father was an archaeologist and his mother a painter. Both were cultured and enlightened people who brought up their eldest son in the beliefs of German humanism. When the young Wilhelm showed early signs of exceptional talent they decided to provide him with a private education based around the Arts. Although his artistic interests were wide it was music that eventually became his overriding passion and he started learning the piano at an early age, composing his first music at the age of seven. The idea of becoming a composer was his prime ambition, despite the failure of his early attempts at composition.

Several factors led to Furtwängler taking up the baton: the wish to conduct his own works; his increasing interest in the art of interpretation and the need to make a living, following the death of his father in 1907. His first concert as conductor was in Munich in 1906 with a programme of works by Bruckner and Beethoven as well as one of his own pieces. His rise to fame as a conductor was quite rapid and, after working in Breslau, Zurich and at the court opera in Munich, he gained his first big appointments at the Lübeck Opera (1911-1915) and in Mannheim (1915-1920). In 1920 he succeeded Richard Strauss as conductor of the Berlin Staatsoper concerts and in 1922, after the death of Nikisch, he took over the conductorship of the Leipzig Gewandhaus and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras. It was at this time that he also began a long and successful relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. But it was with the Berlin Philharmonic that Furtwängler was to remain for the rest of his career.

Throughout the 1920s and '30s Furtwängler and the Berlin Philharmonic went on a series of European tours to Scandinavia, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary and England. In 1937 Furtwängler conducted at Covent Garden as part of the Coronation celebrations and, in 1938, he was back again to conduct two cycles of the Ring. At this time, too, Furtwängler found himself inextricably involved in the politics of Germany. His liberal outlook meant that it was difficult for him to see Nazism as a serious threat to his country and he dissociated himself from it and opposed it whenever he could. He refused to give the Nazi salute, even in the presence of Adolf Hitler, and used his influence to save the lives of as many Jewish musicians as he could. In spite of this and because of his rather naive political outlook many outside Germany saw his continued residence and musical activity as a kind of collaboration. The final ten years of Furtwängler's life were dogged by controversy, not helped by the American Military Government in post-war Germany delaying his denazification process until 1947, when he was once again allowed to take up conducting.

Success in Europe quickly followed and he appeared with the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras as well as local orchestras in London, Stockholm, Edinburgh, Lucerne, Milan, Salzburg and Paris. It is from this time that the superb recordings in this 21-CD set were made. Here is a special selection of some of EMI's celebrated Furtwängler recordings, some recorded live at concerts and some made in the studios. The combination of Furtwängler and EMI brought about one of the greatest collaborations in recording history and the Company is proud to be able to contribute this set to the 125th birthday celebrations of a great conductor.

The last CD in this this set is titled:
REMEMBERING FURTWANGLER

Musicians who performed with Wilhelm Furtwangler and others who saw him recall how and why he exerted a magnetic and hypnotic effect on them and his audiences, illustrated by EMI Classics recordings of Furtwangler in rehearsal and performance

Soloists:
Pianist Aldo Ciccolini, Baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Violinist Yehudi Menuhin

Conductors:
Peter Gellhorn, Berthold Goldschmidt

Players who performed with Furtwangler in the Philharmonia Orchestra:
Hugh Bean, John Meek, Hugh Maguire, Harold Nash, Gervase de Peyer

Others:
Furtwangler's widow, Elisabeth Connoiseur concert-goer Bernard Dennis Browne.
Works on This Recording
1. Symphony no 1 in C major, Op. 21 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical
Written: 1800 ; Vienna, Austria
2. Symphony no 2 in D major, Op. 36 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical
Written: 1801-1802 ; Vienna, Austria
3. Symphony no 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 "Eroica" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical
Written: 1803 ; Vienna, Austria
4. Symphony no 4 in B flat major, Op. 60 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical
Written: 1806 ; Vienna, Austria
5. Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical
Written: 1807-1808 ; Vienna, Austria
6. Symphony no 6 in F major, Op. 68 "Pastoral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble: Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Written: 1808 ;
7. Symphony no 7 in A major, Op. 92 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical
Written: 1811-1812 ; Vienna, Austria
8. Symphony no 8 in F major, Op. 93 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble: Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical
Written: 1812 ; Vienna, Austria
9. Symphony no 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Otto Edelmann (Bass), Hans Hopf (Tenor), Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (Soprano), Elisabeth Höngen (Alto)
Period: Classical
Written: 1822-1824 ; Vienna, Austria
10. Concerto for Piano no 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 "Emperor" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical
Written: 1809 ; Vienna, Austria
11. Concerto for Violin no 2, Sz 112 by Béla Bartók
Performer: Yehudi Menuhin (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1937-1938 ; Budapest, Hungary
12. Concerto for Violin in E minor, Op. 64 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer: Yehudi Menuhin (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1844 ; Germany
13. Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 61 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Yehudi Menuhin (Violin)
Period: Classical
Written: 1806 ; Vienna, Austria
14. Fidelio, Op. 72 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Sena Jurinac (Soprano), Martha Mödl (Soprano), Alfred Poell (Baritone), Franz Bierbach (Bass), Otto Edelmann (Bass), Gottlob Frick (Bass), Alwin Hendricks (Tenor), Wolfgang Windgassen (Tenor)
Period: Classical
Written: 1804/1814 ; Vienna, Austria
15. Symphony no 1 in C minor, Op. 68 by Johannes Brahms
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1855-1876 ; Austria
16. Symphony no 2 in D major, Op. 73 by Johannes Brahms
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1877 ; Austria
17. Symphony no 3 in F major, Op. 90 by Johannes Brahms
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1883 ; Austria
18. Symphony no 4 in E minor, Op. 98 by Johannes Brahms
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1884-1885 ; Austria
19. Hungarian Dances (21) for Orchestra, WoO 1: no 1 in G minor by Johannes Brahms
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1868 ; Austria
20. Hungarian Dances (21) for Orchestra, WoO 1: no 3 in F major by Johannes Brahms
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1868 ; Austria
21. Hungarian Dances (21) for Orchestra, WoO 1: no 10 in F major by Johannes Brahms
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1868 ; Austria
22. Variations in B flat major on a theme by Haydn, Op. 56a "St. Anthony" by Johannes Brahms
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1873 ; Austria
23. Coriolan Overture in C minor, Op. 62 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical
Written: 1807 ; Vienna, Austria
24. Leonore Overture no 2 in C major, Op. 72 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical
Written: 1805 ; Vienna, Austria
25. Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 77 by Johannes Brahms
Performer: Edgar Schann (Oboe), Yehudi Menuhin (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Lucerne Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1878 ; Austria
26. Concerto for Violin and Cello in A minor, Op. 102 "Double" by Johannes Brahms
Performer: Willi Boskovsky (Violin), Emanuel Brabec (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1887 ; Austria
27. Symphony no 6 in B minor, Op. 74 "Pathétique" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Orchestra/Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1893 ; Russia
28. Symphony no 8 in B minor, D 759 "Unfinished" by Franz Schubert
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1822 ; Vienna, Austria
29. Don Juan, Op. 20 by Richard Strauss
Orchestra/Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1888-1889 ; Germany
30. Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28 by Richard Strauss
Orchestra/Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1894-1895 ; Germany
31. Tod und Verklärung, Op. 24 by Richard Strauss
Orchestra/Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1888-1889 ; Germany
32. Symphony no 40 in G minor, K 550 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical
Written: 1788 ; Vienna, Austria
33. Symphonic Concerto for Piano in B minor by Wilhelm Furtwängler
Performer: Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1924-1936 ; Germany
34. Tristan und Isolde by Richard Wagner
Performer: Josef Greindl (Bass), Ludwig Suthaus (Tenor), Rudolf Schock (Tenor), Edgar Evans (Tenor), Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Baritone), Kirsten Flagstad (Soprano), Blanche Thebom (Mezzo Soprano), Rhydderch Davies (Bass)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1857-1859 ; Germany
35. Symphony no 94 in G major, H 1 no 94 "Surprise" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical
Written: 1791 ; London, England
36. Anacréon: Overture by Luigi Cherubini
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical
Written: 1803 ; France
37. Les préludes, S 97 by Franz Liszt
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1848/1854 ; Weimar, Germany
38. Concerto for Violin no 2, Sz 112 by Béla Bartók
Performer: Yehudi Menuhin (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1937-1938 ; Budapest, Hungary
39. Symphony no 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (Soprano), Otto Edelmann (Bass), Hans Hopf (Tenor), Elisabeth Höngen (Alto)
Period: Classical
Written: 1822-1824 ; Vienna, Austria
40. Symphony no 8 in F major, Op. 93 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble: Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical
Written: 1812 ; Vienna, Austria
41. Symphony no 7 in A major, Op. 92 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical
Written: 1811-1812 ; Vienna, Austria
42. Symphony no 1 in C major, Op. 21 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical
Written: 1800 ; Vienna, Austria
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