- Orquesta: Berliner Philharmoniker
- Director de orquesta: Wilhelm Furtwängler
- Compositor: Richard Wagner, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach
- CD de audio (14 de abril de 2011)
- Número de discos: 107
- Formato: Audiolibro, Cofre, CD
- Sello: Membran
- ASIN: B004JC16LC
- Valoración media de los clientes: 5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Ver todas las opiniones (1 opinión de cliente)
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"The Legacy": Wilhelm Furtwängler conducts: The Ring of the Nibelung, St. Matthew Passion, Brandenburg Concerto, Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute, amo! Audiolibro, Cofre, CD
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Ce coffret exceptionnel de 107 disques regroupe tous les enregistrements phonographiques de l artiste ainsi que nombre de ses captations radiophoniques. Lorsqu une même oeuvre avait fait l objet de plusieurs enregistrements, la meilleure version a été retenue. Des extraits des autres figurent dans les nombreux bonus proposés. Entre son tout premier enregistrement (l Ouverture du Freischütz de Weber en 1928) jusqu à son dernier (La walkyrie de Wagner en 1954), cette édition comprend toutes les symphonies de Beethoven et de Brahms, l intégrale de l Anneau du Niebelung donnée à Rome, les plus célèbres symphonies de Schubert, Schumann, Bruckner et Mozart, des extraits des Don Giovanni, Flûte enchantée et les Noces donnés à Salzbourg, un enregistrement public des Maîtres Chanteurs à Bayreuth. Ce coffret est complété par des répétitions et des interviews, ainsi que des fameux récitals donnés à Salzbourg où Furtwängler accompagne au piano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. Enfin, le coffret comprend une analyse filmée du professeur Joachim Kaiser sur le thème : pourquoi Wilhelm Furtwängler est-il le plus célèbre des chefs d orchestre ?.
Merkel schenkt Papst das Gesamtwerk Furtwänglers --- Das ausführliche Gespräch mit Franziskus bedeute für sie auch Anerkennung für Deutschland, sagte Merkel. Franziskus könne die Menschen durch "einfache und berührende Worte" erreichen. Für sie sei es wichtig, die Grundlagen der Gesellschaft zu pflegen, und dabei spiele die katholische Kirche eine zentrale Rolle. Franziskus habe deutlich gemacht, dass Europa in der Welt gebraucht werde, sagte sie. Merkel brachte bei ihrem Besuch dem argentinischen Papst Geschenke mit, die dieser zu schätzen weiß: Die Gesamtaufnahmen 107 CDs des deutschen Dirigenten Wilhelm Furtwängler, den dieser vor allem auch für seine Beethoven- und Wagner-Einspielungen bewundert. Wenn er denn dafür die Zeit dafür finde, meinte Merkel auf Deutsch. Dazu schenkte sie ihm das Werk des deutschen Dichters Friedrich Hölderlin in drei antiquarischen Bänden von 1905. Franziskus hat Hölderlin in seinen zwei Monaten als Papst in Rom bereits mehrfach zitiert. Jorge Mario Bergoglio bedachte sie mit Vatikan-Münzen aus der Zeit der Vakanz. Merkel hatte Mitte März bereits an der feierlichen Amtseinführung des Nachfolgers von Joseph Ratzinger auf dem Stuhl Petri teilgenommen und dem neuen Papst im Petersdom die Hand geschüttelt. Bereits bei der Einführung habe sie ihn nach Deutschland eingeladen, sagte sie. (Berliner Morgenpost 22.5.2013)
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CD 1 - Bach
- Orchestral Suite No. 3 BWV 1068 - Berlin Philharmonic 10/22/1948
- Brandenburg Concerto No.Leer más ›
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Anyone who has the ears for historical recordings can find her/his answers in this box. T. Fischer has listed the contents and made some comparisons of this transfer with others. Here I will provide only a few additional remarks.
1. This box is very well-organized. The big box houses 11 small boxes, and each small box can easily fit the usual CD shelves. This design makes the individual CDs easily accessible.
2. Many of the transfers are good. For individual performances, one can often find superior transfers, like those from Gebhardt, Naxos Historical, Music & Arts, etc.. However, the transfers are often above average and in some cases superior to the ones I own.
3. The selection is good, and covers all important areas of Furtwängler's legacy. In fact, the editors in Membran claimed to capture all the works of which Furtwängler made recordings.(*) Even if you already have more than half of the box, as I do, it is still worth acquiring this box, as many releases are long out of print and/or never available (in the U.S.).
This will not be the end of your Furtwängler collection. Most likely it's the beginning, as some of his best is not to be found in this box (and the Furtwängler experience can be addictive!) However, at merely $1 per CD, there is really no reason not to get this box before it becomes unavailable.
"Well, you see what we are reduced to. We are now in a time when a S**** is considered a master. How small he was next to Furtwängler. .... To me, he [Furtwängler] was Beethoven."
-- Maria Callas, after a radio performance of Beethoven's 8th symphony conducted by renowned G.S..
(*) Indeed, the editors states that "This box thus represents the state of knowledge in 2010. If any of our valued listeners know of recordings of pieces not included in this edition, we would be grateful for details of them." See p.43 of the notes.
For example, a comparison with the recently released boxed set Wilhelm Furtwangler: The Great EMI Recordings in cases where the performances here and on that set are identical, shows that with only a few exceptions this collection has at least as good sound as the EMI, if not better. Frequently the EMI versions show overly aggressive noise reduction that has sucked the brightness out of the high end of the original recordings.
The recording of Tristan und Isolde was a pleasant surprise, beating out the EMI. And the Wagner Ring cycle performed with Italy's RAI Orchestra is pretty good -- it has significantly better dynamics than the off-brand transfer I currently own. (But note I haven't heard the Gebhart, which is supposed to be the reference edition.) However, Bach's St. Matthew Passion is just OK as it suffers from some distortion -- not quite up to another transfer I've heard. That is the most significant disappointment so far, although even there the recording is listenable.
When this set arrived, the first thing I noticed is the size. It is truly enormous. I have a few of the big EMI box sets from a few years back -- like Karajan orchestral and operatic/vocal, and the Maria Callas set. I was thinking this set of 107 CDs would be just that much bigger than these 70-88 CD sets. Boy, was I wrong. If the EMI sets were the size of smallish cats, this set is about the size of a dachshund. That's a big difference.
The reason for the gigantism is that this set is broken down into 11 smaller "wallet"-style boxes, which is actually kind of handy if you just want to take out works by Bach, Beethoven or Brahms, or the complete Ring cycle recorded with the RAI orchestra, for example. But having boxes within boxes makes for much bigger packaging overall. Not for the faint of heart. Actually, it does look pretty good.
Membran claims that this set includes "every work that Furtwängler recorded on record or 'live' for radio." In cases where more than one recording of a work was made -- Membran cites Furtwangler's 12 recordings of Beethoven's 3rd as an example -- the company says "the most beautiful, or the best, or the most exciting interpretations were sought out for this collection". I was afraid that the "most exciting" loophole might mean that Membran would include a lot of recordings it deemed "exciting", even if marred by poor sound. So far, that doesn't seem to be the case.
Membran also says that in addition to the selected full works, there are also "numerous bonus CDs and tracks presenting excerpts of alternative recordings." As far as I'm concerned, they could have left these out, but thankfully the excerpting appears to take up only a handful of CDs from the set as a whole. And generally these excerpts, rather than the full works, seem to be the tracks that have poorer sound on average.
Here is a breakdown, with some notes on the sound:
BOX 1 - Baroque and pre-Classical Period
CD 1 - Bach
- Orchestral Suite No. 3 BWV 1068 - Berlin Philharmonic 10/22/1948
- Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 BWV 1048 - Vienna Philharmonic 08/31/1950
- Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 BWV 1050 - Vienna Philharmonic 08/31/1950
SOUND: Mostly good for age, but Brandenburg No. 5 (with Furtwängler on piano) is weaker.
CD 2-4 - Bach
St. Matthew Passion - Elisabeth Grümmer, Marga Höffgen, Anton Dermota, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Otto Edelmann, - Vienna Philharmonic, Vienna Singverein, Vienna Boys' Choir 04/14-17/1954
SOUND: OK for age but there are recordings available with much less distortion. This one isn't a top performer.
- Händel - Concerto grosso in D major Op. 6 no. 5 - Berlin Philharmonic 04/22/1954
- Händel - Concerto grosso in D minor op. 6 no. 10 - Berlin Philharmonic 12/19/1949
- Gluck - Alceste: Overture - Berlin Philharmonic 10/28/1942
- Gluck - Iphigénie en Aulide: Overture - Vienna Philharmonic 03/08/1954
- JS Bach - Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 BWV 1048 (excerpts) - Berlin Philharmonic 1930
- JS Bach - Orchestral Suite No. 3 BWV 1068: Air - Berlin Philharmonic 1929
SOUND: All very good for age, but note the Gluck Alceste is from 1942 and the Bach excerpts from 1929-30.
CD 6-7 - Gluck
- Orfeo ed Euridice - Fedora Barbieri, Hilde Güden, Magda Gabory, Chorus & Orchestra of Milan Scala 04/07/1951
SOUND: Not a great transfer, high end very muted by noise control mastering but the constant hiss is still fairly strong.
BOX 2 - Beethoven
CD 8-12 - Symphonies No. 1-9
- Symphony No. 1 - Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra - 07/13/1950
- Symphony No. 2 - Vienna Philharmonic 10/03/1948
- Symphony No. 3 - Vienna Philharmonic 11/26-27/1952
- Symphony No. 4 - Vienna Philharmonic 12/01-03/1952
- Symphony No. 5 - Berlin Philharmonic 05/27/1947
- Symphony No. 6 - Vienna Philharmonic 11/24-25/1952
- Symphony No. 7 - Vienna Philharmonic 01/18-19/1950
- Symphony No. 8 - Berlin Philharmonic 04/14/1953
- Symphony No. 9 - Bayreuth Festspiel Orchestra 06/29/1951
SOUND: Symphonies 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 9 are all the same performances featured on the "Great EMI Recordings" set. In most cases I found the sound of the Membran version to be at least as good as the EMI, although I'd give a slight edge to EMI on Symphonies 2 and 7. Symphony 1 has some record needle noise and distortion, and Symphony 5 is a live recording with middling sound. Symphony 8 has fine sound.
- Egmont Overture - Berlin Philharmonic 05/27/1947
- Coriolan Overture - Vienna Philharmonic 10/29/1951
- Leonore II Overture - Berlin Philharmonic 10/18/1949
- Große Fuge Op. 133 - Vienna Philharmonic 08/30/1954
- Cavatina from String Quartet Op. 130 (Version for String Orchestra) - Berlin Philharmonic 1940
SOUND: Good all around, though a bit worse on the final track.
- Piano Concerto No. 1 - Adrian Aeschbacher, Lucerne Festival Orchestra 10/27/1947
- Piano Concerto No. 4 - Conrad Hansen, Berlin Philharmonic 12/03/1943
SOUND: Decent, muted on the high end probably due to noise control.
- Piano Concerto No. 5 - Edwin Fischer, Philharmonia Orchestra 02/19-20/1951
SOUND: Better and brighter than the identical performance on the EMI set.
- Violin Concerto - Wolfgang Schneiderhan, Berlin Philharmonic 05/18/1953
- Romance for Violin and Orchestra Nos. 1-2 - Yehudi Menuhin, Philharmonia Orchestra 04/09/1953
SOUND: Generally very good, a few incidents of noise. I like that they included the Schneiderhan performance, which of course features the Schneiderhan cadenzas.
- Fidelio - Martha Mödl, Wolfgang Windgassen, Gottlob Frick, Otto Edelmann, Vienna State Opera Choir, Vienna Philharmonic 10/13-17/1953
SOUND: About the same as on the EMI set.
- Symphony No. 5: I - Berlin Philharmonic 10/16/1926
- Egmont verture - Berlin Philharmonic 1933
- Symphony No. 3: IV - Berlin Philharmonic 06/20/1950
- Symphony No. 9: I - Berlin Philharmonic 04/19/1942
- Symphony No. 9: II - Vienna Philharmonic 05/30/1953
SOUND: The older tracks show their age, otherwise good.
- Leonore III Overture - Vienna Philharmonic 06/02/1944
- Piano Concerto No. 4: III - Pietro Scarpini piano, RAI Symphony Orchestra of Rome 01/19/1952
- Violin Concerto: III - Erich Röhn violin, Berlin Philharmonic 01/12/1944
- Fidelio: Jetzt Schätzchen, jetzt sind wir allein - Lisa della Casa, Rudolf Schock, Vienna Philharmonic 08/03/1948
- Fidelio excerpts - Kirsten Flagstad, Josef Greindl, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Vienna Philharmonic 08/05/1950
SOUND: Mixed -- great on the Violin Concerto and pretty good on the 1950 Fidelio excerpts.
BOX 3 - Brahms
- Symphony No. 1 - Berlin Philharmonic 02/10/1952
- Variations on a Theme by Haydn - Berlin Philharmonic 06/20/1950
SOUND: Good but live recordings that show their age.
- Symphony No. 2 - Berlin Philharmonic 05/07/1952
- Symphony No. 3 - Berlin Philharmonic 04/27/1954
SOUND: Good for age, no real issues.
- Symphony No. 4 - Vienna Philharmonic 08/15/1950
- Hungarian Dances Nos. 1, 3 and 10 - Vienna Philharmonic 04/04/1949
SOUND: Symphony No. 4 is OK, shows its age a bit with slight distortion and tinny sound. Hungarian Dances sound better than the same performances on EMI.
- Piano Concerto No. 2 - Edwin Fischer piano, Berlin Philharmonic 11/08/1942
SOUND: Variable, 2nd and 3rd movements pretty good for age but 1st and 4th are a bit muddier. Overall good for 1942.
- Violin Concerto - Yehudi Menuhin violin, Lucerne Festival Orchestra 09/1949
- Concerto for Violin and Cello - Willi Boskovsky violin, Emanuel Brabec cello, Vienna Philharmonic 01/1952
SOUND: Good -- same performances as on EMI set in better sound due to less aggressive noise control.
- A German Requiem - Kerstin Lindberg-Torlind, Bernhard Sönnerstedt, Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus 11/19/1948
SOUND: Some pretty heavy needle noise, and dynamics are poor. Listenable. Love the performance.
- Symphony No. 1: IV - Berlin Philharmonic 01/23/1945
- Symphony No. 2: I - Vienna Philharmonic 01/28/1945
- Variations on a Theme by Haydn - Northwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra 10/27/1951
- Violin Concerto: III - Gioconda de Vito violin, RAI Symphony Orchestra of Torino 03/11/1952
- Hungarian Dances Nos. 1 and 10 - Berlin Philharmonic 1930
SOUND: Excerpts, quality is variable. The first three sound great for their age, the last three fair to middling.
BOX 4 - Bruckner
- Symphony No. 4 "Romantic" - Vienna Philharmonic 10/19/1951
- Symphony No. 5 - Vienna Philharmonic 08/19/1951
- Symphony No. 6 (excerpts) - Berlin Philharmonic 11/13/1943
- Symphony No. 5: I - Berlin Philharmonic 10/28/1942
- Symphony No. 7 (Original Version) - Berlin Philharmonic 04/23/1951
- Symphony No. 8 - Berlin Philharmonic 03/15/1949
- Symphony No. 9 - Berlin Philharmonic 10/07/1944
SOUND: Mostly very high quality for their age, listenable and enjoyable, although Symphonies No. 7 and 9 are a bit dull and muted sounding.
BOX 5 - Viennese Classical Period
CD 34 - Haydn
- Symphony No. 88 - Vienna Philharmonic 12/05/1951
- Symphony No. 94 "Surprise" - Vienna Philharmonic 09/25/1950
SOUND: Really quite good on both symphonies, perhaps a bit muted at the high end but not bad.
CD 35 - Mozart
- Symphony No. 39 - Berlin Philharmonic 02/08/1944
- Symphony No. 40 - Vienna Philharmonic 12/07-08/1948 & 02/17/1949
SOUND: No. 39 is the same performance as on DG's Wilhelm Furtwangler - Recordings 1942-1944, Vol. 1, and the sound is about the same -- that is, a bit compromised but OK. No. 40 is the same performance as on the EMI set, and again the Membran has just a bit brighter sound.
CD 36 - Mozart
- Serenade No. 10 for 13 Wind Instruments "Gran Partita" - Wind soloists of the Vienna Philharmonic 11-12/1947
- Serenade No. 13 "A Little Night Music" - Vienna Philharmonic 04/01/1949
SOUND: Very good once again on the Gran Partita. "A Little Night Music" shows its age just a bit more -- a little tinny and muted at the high end, but not too bad.
CD 37 - Mozart
- Piano Concerto KV 466 - Yvonne Lefébure piano, Berlin Philharmonic 05/15/1954
- The Escape From The Seraglio: Overture - Berlin Philharmonic 1933
SOUND: Piano Concerto shows its age, a bit noisy and muddy but a nice performance. Overture sounds just like 1933, but nothing unusual -- noisy and poor technology.
CD 38 - Mozart
- Concerto for Two Pianos KV 365, Dagmar Bella & Paul Badura-Skoda piano, Vienna Philharmonic 02/08/1949
- Piano Concerto No. 22 - Paul Badura-Skoda piano, Vienna Philharmonic - 01/27/1952
SOUND: Both pieces a bit compromised -- record needle noise, noise control equalization. Listenable, but typical record transfers from the period.
CD 39-41 - Mozart
- Don Giovanni - Cesare Siepi, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Anton Dermota, Otto Edelmann, Vienna State Opera Choir, Vienna Philharmonic 08/06/1954
SOUND: Live recording from 1954, and considering that the sound is pretty good with nice definition of the singers, although it is not perfect with plenty of footfalls and such. This looks to be the same recording sold by EMI in this 3-CD set, and judging by the reviews there I imagine the sound is about the same, but I can't make a direct comparison.
CD 42-44 - Mozart
- Die Hochzeit des Figaro - Paul Schöffler, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Erich Kunz Maikl, Vienna State Opera Choir, Vienna Philharmonic 08/07/1953
SOUND: Live recording 1953, same as this performance. Sound is OK for age, but a little distortion in some places. My biggest problem is that this is not the original Italian, but a performance in German translation. May have been common practice at the time but I don't have to like it.
CD 45-47 - Mozart
- The Magic Flute - Josef Greindl, Anton Dermota, Paul Schöffler, Wilma Lipp, Erich Kunz, Vienna State Opera Choir, Vienna Philharmonic 08/01/1951
SOUND: This 1951 Salzburg Magic Flute derives from a recording of a radio broadcast, so this isn't great sound -- still pretty good considering its age and the recording conditions, and a great performance. Same recording as featured on this 3-CD set.
CD 48 - Schubert
- Symphony No. 8 "Unfinished" - Berlin Philharmonic 02/10/1952
- Symphony No. 9 - Berlin Philharmonic 11-12/1951
SOUND: Pretty great for their age on both recordings.
- Schubert - Rosamunde (excerpts) - Vienna Philharmonic, 01-02/1951
- Mozart - Le nozze di Figaro Overture - Berlin Philharmonic 1933
- Mozart - Don Giovanni (excerpts) - Tito Gobbi, Josef Greindl, Vienna State Opera Choir, Vienna Philharmonic 07/27/1950
- Mozart - The Magic Flute: Hm! Hm! Hm! - Walter Ludwig, Karl Schmidt-Walter, Vienna Philharmonic 07/27/1949
SOUND: Very nice on Rosamunde, less so on the rest.
BOX 6 - Romantic Period
- Mendelssohn - Violin Concerto - Yehudi Menuhin, Berlin Philharmonic 06/25-26/1952
- Mendelssohn - The Hebrides: Concert Overture - Vienna Philharmonic 08/19/1951
- Mendelssohn - A Midsummer Night's Dream: Overture - Berlin Philharmonic 09/28/1947
- Schumann - Manfred Overture - Vienna Philharmonic 01/24/1951
SOUND: Mendelssohn Concerto is the same performance as on the EMI set -- the sound here is excellent, pretty much identical to the EMI. The other tracks sound good, but not great -- a little muddy generally.
CD 51 - Schumann
- Symphony No. 1 "Spring" - Vienna Philharmonic, 10/20/1951
- Symphony No. 4 - Berlin Philharmonic 05/14/1953
SOUND: OK on No. 1, a little muddy. No. 4 sounds great for its age.
CD 52 - Schumann
- Piano Concerto Op. 54 - Walter Gieseking piano, Berlin Philharmonic 03/03/1942
- Cello Concerto - Tibor de Machula cello, Berlin Philharmonic 10/28/1942
SOUND: Both excellent for 1942.
CD 53-54 - von Weber
- Der Freischütz - Alfred Poel, Oskar Czerwenka, Elisabeth Grümmer, Rita Streich, Vienna State Opera Choir, Vienna Philharmonic 07/26/1954
SOUND: Looks to be the same performance as featured here. Quality is good for live recording in 1954.
- von Weber - Der Freischütz: Overture - Vienna Philharmonic 03/05/1954
- von Weber - Euryanthe: Overture - Berlin Philharmonic 05/04/1954
- von Weber - Oberon: Overture - Vienna Philharmonic 02/01/1950
- von Weber - Invitation To The Dance - Berlin Philharmonic 1932
- Otto Nicolai - The Merry Wives Of Windsor: Overture - Vienna Philharmonic 01/18/1951
SOUND: All excellent for their age, even the 1932 -- although it still sounds like good 1932.
- von Weber - Der Freischütz: Overture - Berlin Philharmonic 1926
- von Weber - Der Freischütz: Prelude to Act 3 - Berlin Philharmonic 1935
- Mendelssohn - Violin Concerto: III - Gioconda de Vito violin, RAI Symphony Orchestra of Torino 03/07/1952
- Schumann - Cello Concerto: Finale - Pierre Fournier cello, Berlin Philharmonic 11/13/1943
- Mendelssohn - A Midsummer Night's Dream: Overture - Berlin Philharmonic 1929
SOUND: All except the Violin Concerto excerpt are excellent for age, although many can't hide their age. The final track is mislabeled in the set as by Schumann, but it is really Mendelssohn.
BOX 7 - Late Romantic
CD 57 - Richard Strauss
- Sinfonia domestica - Berlin Philharmonic 01/12/1944
- Metamorphosen: Study for 23 Solo Strings - Berlin Philharmonic 02/10/1952
SOUND: Again, very good for age.
CD 58 - Richard Strauss
- Don Juan - Vienna Philharmonic 01/24/1951
- Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks - Vienna Philharmonic 03/02-03/1954
- Death and Transfiguration - Vienna Philharmonic 01/1950
SOUND: Very good. Till Eugenspiel and Death and Transfiguration same performances as on the EMI set with no appreciable difference in sound.
- Richard Strauss - Four Songs - Peter Anders, Berlin Philharmonic 02/15/1942
- Richard Strauss - Four Last Songs - Kirsten Flagstad, Philharmonia Orchestra 05/22/1950
- Gustav Mahler - Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Philharmonia Orchestra 06/24-25/1952
SOUND: Four Songs are outstanding for 1942. Four Last Songs are tough listening due to record needle noise and general poor transfer. The Mahler is in excellent studio sound.
CD 60 - Hindemith
- Symphonic Metamorphosis on a Theme by Carl Maria von Weber - Berlin Philharmonic 09/16/1947
- Concerto for Orchestra - Berlin Philharmonic 06/20/1950
- Symphony "Harmony Of The World" - Vienna Philharmonic 08/30/1953
SOUND: All good, none great. No real noise issues, just recordings that show their age in somewhat thin sound. The Concerto for Orchestra is the same performance as featured on the big Audite set of RIAS recordings a few years back. The Audite sounds a tiny bit better, but the difference is not great.
- Stravinsky - Symphony in Three Movements - Vienna Philharmonic 08/15/1950
- Stravinsky - Le Baiser de la fee - Berlin Philharmonic 03/18/1953
- Hans Pfitzner - Symphony in C major - Vienna Philharmonic 08/07/1949
SOUND: Sounds like noise control has muted the Stravinsky pieces a lot, but even so the fact that Furtwangler was not a towering figure among Stravinsky conductors shines through. The Pfitzner still sounds muted with noise control, but less so.
- Hans Pfitzner - Palestrina (excerpts) - Berlin Philharmonic 06/10/1949
- Gustav Mahler - Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen: Die zwei blauen Augen - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Vienna Philharmonic 08/19/1951
- Richard Strauss - Don Juan - Venezuela Symphony Orchestra 03/21/1954
- Richard Strauss - Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks - Berlin Philharmonic 1930
SOUND: A bit muted on the Pfitzner (but the work itself was a great surprise that made me want to hear the whole thing rather than just the excerpts here). The Mahler is from a live performance with clear sound -- so clear you can hear the audience just great as well. The 1954 Venezuela Strauss sound more like 1929, and the 1930 Strauss sounds its age.
BOX 8 - Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Sibelius, Liszt, Smetana
CD 63 - Tchaikovsky
- Symphony No. 4 - Vienna Philharmonic 01/08-10/1951
- Serenade For Strings Op. 48 (excerpts) - Vienna Philharmonic 01/01-02/1950
SOUND: Studio recordings from 1950-51, sound is very good, must be from tapes, definitely not an LP transfer.
- Tchaikovsky - Symphony No. 5 - RAI Orchestra of Torino - 06/06/1952
- Smetana - Die Moldau (Vltava) - Vienna Philharmonic 01/24/1951
SOUND: Mediocre on the Tchaikovsky -- a record transfer with both noise and noise control. The Smetana sounds brilliant and multidimensional, I really love this except from "Ma Vlast" with the extensive quotes from the Rheingold Vorspiel.
- Tchaikovsky - Symphony No. 6 "Pathétique" - Berlin Philharmonic 10-11/1938
- Liszt - Les Préludes - Vienna Philharmonic 03/03/1954
SOUND: The Tchaikovsky is good, but only for age -- record needle noise is not too bad. The Liszt sounds great -- studio recordings apparently transferred from tapes.
- Sibelius - Violin Concerto - Georg Kulenkampff violin, Berlin Philharmonic - 02/07/1943
- Sibelius - En Saga - Berlin Philharmonic 02/10/1943
- Dvorák - Slavonic Dance Op. 46 no. 3 - Berlin Philharmonic 1930
SOUND: Sibelius Concerto is great for wartime recording, I doubt it could get better. En Saga is practically as good. Dvorák is pretty good for heavily noise-controlled 1930 record transfer, but don't expect a lot.
BOX 9 - Wagner
- Siegfried-Idyll - Vienna Philharmonic 02/16-17/1949
- The Flying Dutchman: Overture - Vienna Philharmonic 03/30-31/1949
- Tannhäuser Overture - Vienna Philharmonic 12/02-03/1952
- Parsifal (excerpts) - Berlin Philharmonic 03/15/1938
SOUND - All pretty good for LP or 78 transfers, but with some hiss and noise. Parsifal from 1938 has weakest sound.
Lohengrin (Excerpts from Act 3) - Franz Völker, Maria Müller, Margarete Klose, Josef von Manowarda - Bayreuth Festspiel Chorus & Orchestra 07/19/1936
- Lohengrin, Prelude to Act 1 - Vienna Philharmonic 03/04-05/1954
SOUND - All but last track are 1936 recording with weakish sound and record needle noise. 1954 Prelude sounds great.
CD 69-72 - Wagner
- Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - Jaro Prohaska, Josef Greindl, Benno Arnold, Bayreuth Festspiel Chorus & Orchestra 1943
SOUND - 1943 live recording, noticeable needle noise, crowd noise, and generally a bit tinny sound. Doesn't seem like a bad transfer, just limited quality on the original.
- Wagner - Tristan und Isolde - Ludwig Suthaus, Kirsten Flagstad, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Philharmonia Orchestra 06/10-22/1952
SOUND: Great! I was very pleased that this is basically a good quality studio recording from the old EMI release. No big sound issues here, and for my money the sound is better than on EMI's own latest release, where noise reduction has muted the tone a bit too much.
CD 90-91 - Wagner - Ring excerpts - Live at Milan Scala 1950
- Das Rheingold - Ferdinand Frantz, Angelo Mattiello, Joachim Sattler, Alois Pernerstorfer, Milan Scala Orchestra 03/02-11/03/1950
- Die Walküre - Günther Treptow, Hilde Konentzni, Kirsten Flagstad, Ferdinand Frantz, Milan Scala Orchestra 03/09-16/1950
- Siegfried - Set Svanholm, Peter Markwort, Kirsten Flagstad, Milan Scala Orchestra 03/22/1950
- Götterdämmerung - Max Lorenz, Ludwig Weber, Kirsten Flagstad, Milan Scala Orchestra 04/04/1950
SOUND: Good quality live recordings with some crowd noise
CD 92 - Wagner - Die Walküre Act I
- Die Walküre - Leonie Rysanek, Ludwig Suthaus - Vienna Philharmonic - 09-10/1954
SOUND: From the 1954 studio recording, very good sound
CD 93-94 - Wagner excerpts
- Tristan und Isolde: Prelude - Berlin Philharmonic - 04/27/1954
- Tristan und Isolde: Mild und leise wie er lächelt - Erna Schlüter, Staatskapelle Berlin 10/03/1947
- Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Was duftet doch der Flieder - Rudolf Bockelmann, Vienna Philharmonic 09/05/1938
- Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - Vienna Philharmonic 04/04/1949
- Parsifal: Karfreitagszauber - Berlin Philharmonic 04/25/1951
- Die Walküre: Du bist der Lenz, nach dem ich verlangte - Maria Müller, Vienna State Opera Orchestra 02/13-17/1936
- Die Walküre - Rudolf Bockelmann, Covent Garden Opera Orchestra 1937
- Götterdämmerung: Trauermarsch - Berlin Philharmonic 1933
- Götterdämmerung: Starke Scheite schichtet mir dort - Kirsten Flagstad, Philharmonia Orchestra 07/23/1952
- Götterdämmerung: Siegfrieds Rheinfahrt - Rome Symphony Orchestra - 05/31/1952
SOUND: Variable but mostly quite good. Some typical issues with sound from 1930s recordings.
BOX 10 - Wagner - The Ring of the Nibelungen
CD 73-74 - Wagner - Der Ring des Nibelungen: Das Rheingold - RAI Symphony Orchestra 10/26/1953
CD 75-77 - Wagner - Der Ring des Nibelungen: Die Walküre - RAI Symphony Orchestra 10/29-11/06/1953
CD 78-81 - Wagner - Der Ring des Nibelungen: Siegfried - RAI Symphony Orchestra 11/1953
CD 82-85 - Wagner - Der Ring des Nibelungen: Götterdämmerung - RAI Symphony Orchestra 09/1953
SOUND: Really pretty good, and better dynamics than my current edition of this performance, which is an off-brand release. I haven't heard the Gebhart edition of the RAI Ring Cycle, which is supposed to be the reference release, but this one is a fairly good transfer.
BOX 11 - Other
- Arthur Honegger - Mouvement symphonique No. 3 - Berlin Philharmonic 02/10/1952
- Fortner - Concerto for Violin and Large Chamber Orchestra - Gerhard Taschner violin, Berlin Philharmonic 12/18/1949
- Boris Blacher - Concertante Music for Orchestra - Berlin Philharmonic 04/27/1954
SOUND: Excellent on the Honegger, only slightly weaker on the Fortner and Blacher, which are featured in the same performances and about the same quality on the Audite set mentioned above.
CD 96-97 - Hector Berlioz
- The Damnation Of Faust - Frans Vroons, Hans Hotter, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Lucerne Festival Orchestra and Chorus 08/26/1950
SOUND: Three strikes -- tinny, noisy and sung in German translation. But I doubt anyone is buying a Furtwängler box for the Berlioz.
- Franck - Symphony in D minor - Vienna Philharmonic 1954
- Ravel - Daphnis et Chloé: Suite Nr. 2 - Berlin Philharmonic 03/21/1944
SOUND: Great on the Franck and great for live wartime on the Ravel.
- Cherubini - Anacreon: Overture - Vienna Philharmonic 01/11/1951
- Johann Strauss II - Emperor Waltz, Pizzicato-Polka - Vienna Philharmonic 01/24/1950
- Johann Strauss II - Die Fledermaus: Overture - Berlin Philharmonic 1937
- Rossini - The Thieving Magpie: Overture - Berlin Philharmonic 1930
- Rossini - The Barber of Seville: Overture - Berlin Philharmonic 1935
SOUND: The Cherubini is OK, but not great -- the same performance sounds a bit better on the EMI set. Strauss waltzes sound great. Starting with the Fledermaus overture we're in the 1930s -- pretty good to excellent for age, but still 1930s.
- Ernst Pepping - Symphony No.2 - Berlin Philharmonic 1943
- Heinz Schubert - Hymnic Concerto for Soloists, Organ and Orchestra - Berlin Philharmonic 1942
SOUND: Great for wartime on the Pepping and pretty good on the Heinz Schubert -- which I found to be a very interesting piece.
- Furtwängler - Symphony No.2 - Berlin Philharmonic 12/1951
- Bartok - Violin Concerto No.2 - Yehudi Menuhin violin, Philharmonia Orchestra 09/12-13/1953
SOUND: The Furtwängler sounds like a decent studio recording, good but not outstanding for 1951. The Bartok has seen many releases by EMI. It sounds fine here, but the version on the latest EMI release sounds a bit better.
- Furtwangler - Symphonic Concerto for Piano and Orchestra - Edwin Fischer piano, Berlin Philharmonic 01/19/1939
SOUND: Noise control has done an excellent job in both controlling the noise and sucking all brightness out of the recording. Not at all bad for 1939, but definitely noise control run amok.
- Verdi - Othello - Ramon Vinay, Dragicia Martinis, Paul Schoffler, Vienna State Opera Choir, Vienna Philharmonic 08/07/1951
SOUND: Not bad, but a live recording from 1951 where the microphones picked up the entire stage and some of the hall too. Typical early 1950s live opera recording in that sense. At least this one is in Italian.
The Salzburg Song Recital
- Hugo Wolf - Morike-Lieder, Goethe-Lieder, Italienisches Liederbuch (excerpts), Spanisches Liederbuch (excerpts), Sechs alte Weisen (excerpt), Sechs Lieder fur eine Frauenstimme (excerpt), Eichendorff-Lieder - Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Wilhelm Furtwangler piano 08/12/1953
SOUND: Schwarzkopf is microphoned pretty well, but the piano less so. I heard just a little distortion in louder passages. Still not too many sound issues.
Excerpts from rehearsals, speeches and interviews
SOUND: Mixed. Will appeal to a minority, but interesting. Apart from the musical parts of the rehearsals -- the first four of 11 tracks on the disc -- you'll need to understand German.
- Electronic booklets: biographical and track listing. (Note: The biographical booklet is included in paper form too, but no complete track listing.)
- Membran catalogs/advertisements
- Kaisers Klassik-Kunde, Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin 2010
This is a short video clip, 8:20 in length, in which a Süddeutsche Zeitung commentator explains "why Wilhelm Furtwängler was the greatest conductor of all time." It is basically a video blog entry from a German newspaper web site burned onto a DVD. Decent comments, especially on the importance for the German people of Furtwängler during the war years.
It may be supposed that a set of this magnitude includes every available recording by this great conductor, but this is far from being the case. Instead, the compilers have sought the best Furtwangler versions of each work, with excerpts from some of the alternative recordings. This is a reasonable compromise, but it does mean that the Furtwangler completist must seek out another 9 versions of Beethoven's Eroica Symphony and much more.
Highlights are too numerous to list in full, but the Mozart and Wagner operas rank highly, as do the Tchaikovsky and Beethoven Symphonies. Hearing the conductors own symphonies is of more than passing interest.
Blemishes that should have been noticed during the digital transfers include an abrupt change in sound level during the slow movement of Tchaikovsky's 5th symphony and the clipping of the first note of the 3rd movement of Mozart's Symphony no. 40 - a fault that is also to be found on the EMI and Naxos transfers, but not on the original 78 rpm or LP versions. One must suppose that EMI licensed their CD transfer to other companies.
A surprising inclusion is Strauss's Don Juan with the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra, recorded on 21st March 1954. The sound is poor when compared with another version apparently recorded on the previous day with the Caracas Symphony Orchestra.
But these minor niggles should not detract from a quite incredible bargain. Those like me, who like to track down different Furtwangler performances can still have fun, but most people will be more than happy with this.
Yehudi Menuhin, Dec 7, 1954
On November 30, 1954 Wilhelm Furtwängler, the greatest conductor who has given Germany, died at a clinic in Baden-Baden. Tired, sick, worried by an incipient deafness, stopped fighting. Fifty years later, we have avaliable a great catalog of his work, that despite the changes in the way of making music, still remain as object of veneration by fans who never saw him run, were not even born when he died.
"Once the rubato has been calculated scientifically, it remains true: the pursuit of music is not the same as it strives to achieve. Trying is what counts. For example, take the sculptures of Michelangelo, some are perfect, there are only other pieces. And yet, the latter are for me the first affected me most, because in them the desire to feel the seal, the progress of a dream. That's what arouses my passion set curdle while, playing at the right time to conceive a piece of music in all its superior consistency, in other words, give the movements of the soul a new architectural balance"..."I am incessantly told that increasing the number of rehearsals improves one's performances. This is totally wrong. The unforessen and the unexpected must be given their right wieght. There remains always the unforessen, what is not pondered, the sudden impulse that responding to a hidden desire, escapes the control of will power..." (Wilhelm Fürtwangler)
The launch of this collection was - but a long awaited dream - a historical imperative, a wise decision.
Wilhelm Furtwängler was for many, the wiser, talented, indomitable director whose determination and a degree of commitment that can hardly be found in any other director throughout history.
Every time Furtwängler directed a work had a sense of structural architecture, of iron strength, and absolute intellectual honesty perceivable delivery.
Of course, Beethoven, Bruckner, Wagner, Schubert and Mozart were the composers who WF focuses its attention more intensely.
Dear reader, the greatness of this unique approach resides in the fact transcended the music itself, giving the music a higher level of interpretation, the result of his deep erudition and artistic inheritance both genetic and acquired.
This is an unique and unrepeatable opportunity for you to have the entire collection of his outstanding career picked up by the magic of acetate.
Who will conduct a Beethoven symphony after him? (Karl Bohm)