Search - Johannes Brahms, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra :: Brahms: Symphony 1-4 / Piano Concerto No. 2 / Violin Concerto / Haydn Variations

Brahms: Symphony 1-4 / Piano Concerto No. 2 / Violin Concerto / Haydn Variations
Johannes Brahms, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Brahms: Symphony 1-4 / Piano Concerto No. 2 / Violin Concerto / Haydn Variations
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #3
  •  Track Listings (4) - Disc #4


      

CD Details

 

CD Reviews

From the review in American Record Guide, with John Ardoin t
Record Collector | Mons, Belgium | 02/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Music & Arts 804 has the following performances: Symphony No. 1--Lucerne Festival Orchestra, 27 August 1947; Symphony No. 2--Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, 28 January 1945; Symphony No. 3--Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, 14 May 1954; Symphony No. 4--BPO, 15 December 1943; Piano Concerto 2 with Edwin Fischer--BPO, 8 November 1942; Violin Concerto with Gioconda De Vito--Turin Radio Orchestra, 7 March 1952; Haydn Variations--VPO, 18 December 1943.

If we had no other performance of the Brahms First than the one from Lucerne, it would be reckoned a compelling achievement. As always with Furtwaengler at his most assured, one senses from the outset, with the relentless hammer-blows in the tympani, that an act of creation rather than re-creation is taking place, that notes & phrases are coming together to form an evolving, living organism. The Symphony becomes what Sir Donald Tovey so graphically suggests, 'a gigantic procession of ghostly figures.' Furtwaengler makes many important digressions of tempo that become striking facts within the work as a whole & that are crucial elements of his carefully planned scheme of tension and release. He ignores the exposition repeat that stifles the music's drama. The Andante is all serenity, with a plush, glowing string sonority. A gentler, warming breeze blows through the Allegretto (the single repeat is observed in all Furtwaengler's performances), & the Finale follows closely what was heard in the 1945 version from Berlin.

The Second Symphony is lyrical and expansive, yet full of strength and tenderness. Despite the undeniable force of the 1952 performance given in Munich & available on the EMI set, this 1945 Vienna concert remains Furtwaengler's most gripping performance of the work.

The Third Symphony recorded while the Berliners were on tour in Turin lies somewhere between the uneven 1949 performance & the Third recorded in Berlin in 1954. Unlike the 1949 performance, here Furtwaengler does not take the first-movement repeat.

The Fourth Symphony is unforgettably rugged. Beginning with those great sighs in the violins, there is a sense of the infinite, with a deeply moving slow movement. The third movement echoes Die Meistersinger in mood & key, & Furtwaengler fills it with the sort of explosive jubilation he brought to that opera. The Finale is fast, energetic, & above all passionate. Its elation carries us through the movement, binding it together, peaking in a coda of Dionysian frenzy.

Fischer's performance of the concerto, though technically less clean, is miles ahead of Aeschbacher's in spirit and insight. This is a many-faceted account of a massive score. De Vito uses the Kreisler cadenza in the Violin Concerto.
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