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Furtwaengler Conducts Brahms: Violin Concerto (Menuhin) & Double Concerto (Boskovsky, Brabec)
Johannes Brahms, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Lucerne Festival Orchestra
Furtwaengler Conducts Brahms: Violin Concerto (Menuhin) & Double Concerto (Boskovsky, Brabec)
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #1


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CD Reviews

Satisfaction-both performance and sounds
Chung-Whun Chung | Seoul, Republic of Korea | 01/16/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Wilhelm Furtwangler left six recordings of Brahms' three concertos. This CD contains two remarkable recordings. Violin Concerto (with Yehudi Menuhin and Orchester der Luzerner Festspiele(Luzern Festival Orchestra)) is very important document. Menuhin plays very confidently unlike later recordings(Especially first movement's cadenza by Kreisler and intro of last movement). And Furtwangler made huge scale in orchestral parts very naturally. Recording condition is very good than other documents left in 1949.(I reviewed Beethoven's violin concerto which recorded Kunsthaus in Luzern very kindly.). Furtwangler left other recording with Gioconda de Vito and Orchestra Sinfonica di Torino della RAI in 1952, but this recording quality is very awful. Double Concerto (with Willi Boskovsky, Emanuel Brabec and Wiener Philharmoniker) is very powerful and decisive than violin concerto(I was very surprised in first movement's violent introduction.). It was recorded live in 27 January 1952. Unlike other works played together, this concerto's performance is very passionate(They played Brahms' Haydn Variations(Testament) and first symphony(EMI), too. But these works' performance rate is not so good.). Needless to say, Furtwangler left other recording(with Wolfgang Schneiderhan, Enrico Mainardi and Orchester der Luzerner Festspiele in 1949) but its recording quality is bad than this recording(It has so fatal distortion in first movement.)."
Imaginative, Joyous and so mellifluous
Yogesh Kumar | Bangalore, India | 01/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Yehudi Menuhin's Brahms Violin Concerto with Furtwangler is a singular performance - momentous. There is grandeur and life pulsating in Furtwangler's conducting. Brahms was a composer who thought in terms of the orchestra. So one cannot simply say that this is concerto merely for the violin. The orchestral passages that Brahms writes are sometimes celestial by the sheer passion and fierceness of music, and then there are moments of pleasant melancholy, sweet repose and heartbreaking nostalgia.The breadth of emotions that Brahms brings needs a very imaginative playing. And Yehudi Menuhin is one of the most imaginative, original and musical violinists that the past century gave us. A person warm at heart, whose romantic ideal was to unite the world in bonds of love through music, he plays his music likewise - with warmth, joy and passion. The whole concerto quivers with life throughout and the phrasing is exquisite from the master. The remarkable entry of the violin in the first movement evokes an image of a joyous child running out of her house in thrill of seeing the world and the orchestra is, as though, chasing the child to hold it by hand. And then the sweet sojourn through the world...After its entry, the violin launches into a long solo journey encountering some breathtaking melodies enroute and in Yehudi's hands all melodies come out flowering.
The orchestral following of the violin is excellent and always at par with Yehudi's vivacious playing. The second movement displays sheer lyricism. I must admit here, that I've found Milstein's rendition of the third movement more refreshing than Yehudi's in this performance. Yet, one can remark that Milstein plays the third movement like a Hungarian dance, while Yehudi plays it as if it were a jaunty song. The only objection one can have to this CD is that the sound is MONO. Inspite of this, thanks to Furtwangler, the music sears and roars and one never feels the real disadvantage of the mono recording. Music defeats lack of technology in Furtwangler's hands! The Double Concerto is excellent. Right from the wild, barbaric beginning, to the very end, one feels the tension maintained. It was planned to be played by Yehudi and Pablo Casals, but things didn't materialise. Hence, Furtwangler picked up Willi Boskovsky, the then concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic and Emanuel Brabec from the cello section. The pain and poingnancy, the suffering and the reconciliation are so aptly embodied in the playing of the violin and cello respectively that once really feels that the violin is expressing its pain to the cello who is trying to console him. A CD worth a million, I must say.Addendum: Yehudi recorded the Brahms concerto with Rudolf Kempe and the sound there is stereo. The playing in that version is so very different from the playing here. That shows Sir Yehudi's philosophy of music that he never played the same piece exactly the same way he played it last time. Each time he brings a new gestalt to music. Much has been written by the pundits castigating Menuhin for his decline in technique in his middle ages and this has diverted many a keen music listeners from a master phrase-maker. It is rather sad that Menuhin's Brahms is not recommended by Penguin and Gramophone Classical CD guides. This CD convinces me that one must be beware of the critics and explore music through one's own instincts."
Joy epitomised
Yogesh Kumar | Bangalore, India | 01/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Yehudi's Brahms Violin Concerto with Wilhelm Furtwangler is joy and lyricism epitomised. The first movement is full of revelations and the soulful playing of the enchanting melodies (with which the Brhams concerto is replete), is fulfilling to the heart. After one has heard the concerto and is walking on the street, one will have such sweet melodies to choose from this concerto to hum along.
The Double Concerto is one of the finest ever commited on the Cd and is true depiction of what Brhams wanted to convey through this music - suffering and reconciliation. In the musical hands of Furtwangler, the music flows naturally."