IV. Presto- Allegro Assai - Allegro Assai Vivace - Alla Marcia - Andante Maestoso - Allegro Energico - Prestissimo
Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique was Pierre Monteux's calling card (he recorded it no fewer than five times). This important CD restores his first--and favorite--recording of the piece, from 1930, in decent sonics that ha... more »ve notable presence and inner detail. The latter was a trait associated with Monteux, a violist before mounting the podium. In his hands, the piece blends burning intesity with poetic fantasy in ideal proportions. The opening "Reveries," too often just a slow introduction, here is charged with dreamworld fantasy. The slowly building "Waltz" and "Witches Sabbath" codas have a cumulative impact also rarely heard these days. Throughout, you feel an identification between performers and composers unique in early studio recordings. --Dan Davis« less
Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique was Pierre Monteux's calling card (he recorded it no fewer than five times). This important CD restores his first--and favorite--recording of the piece, from 1930, in decent sonics that have notable presence and inner detail. The latter was a trait associated with Monteux, a violist before mounting the podium. In his hands, the piece blends burning intesity with poetic fantasy in ideal proportions. The opening "Reveries," too often just a slow introduction, here is charged with dreamworld fantasy. The slowly building "Waltz" and "Witches Sabbath" codas have a cumulative impact also rarely heard these days. Throughout, you feel an identification between performers and composers unique in early studio recordings. --Dan Davis
A taste of the sublime!
Eddy Oquendo | New York, New York USA | 11/27/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's exceptionally rare that one comes across a truly mind-boggling rendition of an extremely popular classical piece; so many recordings have been made that virtually every creative avenue has been explored. Yet, that's exactly what you get with this CD, a performance for the ages, an interpretive tour de force.Wilhelm Furtwangler was known as a great conductor of Beethoven's symphonic repertoire, indeed, he was a musician with a powerful gift for the compositions of the German masters. The maestro recorded the ninth symphony many times, in the process, he gave us two of the greatest interpretations of that astounding work, this being the more inspired of the duo.Upon listening to this CD for the first time, you'll immediately notice that the sound quality is horrendous; hiss, bad microphone placement, and sounds from the audience that rival that of the orchestra. But stick with it! In time, the sonic inferiorities of the recording melt away to unveil a performance of ethereal inspiration. You will not believe the supercharged finale! Every time that I listen to this performance, I'm left in awe; it's THAT unique!I own nine recordings of this most well-known opus, among them are some really exceptional efforts, but this Music & Arts CD is the most cherished. Fritz Reiner's version of the symphony is, rightfully, a classic, Solti's 1972 performance is electric, Muti's rendition is excellent, but Furtwangler's 1942 effort stands at the summit, outdoing even his 1951 offering.A neophyte should probably begin with Reiner's beautiful account, and perhaps listen to Solti's version next. I would NOT recommend this CD to a beginning collector; the sound is too primitive and the performance is too atypical. But those familiar with Beethoven's final symphony will consider it the proverbial cream of the crop. I pull this puppy out like I would a bottle of my finest Brandy, only when I want a taste of the sublime."
Nothing Short of Miraculous!
D. J. Zabriskie | Park Ridge, NJ USA | 12/26/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is really very little I can add to the other reviews of this remarkable performance. This is, flat out, the most
AMAZING 9th you will ever hear! Who ever would have thought that
ANGER and OUTRAGE were appropriate emotions for approaching the
9th? Furtwangler not only pulls it off, but does so in a way that is so utterly convincing, that all other recordings of the
9th pale in comparison... in spite of the limitations of the
1942 technology! This is Furtwangler's artistic protest of Hitler and Naziism, and it is full of strength, muscle and
tenderness. His famous liberal use of rubato actually succeeds
in making the music "breathe" more fully. In spite of the atrocities going on around him, Furtwangler gives us a 9th which
is full of humanity -- albeit, a dark response to our darker
impulses. Yet, if the "Ode to Joy" here is full of anger, it is
equally full of sunlight, but it is sunlight focussed like a laser down a mineshaft.
There is no other word for this performance than ASTOUNDING. It
will reduce you to repeated, inarticulate utterances like "Oh wow!" and leave you limp... but also exhilirated, too."
lbangs | from Tulsa, Oklahoma | 09/02/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After listening to this recording, I sat in silence and shambles. The after-shocks of this music devastates me, leaving me much like the remains of a shack after a tornado rips through. This CD simply stands alone. I know nothing else with which to compare it. If you are even considering buying a ninth, or even your first classical CD, please try this. You will have to listen to it ten times to gain any sort of grip on it, and it will be 10 or so of the most rewarding hours of your life. Ruthless and furious. A true masterpiece."
lbangs | 03/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As the other reviews say, this performance of Beethoven's 9th is unlike any other that you will ever hear. Make no mistake, it is a great performance, but somehow that is one of the least important aspects of this recording. Above all, this recording is a time machine that takes you to a very distinct place and time: Berlin, March 1942. You need only listen to a few minutes of this recording before you can feel the tension and horror of a wartime Berlin that knows Nazi armies have been pushed onto the defensive on the Eastern front, and that knows of the deportations of German Jews to "the East" and of the mass executions of Russian Jews by SS killing squads in Russia. This is gut-wrenching music, brim-full of what I hear as outrage, horror, and sadness. I find the boxy sound actually *adds* to the power of the performance: this is music from the abyss, a sometimes faint echo of a nightmare, all the more terrifying for the moments when the recording crumbles before the almost hysterical fury of the music. If Beethoven had known of Auschwitz, this is how he would have wanted the Ninth to have been played."
Probably the greatest Ninth ever
lbangs | 05/03/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The recording is terrible: in first movement it sounds as if the microphone is directly above the timpani, while there is a blatant shift of perspective for a more distant rendering of the remaining three movements. But who cares? This is the most sensational Ninth ever made, performed in the middle of a bombed-out Berlin. It is as if Furtwangler is using Beethoven's humanity as a cry of despair against the destruction of Germany by Hitler.Apparently Tahra's version of this performance on has better sound, but I haven't heard it."