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Furtwangler Conducts Bruckner Symphony No. VIII In C Minor

Wilhelm Furtwängler Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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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 ... Read more in Amazon's Wilhelm Furtwängler Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (4 Oct 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Musical Concepts Group
  • ASIN: B0040T7COE
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 104,726 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Symphony No. 8 - Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Product Description

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra - Wilhelm Furtwängler, direction

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Bruckner by Furtwängler. 18 July 2013
Format:Audio CD
For myself, I'll stick with Furtwängler as the supreme historical interpreter of this masterpiece.

REFERENCE RECORDINGS: This one, Giulini (DG), Wand 1987/NDR (RCA), Karajan/Vienna (DG), Böhm (Palexa) and Suitner (Berlin Classics).

No modern conductor extracts the kind of transcendent reading that Furtwängler does.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
...But here we have a fantastic rendition of the massive 8th - significantly better than the much praised 9th captured by the Berliner Rundfunks a week earlier.
What is beautiful here is the quasi sense of improvisation with which Furt goes into this music. Every bar, every note seems a discovery, and while the whole architecture of the piece is always for all to hear, the sense of detail is properly amazing, and Furt gives some magnificent colors to the symphony. The slow movement in particular is really the peak of this beautiful performance: it flows with sensitivity and an unbearable sadness. The Finale is just the natural conclusion of this slow movement - knowing that Furt had "prepared" us for this peak with extremely dynamic and articulated 1st and 2nd movements.
There are times when Furt can get on my nerves in Bruckner (5th, 1942, for me a hijacking and that 9th of 1944, beautiful but overdramatic at times). But he can also be magical (2nd movement of the 7th, 1942), surprisingly enthusiastic (incomplete 6th, 1943) or simply gobsmacking (this 8th from 1944).
This is NOT my ideal view of Bruckner (I like him more religious, less spectacular and overall more "graduated" and structured - Jochum 1949 on DG is a reference IMHO) but this Furtwängler's 8th is phenomenal music-making.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revelatory restoration of arguably the greatest surviving wartime Furtwängler performance 2 July 2011
By Steve Nash - Published on
Format:Audio CD
Wilhelm Furtwängler made only one commercial recording of Bruckner (the Adagio from Symphony VII with the Berlin Philharmonic for Telefunken), but numerous archival recordings and airchecks have survived, including three complete performances of Symphony VIII. Two performances, with the Berlin Philharmonic, date from after WWII. The present performance, with the Vienna Philharmonic, is for my money even better. It has the hallmarks of Furtwängler's interpretive approach - a long architectural view of the work incorporating nuanced tempo shifts and phrasing - but in this case with blazing dramatic intensity.

And now, thanks to this revelatory transfer from Musical Concepts, it sounds even better than either of the later Berlin performances. The present transfer has greater body and bloom than any transfer I have heard of this performance - the strings sound for once like the 1940s Vienna Philharmonic strings, the dynamics are often stunning, the loudest passages which sounded overloaded on EMI's and Deutsche Grammophon's various CD releases sound clean, and the noise level has been reined in without sucking out the distinctive acoustics of the Musikverein.

It should be added that Pristine Classics recently released their own restoration of the same performance, and while it is also a fine achievement it is disappointing in some ways: strings sound harsh in the upper area of the dynamic range, audience noises have been scrubbed, which takes something away from the "you are there" atmosphere of a live performance (only a couple of obtrusive coughs have been excised from the Musical Concepts restoration), and I will admit to a bias against the fake stereoization that Pristine incorporates into their transfers.

This CD is the best transfer available of an astounding concert. And the price can't be beat. If you're a Bruckner lover or Furtwängler fan, this release is indispensable.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A significant improvement 3 Jun 2011
By David Henning - Published on
Format:Audio CD
This remastering of the 1944 performance of Bruckner Symphony no.8 is quite respectable, certainly superior to the TOSHIBA EMI.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific 1944 Bruckner 8th from the Master 5 Dec 2013
By jt52 - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The 1944 Anton Bruckner 8th symphony done with the Vienna Philharmonic has the reputation as one of the best existing Wilhelm Furtwangler recordings. Re-released by Musical Concepts in 2010 in a fresh remastering by Gene Gaudette, I can vouch that it is an impressive concert performance with all of Furtwangler’s redoubtable strengths in evidence.

Sound quality: The question for me about Furtwangler recordings is always whether the defects in recorded sound quality are small enough to be overlooked. The answer here is clearly yes, as the CD benefits from a very capable remastering. There is some hiss in the medium treble and the richness in the upper strings falls behind modern recordings, but there’s nothing displeasing about the sound. It’s listenable, the timbre differentiation in the winds is satisfactory and the middle and lower string frequencies attain some level of richness. This is no mean feat for a 1944 concert performance. Note that I was listening to this CD on high end equipment.

Interpretation: Furtwangler favors quicker tempi with a rigid metric underpinning, which he no doubt felt was necessary to hold together the four massive slabs of granite that are the 8th. For example, the beautiful Adagio, here clocks in at 25 minutes, one of the quicker performances in the vaults. The benefits of this typical Furtwangler approach are heard in the reprise of the main thematic group in the Adagio’s exposition. The initial presentation of the spiritual ascending string chord theme very coherently segues into the abbreviated reprise of the sensual opening theme. This interpretation - direct and cohesive - has none of the languorous lapses you hear in slower modern recordings, with their slower and shifting tempi. Furtwangler’s approach is particularly effective in that each of the four movements ends with a crisp and dramatic conclusion. I’ll also note that Furtwangler makes the principal theme of the Scherzo detached rather than legato.

A well-preserved interpretation by Furtwangler, perhaps the greatest conductor, is I think self-recommending to Bruckner-fanatics and to more general listeners. My listening experience confirms this prejudice: this is a powerful -- and powerfully-conceived interpretation -- in a well-done modern re-mastering.
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