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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superlative Furtwangler Collection From DG, 14 May 2010
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Philoctetes (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Furtwängler - Live Recordings 1944 - 1953 (Audio CD)
Furtwangler may have been the greatest Beethoven conductor, but it's important to be reminded there was so much more to his repertoire than Ludwig van.

For a start, there's his incomparable Wagner. Disc 6 comprises preludes and excerpts from Die Meistersinger, Tristan, Parsifal, Tannhauser and the Ring. All live, which is more than can be said for EMI's Furt/Wagner collection.

There's also his emotionally intense Pathetique from Cairo (Disc 4), his multi-faceted Bruckner Eight of 1944 (Disc 3), and the Brahms Two and Franck Symphony that were given in Vienna during the dying days of the war (Disc 2/5): both are stunning, especially the latter.

The Hindemith and ravel items are rarities, insofar as they are not commonplace in Furt's discography. The Ravel is better done, the Hindemith has a rugged character atypical for this piece. Overtures by Strauss and Schumann are entirely within Furt's compass, and though rarely an outstanding exponent of Brahms' Haydn Variations, the version included here is probably the most convivial I have heard from Furtwangler.

The attractive packaging is lean and efficient, the paper envelopes conducive to easy access. Liner Notes from Rob Cowan are erudite and enthusiastic. Vintage photos seal the deal.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A representative introduction to Furtwängler's art, 15 Feb. 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Furtwängler - Live Recordings 1944 - 1953 (Audio CD)
We are not exactly short on recordings by Wilhelm Furtwängler, and for collectors and aficionados of the great German conductor this box of 6 CDs with live recordings from 1944-1953 will undoubtedly be a severe disappointment. The only rarity is the (otherwise unnecessary) Tchaikovsky "Pathétique" from Cairo, 1951. All the rest are reissues and have been released by various labels in different couplings.
This set is therefore mainly destined for anybody wanting a well-programmed and representative introduction to the art of Furtwängler. Except for the already mentioned Tchaikovsky, the "Rapsodie espagnole" by Ravel, and the "Symphonic Metamorphosis" by Hindemith, interesting but not really indispensable, the rest of the box is required listening. There are stunningly revelatory cuts of Brahms 2nd (Vienna, 1945), Beethoven's 7th (Berlin, 1953), Schubert's 8th (Berlin, 1952), Bruckner's 8th (Vienna 1944), and a formidable disc of orchestral excerpts from Wagner's operas. On top of that the Vienna 1944 recording of Beethoven's Leonore III is a real killer. The "Haydn Variations" by Brahms, "Manfred" by Schumann, "Don Juan" by Strauss, and the "Symphony" by Franck are equally rewarding.
It goes without saying that the sound quality of these live recordings from the 1940s and 1950s is variable, although within context everything is acceptable and well remastered (There is some serious distortion though in the final movement of the Franck "Symphony").
This set comes in yet a new limited-edition historical series "Original Masters" from Deutsche Grammophon. The liner notes emphasizing the rarity of the recordings (so-called "buried musical treasures") are however to be taken with more than a grain of salt. The presentation of the CDs in paper bags with a transparent cover isn't exactly a great idea either.
Indispensable for those music lovers willing to find out what Wilhelm Furtwängler is all about.
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Furtwängler - Live Recordings 1944 - 1953
Furtwängler - Live Recordings 1944 - 1953 by Ludwig van Beethoven (Audio CD - 2003)
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