This is one of the great recordings of the 40th symphony. Furtwängler brings to the first movement a springing urgency which emphasises the anxiety and nervous energy in the music. There is a miraculous lightness of touch, an airborne quality, combined with real thrust and forward motion. I have never heard this movement better conducted. The slow movement is finely done but less distinguished, and the minuet and trio are a little heavy, but with the finale we return to the fleetness of foot and driving energy of the first movement. For the two outer movements of the 40th alone this CD gets five stars, and you get Beethoven's Violin Concerto too - this recording a moving document of reconciliation, with Menuhin, who was Jewish, playing alongside Furtwängler, who had taken during the Nazi era the controversial decision to stay put in Germany.
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