22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
performances from a bygone era,
This review is from: Furtwängler Conducts Brahms and Beethoven (Audio CD)
You will not hear such performances now, this is music from a bygone era and for that reason alone I would whole heartedly recommend this set. The performances are extraordinary, in the words of the late, great critic Michael Oliver. Comparing them with any modern performances, in particular any since Karajan's, is pointless and very disappointing. These are in a class of their own. If you are a newcomer to Brahms' symphonies then I suggest listening elsewhere to begin with. If you know and love these works as I do I can not recommend these highly enough. The downside is, after hearing these performances any others will seem lacking. There is so much passion and excitement. It may seem strange to think you could listen to a Brahms symphony and be emotionally drained afterwards but that is the case here. The finale of symphony 4 for example is devastating, I had never known just how tragic this music is. Forget any references to poor sound or (lack of) orchestral technique, these musicians are playing as if their very lives depend on it. Love them or hate them performances of this era e.g. those by "Kna", Klemperer, Walter, etc are individual and unique, not like the bland recordings of today which employ orchestras which sound the same and interpretations which say nothing new. As for definitive performances, what is that? Music should be alive and kicking and these performances have that in spades. In my opinion Brahms would have loved these cds. I never bore of Brahms symphonies, having come back to them time and again for over 4 decades and it is because of performances such as these!