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BRAHMS: Symphony No. 1 / Haydn Variations (Furtwangler, Commercial Recordings 1940-50, Vol. 5)

Composer(s):Brahms, Johannes
Artist(s) Furtwangler, Wilhelm, Conductor • Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period(s) Romantic
Genre Classical Music
Category Orchestral
Catalogue 8.110998
Label Naxos Historical
Quality   320kbps
Album Price
 
MP3
USD 6.99
 

 


Listening to Furtwängler’s performances from the postwar period is to participate in some of the most intense realisations of the repertoire he held most dear, including that of Brahms with whom he shared a consuming interest in the roots of their German musical heritage. Both in his writing and interpretative stance, Furtwängler sought to attain the heart of Brahms’s idiom through the imagery of its connections with nature. The introduction to the Finale of the First Symphony is an obvious case in point. Having wound down the tempo of the preceding movement using the tonal possibilities of Brahms’s instrumentation to reflect a decidedly autumnal sunset, Furtwängler allows the music to emerge as though from darkest night with the Finale’s horn-call resounding with all the

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Review By David Denton,Naxos,June 2007

Wilhelm Furtwangler was regarded as the leading Brahms interpreter of his generation, but such a self-indulgent approach to the first movement of the first symphony, with its ponderous tempos and rhythmic liberties would be derided by critics in today's concert hall. There are many performances on disc that, even with the added inclusion of the repeat, come under Furtwangler's timing. The end to the second movement is dragged out, while the third is genial rather than energetic. Only the finale would meet today's expectations, and though the performance has breadth and nobility, side breaks in the original 78's created a sense of short musical paragraphs. The Vienna orchestra in 1947 was in remarkably good condition so soon after the end of the

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