ClassicsOnline Home » BRAHMS, J.: Symphony No. 2 / BRUCKNER, A.: Symphony No. 7: II. Adagio (Furtwangler, Commercial Recordings 1940-50, Vol. 7) > Review List

BRAHMS, J.: Symphony No. 2 / BRUCKNER, A.: Symphony No. 7: II. Adagio (Furtwangler, Commercial Recordings 1940-50, Vol. 7)

Composer(s):Brahms, JohannesBruckner, Anton
Artist(s) Furtwängler, Wilhelm, Conductor • Berlin Philharmonic OrchestraLondon Philharmonic Orchestra
Period(s) Romantic
Genre Classical Music
Category Orchestral
Catalogue 8.111000
Label Naxos Historical
Quality   320kbps

If the most notable trait of this 1948 recording of Brahms’ Second Symphony, Furtwängler’s only commercial recording of the work, is the extreme variance of tempo, the composer’s characteristically restless contrast of dynamism and lyricism is nevertheless placed firmly within a framework of the clearest realisation of form and symphonic development. The orchestra is audibly galvanised by Furtwängler’s interpretative flexibility, which courses at white heat throughout the work. Another considerable asset is the recording quality achieved by the engineers in one of the most sought-after venues for orchestral music in England, Kingsway Hall in London. The wartime Telefunken recording of the second movement of



Review By David Denton,Naxos,August 2008

Having been cleared of his involvement in the Nazi regime, Wilhelm Furtwangler came to London to conduct a series of concerts and recordings, including his only studio version of the Brahms Second Symphony. It was made by Decca in their new-found venue of acoustic excellence at the Kingsway Hall. They had on hand the London Philharmonic, not at the time enjoying much critical acclaim, though they do appear to have been given a new lease of life by Furtwangler. The downside was the conductor at his most egocentric, tempos pulled all over the place, phrases moulded in a purely personal mode, and the basic speeds tending towards the leisurely. I suppose it should have been committed to the waste bin, but Decca were not so well endowed with conductors in the mid 1940’s as to miss



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