Disc 1 Sound Clips (MP3):
Disc 2 Sound Clips (MP3):
Disc 3 Sound Clips (MP3):
Disc 4 Sound Clips (MP3):
CD #1 – 76:04, Symphony #3 in Eb, Op. 55 (VPO, 19/20 Dec. 1944); Overture to "Coriolan," Op. 6 (BPO 27/30 June 1943); Overture #3 to "Leonore," Op. 72 (VPO, 2 June 1944). CD #2 – 76:49, Symphony #5 in c, Op. 67 (BPO, 27/30 June 1943); Symphony #6 in F, Op. 68 (BPO, 20/22 March 1944). CD #3 – 73:26, Symphony #4 in Bb, Op. 60 (BPO, 27/30 June 1943); Symphony #7 in A, Op. 92 (BPO, 31 Oct./3 Nov. 1943). CD #4 – 73:12, Symphony #9 in D-minor, Op. 125 with Erna Berger (soprano), Gertrude Pitzinger (contralto), Walter Ludwig (tenor), Rudolf Watzke (bass), and the Philharmonic Choir (BPO, 22/24 March 1942). Notes by John Ardoin. (AAD) UPC # 0-17685-40492-4. 4 CDs priced as 3.
BUZZ: These are the best World War II performances of Beethoven's symphonies under the baton of Furtwängler. Previously released versions on our label were acclaimed in Fanfare, American Record Guide, Pulse!, Absolute Sound, Diapason, Musica, and numerous other journals. Symphony No. 9 has been completely re-mastered for this edition by Aaron Z. Snyder from a new source and sounds better than any prior issue.
"… a complete understanding of the genius of Beethoven is impossible without some acquaintace with Furtwängler's incandescent readings, before, during or after World War II. There is also something not a little unsettling about remembering what was going on in Berlin and Vienna when these concerts took place. The spectacle of Beethoven's humanism, of civilization trying to survive against the cruelest odds, is undeniably gripping. Music and Arts' digital remastering is impeccable."
-Octavio Roca, San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle
"Music and Arts has collected a series of wartime Beethoven concerts of intense power and thought-through musicality….[Furtwängler's] music-making reflects the anguish of his heart, the sincerity of a tormented soul who glorified Beethoven as the collective conscience of his race."
-Gary Lemco, AUDAD.com
"There are more Furtwängler Beethoven recordings out there than one can shake a stick at, and not all of them capture the conductor in his best form…Separating the dross from the gold can be daunting. Get the EMI commercial recordings and then this set."
-Lawrence Hansen, American Record Guide
"These are all wartime performances of phenomenal intensity and even ferocity, superbly transferred . . . the sheer dramatic thrust and white heat in each of these readings make this a memorable set."
-Henry Fogel, Fanfare