CD-1218(1) FURTWÄNGLER CONDUCTS SCHUBERT: Symphony No. 8 (“Unfinished”) in B minor, D.759. Berlin Philharmonic, 10 February 1952. Symphony No. 9 (“Great”) in C major, D.944. Berlin Philharmonic, [for DG] December 1951. Digital restoration: Lani Spahr (2008), using the acclaimed harmonic balancing technique. Total Time = 79:43 UPC# 0-17685-12182 1
BUZZ: John Ardoin writes in his note: “[In 1950] Furtwängler made his only studio version of the Eighth, and its sound is surprisingly harsh (with the Vienna strings more glassy than glossy), and the performance unexpectedly exaggerated in many places. Luckily, this EMI recording is not our principal means of measuring Furtwängler and the Eighth. Offsetting it is the more fluid and spontaneous live performance issued by DG from a live concert in Berlin in 1952. All the qualities that Furtwängler seems to have been reaching for in the score come to fruition here. From the opening, with its freedom of phrase, there is a feeling of being present at the birth of an original and poetic entity. The famous G major melody in particular has a unique, living sway to it, and not once does Furtwängler’s imagination flag. During the course of this individual performance, one hears every detail in the score in miraculous balance.” As to the major work on this CD, he writes, “Despite the magisterial results [Furtwängler] often achieves, no one performance stands out as ideal, though oddly enough his single studio performance (DG) comes closest to tying up all the work’s loose ends and creating a consistently expressive whole.” Both performances have been re-processed with state-of-the-art digital technology.