WILHELM FURTWÄNGLER - Vienna Philharmonic Concerts 1944-1954
BACH: St. Matthew Passion (1952). BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 1 (1952): Symphony No. 3 (1944/1952). Symphony No. 9 (1952/1953). Leonore Overture No. 3 (1944). SCHUBERT: Entr'acte No. 3 from Rosamunde. BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 8 (1944/1945). FRANCK: Symphony (1945). BRAHMS: Symphony No. 2 (1945). MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 365. Concerto for Two Pianos (1952). BRAHMS: A German Requiem (excerpts) (1951). Variatiuons on a Theme by Haydn (1952) Double Concerto (1952). Symphony No. 1 (1952). MAHLER: Songs of a Wayfarer (1952) GLUCK: Iphigenie in Aulis Overture (1952). FURTWÄNGLER: Symphony No. 2 (1953).
ORFEO C 834118Y (18 disks)

This is a fabulous set for collectors, and at super-budget price (about $5 per disk). All are radio broadcasts from 1944-1954 with the Vienna Philharmonic (except for the excerpts from the German Requiem which are with the Vienna Symphony). There are other large collections of Furtwängler recordings, notably the 21-disk EMI set that is even less expensive. Orfeo already has issued an 8-CD set of performances with the Vienna Philharmonic from the Salzburg Festival 1949-1954, but this is mid rather than budget price. Here we have two performances each of Beethoven's Symphonies 3 and. 9, .and of Bruckner's Symphony No. 8. Only 4 sections of the Brahms German Requiem are included, and the St. Matthew Passion is slightly truncated. But this will not matter to collectors, even though they already will possess all or most of these performances. Orfeo's production is basic, a 74-page booklet with notes in German and English, separate blank jackets for each disk. The mono radio recordings are acceptable but highly resonant; I'm sure of some of today's wizards in reissues had been involved, audio would have been enhanced. This is an important part of the legacy of a great conductor.

R.E.B. (May 2013).