C0828. WILHELM FURTWÄNGLER Cond. Berlin Phil.: The Complete RIAS Recordings, incl. Bach, Beethoven, Blacher, Brahms, Bruckner, Gluck, Handel, Hindemith, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Schumann, Strauss, Wagner & Weber; w.Gerhard Taschner: Violin Concerto (Fortner) & w.Yehudi Menuhin: Concerto in D (Beethoven). (Germany) 12–Audite 21.403, Live Performances, 1947-54. Final Copy! - 4022143214034
“…this handsomely produced and intelligently annotated collection calls on the archives of RIAS and offers that which amounts to the archive’s complete Furtwängler legacy, transferred from the original mastertapes….If ever a set warranted the hackneyed if useful accolade ‘Essential Furtwängler’, this is it.”
- Rob Cowan, GRAMOPHONE, Sept., 2009
“We now have a feast for Furtwängler enthusiasts. Audite has released all the conductor’s recordings made for RIAS with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, packed in a 12–disc set….This edition brings together material from 12 concerts taped between 1947 and 1954, and they provide good documentary evidence of the BPO in the post-war era….Audite has done a great job, for this edition is a real coup….[One] concert was an event of historical importance, for it marked [Menuhin’s] return to Berlin after the war, a gesture of peace and support for Furtwängler….and the 1947 Violin Concerto of Wolfgang Fortner, played here by the brilliant young soloist Gerhard Taschner, who was Furtwängler’s BPO concert master from 1941 to 1945, and then a leading German violinist in the 1950s. Taschner’s playing is simply breathtaking. His technical facility is incredible, and he masters all the tricky runs and double-stops with great virtuosity. The concerto was written for him, and is one of the most difficult violin scores of the twentieth century.”
- Norbert Hornig, CLASSIC RECORD COLLECTOR, Summer, 2009
"The majority of the concerts given by Wilhelm Furtwängler and the Berlin Philharmonic between 1947 and 1954
were recorded by the RIAS Berlin; all of these recordings are documented in this boxed set.
The original tapes from the RIAS archives have been made available for the first time for this edition so these CDs also offer unsurpassed technical quality. Furthermore, some of the recordings are presented for the very first time, such as the Fortner Violin Concerto with Gerhard Taschner.
These RIAS recordings are documents of historical value: they contain a major part of Furtwängler’s late oeuvre as a conductor, which was characterised by a high level of focus in different respects. Focus on repertoire which has at its core the symphonic works of Beethoven, Brahms and Bruckner and is supplemented by works by Bach and Handel and also by topical composers of the time, including Hindemith, Blacher and Fortner: artists who were counted amongst the members of 'moderate modernism' and who were not perceived to have been tainted by the cultural politics of the National Socialists.
Focus was also a guiding principle in Furtwängler’s concert programmes which always feature a particular idea. His interpretations also demonstrate extremely high levels of focus: concentration and focus for him meant a contemporary decoding, a re-creation, which would express the fundamental content of a work.
A number of works – the Third, Fifth and Sixth Symphonies by Ludwig van Beethoven as well as Johannes Brahms’ Third Symphony – are included in two interpretations. They reveal how Furtwängler was able to accentuate different aspects of a work whilst maintaining the same, clear basic conception – and how the actual interpretation depended on the context of the particular programme.
The production is part of our series 'Legendary Recordings' and bears the quality feature '1st Master Release'. This term stands for the excellent quality of archival productions at Audite. For all historical publications at Audite are based, without exception, on the original tapes from broadcasting archives. In general these are the original analogue tapes, which attain an astonishingly high quality, even measured by today‘s standards, with their tape speed of up to 76 cm/sec.
The remastering – professionally competent and sensitively applied – also uncovers previously hidden details of the interpretations. Thus, a sound of superior quality results. CD publications based on private recordings from broadcasts or old shellac records cannot be compared with these."
“Audite's historic archive releases enjoy an excellent reputation worldwide. The high quality of their content is due to their long-term cooperation with radio archives, permitting a continuous exploration of archive collections. The high sound quality of the releases is achieved by using only original tapes from these archives. Audite acquires licenses from the broadcasting companies even for public domain archive recordings. In addition, there is the process of re-mastering using numerous new technological post-production possibilities to achieve optimal sound quality while, at all times, remaining faithful to the principles of historical documentation. Only those productions which fulfil all these criteria are labelled with Audite's seal of quality, ‘1st Master Release - Original Tapes’. Audite is, in every aspect, oriented towards high quality.”
- Zillah D. Akron