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Thread: What's the best box set of Furtwangler Beethoven symphonies.

  1. #46
    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    Personally, I would listen to "bad Furtwangler" before I'd listen to "appropriate Beethoven". Furtwangler lived in an era where conductors could take chances. They were performing for the specific place and time, not for a recording. If something didn't work, they would just play it differently the next time. Every note produced under Furtwangler's baton wasn't golden... but every note was interesting and worth hearing. That's more than I can say for a lot of "safe" conductors.

    And Hurwitz is a typical internet style critic... all technical rigidity and fixed ideas of what is "proper". I wouldn't expect him to understand Furtwangler.
    Last edited by bigshot; Aug-04-2019 at 19:30.
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  3. #47
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brahmsianhorn View Post
    No, because his reviews reveal him to be simple-minded, soulless, and boorish.

    Hurwitz is very blunt and arrogant when talking about artists he doesn’t like, why can’t I be the same way in discussing Hurwitz?

    Like I said in the beginning, some people are attuned to spiritual qualities, some people are more into technicalities. Hurwitz is firmly in the second group. Read his review of Horenstein’s Mahler 8th. His priorities are clearly on display in savagely disparaging one of the handful of greatest of Mahler recordings.
    Your reviews don't reveal the same qualities in you?

    O wad some Power the giftie gie us
    To see oursels as ithers see us!
    (Burns)
    Last edited by DavidA; Aug-04-2019 at 19:46.

  4. #48
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brahmsianhorn View Post
    In the Bernstein thread I stated something similar to your opinion on the Bayreuth 9th. I stated that I never saw his Rite of Spring as anything special. Another poster adamantly disagreed. I listened to the blasted thing four times this week and finally had the “Ah hah” moment where I understood what people see in it. Another poster congratulated me on not sticking to my guns, and I replied that I am not interested in winning debates. I would rather expand my understanding.

    Could you see yourself ever changing your opinion on the Bayreuth 9th, or is your ego too invested in being “right?”
    As you are the one leading the charge on self-justification, I assume it is your own ego that is invested somewhat in being right. Why on earth can't you just allow people to have a different opinion instead of coming in with a load of guff which is perfectly meaningless to anyone intelligent. What we are talking about here is opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    As you are the one leading the charge on self-justification, I assume it is your own ego that is invested somewhat in being right. Why on earth can't you just allow people to have a different opinion instead of coming in with a load of guff which is perfectly meaningless to anyone intelligent. What we are talking about here is opinion.
    What you are asking essentially is why can’t I allow people to have a different opinion by not stating my own. Sir, my opinion is no less valid than yours. We are both allowed to share them. That is why I come to this site, and I just presented an example of where I changed mine. So your attack on me is incorrect and unwarranted. Have you ever had your mind changed by a fellow poster?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    And Hurwitz is a typical internet style critic... all technical rigidity and fixed ideas of what is "proper". I wouldn't expect him to understand Furtwangler.
    Precisely.

    I listen to a recording with an open mind, giving it a chance to impress me in one way or another. I don’t sit with a checklist or litmus test. Sometimes a recording may impact me in a completely unexpected way and for reasons I never thought of before. There is no one single way to perform a work, which I why I often have dozens of recordings of the same work.

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  8. #51
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    Penguin Guide description of the Bayreuth 9th:

    “A reading without parallel. The spacious, lovingly molded account of the slow movement is among Furtwängler’s finest achievements on record”

    Like myself, these authors were obviously deluded. What are we hearing? Maybe we belong to a cult. There must be some explanation other than the recording itself...

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brahmsianhorn View Post
    What you are asking essentially is why can’t I allow people to have a different opinion by not stating my own. Sir, my opinion is no less valid than yours. We are both allowed to share them. That is why I come to this site, and I just presented an example of where I changed mine. So your attack on me is incorrect and unwarranted. Have you ever had your mind changed by a fellow poster?
    When you are accusing me of an 'attack' may I remind you I wasn't the one who said the memorable phrase: 'People who don’t understand the spiritual side of music won’t appreciate it.' If that isn't an implied attack I don't know what is!

  10. #53
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brahmsianhorn View Post
    Penguin Guide description of the Bayreuth 9th:

    “A reading without parallel. The spacious, lovingly molded account of the slow movement is among Furtwängler’s finest achievements on record”

    Like myself, these authors were obviously deluded. What are we hearing? Maybe we belong to a cult. There must be some explanation other than the recording itself...
    In don';t know when you are going to get it into your head that I have already said that this recording has been praised by many people. The problem I have is that I cannot see why as when I have listen to it I have been underwhelmed.

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    But it's not just Hurwitz. Clements of the Guardian gave it 3 out of 5 stars and Ralph Moore of Musicweb said,
    [I]"Ludwig Weber‘s somewhat wobbly but imposing bass is not ideal; he is in danger of falling off the melismata upon the word “Freude” on his entry. He also has trouble sustaining a clean legato but his top notes are secure. Ira Malaniuk is adequate but also wobbly in the ungrateful mezzo line. Wolfgang Windgassen’s rather nasal tenor sounds distinctly ill at ease in his martial ditty, sliding up to all his higher notes and having trouble sustaining a pleasing tone in the high tessitura of his part. Gré Brouwenstijn’s vibrant soprano is at times distorted by the recording into something of a shriek and in truth the quartet before the final apotheosis is ragged and ill-tuned; unfortunately, it is precisely at this point that the original tapes suffer most from flutter and “wibbling” which it would seem lay beyond the powers of the sound engineer to correct.

    No; this is not the Choral by which we should remember Furtwängler. Go to the issues I cite above for a much more satisfactory listening experience which does him justice.
    This obviously isn't a review of the Bayreuth 1951 performance.

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    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    In don';t know when you are going to get it into your head that I have already said that this recording has been praised by many people. The problem I have is that I cannot see why as when I have listen to it I have been underwhelmed.
    That can either be a fault of the performance, or it can be the fault of your perception of it. Either way, you should just move on and listen to something else. Maybe you'll feel differently in five or ten years.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    This obviously isn't a review of the Bayreuth 1951 performance.
    No wonder he didn't like it

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  16. #57
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    That can either be a fault of the performance, or it can be the fault of your perception of it. Either way, you should just move on and listen to something else. Maybe you'll feel differently in five or ten years.
    Ot the fault of neither. Some performances just don't gell with the particular listener. A thing called personal preference.
    Last edited by DavidA; Aug-05-2019 at 06:22.

  17. #58
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    This obviously isn't a review of the Bayreuth 1951 performance.
    Clements review is of a later 1954 performance but he interestingly says of the Bayreuth performance: 'one of the most famous of all recordings of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is that of the performance conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler to mark the reopening of the Bayreuth Festspielhaus in 1951, though it's claimed that EMI's recording was made at the rehearsal rather than the concert itself.'

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    Incidentally, this is my ranking of the Furtwangler 9ths, excluding the wartime Stockholm which I have not heard. The review above was the 8/8/54 Bayreuth recording, not the 7/29/51.

    1. 3/22/42 (BPR, Tahra, Music & Arts, Pristine, Archipel, Andromeda)
    2. 7/29/1951 (Tahra, Orfeo, EMI)
    3. 8/22/54 (Audite, Tahra, Pristine, Music & Arts, Andromeda)
    4. 8/31/51 (Orfeo)
    5. 1952 (Tahra, Music & Arts)
    6. 1953 (DG, ICA)
    7. 1/7/51 (Orfeo)
    8. 8/8/54 (Music & Arts)
    9. 1937 (EMI Great Conductors, Music & Arts, Archipel)
    10. 4/19/42 (Archipel)
    Last edited by Brahmsianhorn; Aug-05-2019 at 07:37.

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    Senior Member chill782002's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    There is great detail in book about what tapes were used and how they were acquired, most of the "stolen russian tapes" were returned to Germany in 1991, if they did not have the actual original broadcast tapes they used original tape copies made to be sent to other radio stations for later broadcast (these did not ever go to Russia)......

    Also very important is to understand how to playback tapes from 1940 in best possible sound, the actual magnetic tape used and gear to play/record it is different than what we have today and requires special techniques for best sound......

    Resistance is futile, only $200 measly dollars buy buy...…:-)
    The tapes returned to West Germany in the late 1980s of these recordings were not the masters but fairly heavily gen'd copies. To confirm this, one only has to listen to the first releases of these recordings made by DG shortly after the tapes' return. The sound is poor, far worse than the Melodiya issues I mentioned. However, the Melodiya releases do not claim to be the masters, these are most likely taken from lower generation tape copies or even the original Melodiya vinyl releases made in the 1960s (these as the most likely sources to have been made from the masters themselves). The 3rd, 4th, 6th and 9th are most likely from the masters (the 3rd is for certain) as these tapes were not captured by the Russians at the end of the war.

    Nevertheless, I must admit that I have not heard the new Furtwängler box and it is amazing what can be achieved with current remastering techniques.

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