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If the most notable trait of this 1948 recording of Brahms’ Second Symphony, Furtwängler’s only commercial recording of the work, is the extreme variance of tempo, the composer’s characteristically restless contrast of dynamism and lyricism is nevertheless placed firmly within a framework of the clearest realisation of form and symphonic development. The orchestra is audibly galvanised by Furtwängler’s interpretative flexibility, which courses at white heat throughout the work.
Another considerable asset is the recording quality achieved by the engineers in one of the most sought-after venues for orchestral music in England, Kingsway Hall in London.
The wartime Telefunken recording of the second movement of Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony is also Furtwängler’s only commercial recording of the composer’s music.
Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73
I. Allegro non troppo
II. Adagio non troppo - L'istesso tempo, ma grazioso
III. Allegretto grazioso (quasi andantino) - Presto ma non assai
IV. Allegro con spirito
Anton Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 in E major, WAB 107 (modified 1885 version, ed. A. Gutmann)
Symphony No. 7 in E major, WAB 107: II. Adagio (modified 1885 version, ed. A. Gutmann)
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