Furtwängler – Bruckner Symphony 4
Many years ago a stupid young man told me that if I liked Bruckner’s symphonies, it was surely because I was sexually frustrated… (We know this conductor wasn’t at all…). That’s a common misunderstanding about this music: it’s not loaded with testosterone, but, in a language inherited from Bach, Beethoven, Schubert & Wagner, is an aim to reach God whatever his name.
This live recording by the Vienna philharmonic (10/20/1951 in Stuttgart) is just a marvel, splendidly remastered. There was a battle between Toscanini and Furtwängler: the first saying, regarding his clumsy gestures, he was just a “dilettante conductor” the second arguing he didn’t get the composer’s spirit at all (no one ever speak about the fact Toscanini never conducted either Bruckner or Mahler). Here, everything is organically played, with a continuous singing and vibrancy (and almost not a single false note throughout..). I know many great Bruckner 4 (specially from Munich…), I’m not sure most of them can match this evidence.
This marvel is coupled with Wagner’s Good Friday music from Parsifal, with the Berlin Philharmonic (Cairo – 04/25/1951).
You can get this SACD here.