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. 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.
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Toscanini conducted both Bruckner’s 4th and 7th Symphonies, and received the Bruckner Society Of America medal.