One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Buy through MusicWeb for £12.00 postage paid.
You may prefer to pay by Sterling cheque or Euro notes to avoid PayPal. Contact for details

Purchase button

Ludwig Van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Symphony No.6 in F major Op. 68 Pastoral (1808) [43:02]
Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826)

Der Freischütz - Overture (1821) [10:49]
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
Daphnis et Chloé Ė Suite No.2 (1909-12) [16:21]
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Wilhelm Furtwängler
rec. Berlin, 19 March 1944
MELODIYA MEL CD 10 01102 [68:13]

Furtwänglerís Pastoral hasnít survived in quite as many performances as his Eroica Ė but itís still a close-run thing. This wartime Berlin performance was taped in March 1944, which post-dates the 1943 Vienna and predates the post-War examples: Berlin in 1947 and 1954 (twice), Vienna in 1952 Ė a commercial recording Ė and the RAI inscription of 1952. With so much to choose from one needs to exercise a discriminating judgement.

In point of fact the differences in interpretative standpoint between the conductorís various performances of the Eroica are on balance more marked than in the case of the Pastoral. With the latter symphony itís a question more of degree. The conception was, perhaps unusually, relatively static or thatís how it seems on the basis of a decadeís worth of performances. Certainly there is nothing like the level of drama and tension that we find in the wartime Eroica, which one can then contrast with the more classicist instincts of post-War performances. Or indeed the analogous case of Schubertís Ninth Symphony which in wartime was terrifically volatile and afterwards very much more classical in orientation. So for Furtwängler perhaps the Pastoral offered less in the way of expressive extremes.

That said this is a slightly more toughly hewn performance than the earlier one in Vienna. Dynamics are attended to with convincing energy and subtlety; harmonic points are brought out with consummate structural awareness; note the clarinet pointing in this respect. The finale is notable for the forward-moving excitement that the conductor brings to bear and also the relaxation into Elysian pastures - transitions accomplished with all his accustomed skill. This is assuredly a Pastoral that admirers of the conductor will want, if they donít already have the relevant DG set devoted to these same wartime broadcast performances.

The Weber Freischütz consolidates the desirability of the disc further still. Itís a cracker of a performance of a favoured piece. Heíd set it down on early electric 78 in 1926, again in 1935 and then other performances exist from 1952 and 1954. Of course the whole opera was recorded in 1954 as well. This wartime performance is a supremely educative example of Furtwänglerís sheer power. The tensely marshalled accelerandi are magnetic; the dramatic saturation of tone and the stentorian masculine drive are unstoppable. Add to that the eloquent string curve and the splendid wind principalsí solos and you have an overture teeming with brilliance and passion.

Itís probably best in this context not to dwell too much on the Ravel. Itís valuable because this is the only example of his Daphnis et Chloé Ė the Suite No.2 Ė but it really isnít idiomatic at all. The sound, that had proved so malleable and powerful for Weber, here proves too congested and thick for Ravel.

Nevertheless itís a collectorís item and part of a fine disc. All this material has been available in DG wartime broadcast sets, as noted, so that might tip the scales when it comes to pricing and other matters.

Jonathan Woolf


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount



Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.