MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
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


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

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

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



Not available in the USA.

CD: AmazonUK
Download: Classicsonline

Wilhelm Furtwängler - Great Conductors. The Early Recordings: Volume 4
Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)
Lohengrin: Prelude (1851) [9:37]
Tristan und Isolde: Prelude to Act I (1865) [10:33]
Tristan und Isolde: Liebestod (Act III) (1865) [6:23]
Götterdämmerung: Siegfried’s Funeral Music (Act III) (1876) [8:24]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Hungarian Dances Nos.1 in G minor [3:00] and 10 in F major [1:57]
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks (1894-5) [15:05]
Johann STRAUSS II (1825–1899)
Die Fledermaus – Overture (1874) [8:21]
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Wilhelm Furtwängler
rec. 1930-36, Hochschule für Musik, Berlin
NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111005 [63:19]


Experience Classicsonline

Since this isn’t a chronological series, it allows for some fruitful programming. So we can enjoy the Wagner sequence in close proximity (admittedly all these pieces were recorded in 1930 anyway), then have the two Strausses – Johann and Richard – bisected by a Brahmsian brace. Naturally you can programme these things any way you want, but I always think disc construction is something of an artful science. Maybe you’d have ended with a bonne bouche of the Hungarian Dances and sandwiched Til between Wagner and the overture to Die Fledermaus?
In any case the running order has a solid Germanic look, leavened by the variety on offer. The Prelude to Lohengrin has the expectedly powerful eloquence. The conductor doesn’t sound especially studio-bound though it’s fair to say that the 1949 performance he made is tenser. He was to record the Tristan duo for EMI in 1938 but these earlier inscriptions – made in the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin - as were they all in this disc - is even more magisterial, even more fluid in its sense of expression. The side joins are seamless. The final chapter of Wagneriana in this disc is Siegfried’s Funeral Music, marvellously sustained, borne up on the current of its gravity and solemn procession – but once again not superior to the post-war 1949 inscription made live in Berlin in terms of expressive bite.
It’s good to hear the 1930 Hungarian Dances. In 1949 he re-recorded them in Vienna, adding No.3 in F major. These ingenious performances are rhythmically speaking very personalised indeed, but they are bracingly different, and rather infectious. It’s also quite unusual to come across the 1936 overture to Die Fledermaus. Fortunately the recording has firm definition, and it’s strongly characterised, though sleeve-note writer Colin Anderson doesn’t like it at all! Six years earlier Furtwängler set down a recording of Till Eulenspiegel that rather set a kind of template for his subsequent recordings of the work, which tend to differ only in respect of intensity not architecture. These were Berlin inscriptions in 1943, 1951, 1953, and two in 1954, with one performance in Vienna in the same year, the last of Furtwängler’s life. Fortunately the 1930 sound is good, and the performance spirited.
With unproblematically fine transfers, this series proceeds in the safest of hands.
Jonathan Woolf

see also review by Rob Maynard

Other reviews in this series



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

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.