Furtwängler / Berliner Philharmoniker – Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Op. 55 “Eroica” (mono, 180g pressing)

Cover-Furtwaengler-LP-Box-audite-87101
# Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
# Orchestra: Berliner Philharmoniker
# Conductor: Wilhelm Furtwängler
# Vinyl (2011)
# Number of Discs: 2
# Format: Flac
# DR Analysis: DR 13
# Label: audite | 87.101 | Records 6B & 7A/B
# Size: 24-bit/192kHz (2.68GB), 24-bit/96kHz (1.30GB) and 16-bit/44.1kHz (337MB)
# Recovery: 5%
# Scan: yes
# Servers: File Factory

This one is by request…

From the 14LP box set… Edition Wilhelm Furtwängler – RIAS recordings with the Berlin Philharmonic.

For this LP edition, we have taken the decision not to alter the great dynamic range of the original analogue tapes. This means that Furtwangler’s interpretations are made accessible to the listener with their original dynamics. However, alongside the ff passages, with no dynamic alteration, there are also very soft ppp passages during which background noise is audible. – from the back of the box

From the label:

With the great demand for the LP version of our internationally successful Furtwängler 12-CD boxed set, audite now presents a selection of recordings in LP format for audiophile vinyl enthusiasts. Containing compositions by Beethoven, Bruckner, Schubert, Brahms and Wagner, the LP boxed set (comprising 14 LPs on 180g vinyl) presents the principal works of the CD boxed set.

The majority of the concerts given by Wilhelm Furtwängler and the Berlin Philharmonic between 1947 and 1954 were recorded by the RIAS (Radio in the American Sector) Berlin. The original tapes from the RIAS archives have been made available for the first time for this edition so these recordings also offer unsurpassed technical quality.

These RIAS recordings are documents of historical value: they contain a major part of Furtwängler’s late oeuvre as a conductor, which was characterized by a high level of focus in different respects. Focus on repertoire which has at its core the symphonic works of Beethoven, Brahms and Bruckner: artists who were counted amongst the members of “moderate modernism” and who were not perceived to have been tainted by the cultural politics of the National Socialists.

Focus was also a guiding principle in Furtwängler’s concert programs which always feature a particular idea. His interpretations also demonstrate extremely high levels of focus: concentration and focus for him meant a contemporary decoding, a re-creation, which would express the fundamental content of a work.

The production is part of our series “Legendary Recordings” and bears the quality feature “1st Master Release”. This term stands for the excellent quality of archival productions at audite. For all historical publications at audite are based, without exception, on the original tapes from broadcasting archives. In general these are the original analogue tapes, which attain an astonishingly high quality, even measured by today’s standards, with their tape speed of up to 76 cm/sec. The remastering – professionally competent and sensitively applied – also uncovers previously hidden details of the interpretations. Thus, a sound of superior quality results. CD publications based on private recordings from broadcasts or old shellac records cannot be compared with these.

Reviews:

As a performance it is more spacious than his famous ’44 recording and more freely expressive. In particular the funeral march is done with the deepest commitment. The recording quality is fantastic for its time, which may be also a tipping point in its favor. If forced to choose, I would still go with the ’44 as a performance due to its more intense pacing and better balance of architecture, but they are both essential, and many would argue that the ’52 performance is more deeply committed and emotionally felt. – Gil Zilkha, amazon.com

I have no hesitation in saying that Furtwangler was the greatest interpreter of Beethoven the world has ever known. His live performances were almost always special, but this is on a plane of inspiration unusual even for him. Added to this the sound is incredibly good for the time. Any lover of great music cannot afford to miss this. – Derek Lee, amazon.com

Furtwangler would allow himself to succumb to pneumonia and be dead at 68. His hearing was seriously affected by a course of antibiotics during a previous bout of pneumonia in 1952, prior to the performance of the “Eroica” presented here. So one could say that Furtwangler, in these performances, was suffering the same hearing debilitation that his favorite composer, Beethoven, also had suffered. Whatever the reasons, the Beethoven performances in this set are spectacular.

The Eroica, with the Berlin Philharmonic from 1952, has similar contours to the studio recording with the Vienna Philharmonic of the same year, but the intensity of expression is magnified greatly. No-one did the Funeral March better than Furtwangler, and while this version may lack the apocolyptic fervor of his wartime performance, it is more balanced and the sound is far superior. I agree with the amazon reviewer: there is no contest, this is the best Furtwangler “Eroica”, and one of the best of any. – Andrew R. Weiss, amazon.com

Track Listing:

Side One
01 – I. Allegro con brio

Side Two
02 – II. Marcia funebre. Adagio assai

Side Three
03 – III. Scherzo. Allegro vivace
04 – IV. Finale. Allegro molto

Recorded live on December 8, 1952 at Titania-Palast in Berlin

Additional info can be found here or check the PDFs in the artwork folder.

Ripping Info:

All vinyl is cleaned on a VPI 16.5

Music Hall MMF-7.1
– Music Hall Cruise Control 2.0
– Music Hall cork mat
Ortofon 2M Mono SE
SimAudio Moon 110LP preamp
RME Hammerfall 9632 ADC
PC

Processing: Sound Forge 10, ClickRepair (manual mode only), iZotope RX3

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24 thoughts on “Furtwängler / Berliner Philharmoniker – Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Op. 55 “Eroica” (mono, 180g pressing)”

      1. This is the best Eroica I had a chance to hear up today. The mono rig sounds fabulous. Your efforts and kindness to share it with us are priceless.

  1. Hey, Steve,
    I’m with ectudor about the quality of the conducting and Orchestral playing, and for Mono it is amazingly good.
    I took down the 24/192 and it is astounding what you can do with such old original sounds.
    Thank you again and again.
    Bob in Atlanta area.

    1. Thanks, Bob.. glad you liked it.

      However, I can only take so much credit for the sound quality. It all starts with the source material. It just so happens that the audite transfers are outstanding.. 🙂

  2. Hello Steve. Thanks for your work. One of the biggest regrets for me is to not being able to hear live performances by WF (especially LvB). This LP is so far the best remedy. I think that the whole collection audite would deserve a subscription as others you have done. If you decide in this way I’ll be one of the underwriters. Anyway, thanks again. These days I have heard can not tell you how many times this heroic (I had in other edition). How wonderful.
    PS Sorry for my terrific english 🙂

  3. Hi TheNightOwl,
    Part Two of the 24/96 is not available. I get the following message:

    “File Unavailable
    This file cannot be downloaded at this time. Please let us know about this issue by using the contact link below.
    Please contact support if you require further assistance.”

    Can you please fix this problem. I love your rips. You set a high bar of quality.

    Thanks a million, zogaddams

  4. WOW… fabulousness NightOwl!!! Any chance we’ll see more from this vinyl box set ripped at 24/192? Or did I miss ’em? These recordings are of such monumental importance. Great work man.

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