Furtwängler / Berliner Philharmoniker – Bruckner: Symphony No. 8 in C minor (mono, 180g pressing)

# Composer: Anton Bruckner
# Orchestra: Berliner Philharmoniker
# Conductor: Wilhelm Furtwängler
# Vinyl (2011)
# Number of Discs: 2
# Format: Flac
# DR Analysis: DR 12
# Label: audite | 87.101 | Records 8 & 9
# Size: 24-bit/192kHz (2.68GB), 24-bit/96kHz (1.30GB) and 16-bit/44.1kHz (337MB)
# Recovery: 5%
# Scan: yes
# Servers: File Factory / File Post

My first classical rip with the new mono rig! 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.


Even those relatively immune to Wilhelm Furtwängler’s conducting of the classics admit that his Bruckner stands with the finest ever recorded. That describes this Eighth, recorded live in March, 1949 (but without an audience present) for broadcast recording. Like most of Furtwangler’s non-studio recordings, it bristles with fervor. The slow movement, especially, has a humanity barely approached by most rivals. Of his several Bruckner Eighths on record this one is the most successful in its blend of sustained long lines and improvisatory detail. Furtwangler’s command of structure and the intensity of his reading make this vital for all Bruckner fans. – Dan Davis, amazon.com

Wilhelm Furtwängler’s Bruckner Eighth in C Minor is truly apocalyptic! In the annals of recorded music, this stands as an icon for Bruckner Eighth. This is the definitive version. The Berliner Philharmoniker gives a heavenly performance under the Maestro. I grew up listening to the vinyl Vox compendium of this symphony recording. It has always been a Gothic spiritual experience; even with the LPs. This is a definite improvement on the Vox issue and stands towering over versions like Celibidache, Zubin Mehta, Herbert Von Karajan, Gunter Wand and Pierre Boulez. Celibidache needs a strong mention as he commands a spatial reading with total control on broad and slow tempi. The spirit of the symphony however came through in this the definitive reading of Furtwängler and the Berliners in 1949 and stands good even after 59 years – Tahseen Nakavi, amazon.com

For those who collect recordings by Wilhelm Furtwängler it will be hard to overstate the importance of this new box set by the German company Audite. Audite made an arrangement with the German Radio system to obtain the rights to use the original master tapes made by RIAS, Berlin. To say that it is a miracle to have these is to understate the case — at least for those of us who love this conductor’s work. A good deal of this material has only been available in cramped, compressed, and/or distorted sound. Now it comes to us with an openness and fullness that we could only dream of, and it makes clear something that the poorer recorded sound did not — Furtwängler’s very keen ear for color.

Furtwängler conducted the Bruckner Eighth on March 13, 14, and 15, 1949. No recording seems to survive of the 13th. The 14th and 15th performances have been issued on a number of labels and have been confused with each other and frequently misidentified. The performance from the 14th has been issued on Testament and EMI. Once again, Audite’s access to the RIAS masters pays dividends. I compared this with all the others from both dates and found this the most satisfying sounding of all. The finest Furtwängler Bruckner Eighth is still the 1944 Vienna reading, with astonishing tension and drama combined with sublime beauty, and it is best heard on a Japanese EMI release or on Music & Arts 1209. This performance from 1949 doesn’t quite reach those heights, but the sound picture is much more satisfying, so it offers a more complete sense of the conductor’s view of the music. – Henry Fogel – arkivmusic.com

Track Listing:

Side One
01 – I. Allegro moderato

Side Two
02 – II. Scherzo. Allegro moderato. Trio. Langsam

Side Three
03 – III. Adagio. Feierlich langsam; doch nicht schleppend

Side Four
04 – IV. Finale. Feierlich, nicht schnell

Recorded live on March 15, 1949 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

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

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18 thoughts on “Furtwängler / Berliner Philharmoniker – Bruckner: Symphony No. 8 in C minor (mono, 180g pressing)”

  1. Listening to this record tears of joy and happiness are coming to my eyes. Probably it is one of those rare moments when my brain, overwhelmed by my heart, take a peaceful rest. Listening in such a plain sound I just truly realized, in plain tears, why Celibidache said “Bruckner’s eight is the zenith of symphonic writing”. Thank you very much dear Steve for such a great gift. Your mono rig made justice to a treasure hidden for so long into RIAS archives. It is probably the best sound one can get from this 1949th event. As time, our biggest enemy, would give you some time, I would be delighted to listen to all the jewels from this AUDITE treasures box.

  2. Thanks for this. Furtwangler is the only conductor (and I’ve heard dozens of recordings of this symphony) who actually ‘gets’ how the coda of the 1st movement should end with its trumpet calls etc. For me this symphony is easily amongst the greatest ever written.

    It does sound extremely good.

  3. thanks a lot.

    interesting approach. release of the archival phonogram not being an audiophile one at the moment of creation on the first rate audiophile source in order to obtain most…

    i had once owned the same phonogram on DG vinyl (not noisy original release, but the later boxed re-issue). it would be interesting to listen again, although it’s unable to compare now the sonic features of the two variants.

  4. very good. I do not know Bruckner at all. My first listen was a year or so ago from this website. Furtwangler I know as a first rate Maestro, and love his work. My real curiosity was that some of this set were recorded in German occupied Europe before the war was over. And the technology they had in many things, Audio as well.
    Very interesting!

  5. the most interesting and precious part of this boxed collection is the first disc, the first concert of Maestro with philhartmonikers after forcing his removal by the american occupation authorities.
    incredible 5th…
    and i do prefer the Vienna variants of the 3rd (both wartime and post-war). so do i about Introduction and Liebestod Isoldes: the 1938 HMV studio work is still unrivalled (and being coupled with Karfreitagszauber from the same studio recording session!)
    but 2 Beethoven 6ths, Schubert 8th & 9th, Brahms in 2 3rds & single 4th… fantastic collection.

  6. sorry Steve … furt-bruck-sym8-24192.part5.rar unavailable. I get this message : “This file is no longer available due to an unexpected error. If you are the owner of this file, it will need to be re-uploaded.
    Please contact support if you require further assistance”. I hope you can fix this file. Thank you

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