A superb Beethoven Violin Concerto in a total aural makeover
Furtwängler's final Alte Philharmonie concert - plus a powerful Beethoven 5th
Erich Röhn, violin
Recorded live at Alte Philharmonie, Berlin, 12th January, 1944
Recorded live at Alte Philharmonie, Berlin, 30th June, 1943
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler
FLAC downloads include a PDF copy of Beethoven's manuscript of the 5th Symphony plus a full printed PDF score of the Violin Concerto
Notes on the transfers:
These two recordings offer two very different perspectives on technical developments in wartime Germany, as well as the long-term preservation of historic recordings.
The Violin Concerto was recorded during Furtwängler's last ever concert at the Alte Philharmonie in Berlin, just 17 days before the hall was destroyed by an Allied bombing raid. Even prior to the present remastering, it was clear that technically the recording was good, and a quick online search for Erich Röhn, the soloist, reveals a number of people claiming this as their favourite interpretation.
I was delighted to discover, therefore, that the recording as previously heard was to a great extent hiding its light under a bushel, so to speak - there was far more in terms of sonic potential in the recording than might ever have been suspected, and it really does show just how much could be captured on the still very early magnetic tape medium.
Naturally it's not perfect, and I've had to work hard to retain natural high frequencies whilst battling hissy distortion during louder passsages. That said, one could easily be fooled into believing this to be a live broadcast from the 1960s. This is not something that could ever be claimed for the companion on this release, the Symphony No. 5, which shows all signs of having spent at least some point of its life on very frequency-limited discs. There's little or no top end to be extracted, and evidence of swish which simply shouldn't be expected on an allegedly taped recording.
What is deeply puzzling is that a recording of the Fourth Symphony from this same concert (PASC267) offers superb fidelity, almost on a par with that of the Violin Concerto here. I've done what I can to even out the frequency response and make the best of the Fifth, but one should be prepared to 'retune' ones ears after listening to the concerto.
Find out more:
CD covers to print:
CD-writing cuesheet (save as .cue):
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