First pick: Schubert's 9th

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Brendan

First pick: Schubert's 9th

Post by Brendan » Thu Jul 07, 2005 7:10 pm

Asking the question rather than putting forward my own thoughts at this point. I have a few and wasn't really looking for more, but recently saw that Wand had made a final recording of the 8th and 9th and could be tempted if it's good enough.

Personally, I like Klemperer as much as anyone, but need to listen to at least Furtwangler and Boult a few more times.

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Post by GK » Thu Jul 07, 2005 7:37 pm

MacKerras first recording of the work--with the Orch. of the Age of Enlightenment,

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Post by MahlerSnob » Thu Jul 07, 2005 8:24 pm

Vienna/Solti
-Nathan Lofton
Boston, MA

WWBD - What Would Bach Do?

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Post by Lance » Thu Jul 07, 2005 8:26 pm

While this may be Schubert's "Great" symphony ... it is not my favorite work among his symphonies, preferring instead the Fifth and Eighth ("Unfinished") above the others, though the Fourth ("Tragic") holds a special place for me. But if I had to have a First Pick, it would be Furtwängler's [DGG 477.439, coupled with Haydn's Symphony Nr. 88], both with the Berlin PO. The orchestra, under the incredible hands/mind of this supreme conductor, is simply is magical. It's a performance not likely to be forgotten. My Second Pick might be Erich Kleiber's, with the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra (recorded in 1953) in a six-CD box [London 475.608]. Also, Eduard van Beinum's recording with the Concertgebouw/Amsterdam on Audiophile Classics [101.544] is entirely worthy of consideration. Beyond that, and with a more contemporary (stereophonic) recording, I'll choose Istvan Kertesz and the Vienna PO in the complete edition on London [430.773]. All of these conductors mentioned were masterminds with the baton and with their ability to get the sonorities from an orchestra, paying special attention to all of Schubert's little details and symphonic subtleties that make his music so outstanding.
Last edited by Lance on Fri Jul 08, 2005 8:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by MaestroDJS » Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:10 pm

I have 2 favorite recordings of Schubert's Great C Major Symphony. One is by Bruno Walter and the Columbia Symphony Orchestra, who have a very genial approach to this music, but the only repeats they observe are in the Scherzo. My other favorite is by Neville Marriner and the Academy of St.-Martin-in-the-Fields. They are much quicker and livelier, and they take all the repeats. Most of Schubert's large works are really too long, but the melodic invention is so wonderful that I'd be happy if they took all the repeats 3 or 4 times. Marriner also has an advantage in that their set of Schubert symphonies contains reconstructions of the incomplete works. Whatever one thinks about these musical reconstructions, or "tamperings" with the composers' genius, 2nd-hand Schubert is much better than many other composers at 1st-hand. Personally I am in favor of these reconstructions *if* they are done with great respect for the composers' wishes and it is made clear just what is original and what is added.

Schubert began at least 13 symphonies but completed only 7. His first 6 symphonies were composed between the ages of 16 and 21 with assured facility, but then he went through some stylistic changes. During the next 3 years Schubert began 2 more symphonies but completed little more than the main themes of each movement. Then in 1821 he sketched what became known as his Symphony No. 7 in E Minor/Major. It is in full score through the introduction and the first theme of the exposition, but he must have been working at great speed because thereafter he wrote only 1 or 2 major instrumental lines (sometimes a few more) all the way to the end of the 4-movement symphony. Unfortunately Schubert never filled in the remaining staves, but the overall structure of the work is complete. It bridges a big change of style between the early 6 symphonies and his later works. The next year Schubert completed the first 2 movements of his Symphony No. 8 in B Minor "Unfinished", but left most of the scherzo as a piano sketch with only the first 20 bars in full score. The finale is missing, but it is believed that Schubert used it as an entr'acte in his incidental music to Rosamunde.

During the last 10 years of his life Schubert managed to complete only 1 symphony, Symphony No. 9 in C Major "The Great", and it shows just how far he had progressed since his 6 early symphonies. About a month before his death in November 1828, Schubert sketched a 10th symphony, and these sketches show yet another advance that looks both forward to Mahler and backward to Bach. The incredible slow movement is bleak yet hauntingly beautiful. It is different from the Schubert we know, but he could have been about to evolve again. Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields have recorded the complete symphonies of Schubert, including complete realizations of Nos. 7, 8 and 10 (plus the unnumbered fragments) by Brian Newbould. This is a fascinating set done with great care and shows Schubert's development as a symphonist from first to last. The reconstructed works are very rewarding discoveries.

In the December 1984 edition of Ovation, Brian Newbould explained how he reconstructed the sketches which Schubert left behind. Each of the 3 reconstructed symphonies presented 3 very different sets of problems. Symphony No. 7 was structurally complete from first bar to last but skeletal in detail. The first, completed, half of Symphony No. 8 was already known and cherished for more than a century. The sketches for Symphony No. 10 showed that Schubert in the final months of his life was developing is some very bold new directions, particularly in its structure and its individual use of counterpoint. Schubert apparently planned it to be in 3 movements, with a scherzo that evolves into the finale. It is a terrific work, and I love that eerily lovely slow movement.

Newbould said of his reconstructions: "Schubert's symphonic sketches contain material that, though its quality may be variable, is of immense interest to lovers of his completed works. The material ought to be made available to all ears that wish to hear, but it will not be made available (that is, performed) as long as it remains in sketch form. Experience has proved that fact. A 'realization' therefore may have the purpose of presenting, to a public which cannot read and silently 'hear' a written sketch, the composer's unrealized thoughts in a setting that aims to reveal their implications, no more or no less. If, beyond that, it assumes a life of its own as a credible artifact, that is a bonus."

Getting back to Schubert's Great C Major Symphony, I have visions of a composer's purgatory à la the film Office Space. Leonard Lumbergh patrols the cubicles of overworked staff composers and says to Schubert: "Heeeeeey, Franz. What's happening? So if you could just go ahead and move your desk aaaaaaaaall the way back against that wall and write a Symphony in C Major, that'd be Greeaaaaaaat."

Dave

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Post by Barry » Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:26 pm

This is one of only a handfull of works for which I have a very clear-cut first choice. That's Furtwangler and the BPO live from 1942. It's been available in various forms and as part of various sets on DG over the years, as well as varioius minor labels I'm sure.

It's kind of fits in with the prototype of what people think of when they think of a wartime live Furtwangler performance; with real savage intensity. He leads an absolutely remarkable second movement, taking what is already great music to an even higher level.

I personally think the much more frequently mentioned studio DG Furtwangler recording pales in comparison.

I also like Barbirolli on Seraphim (which must mean it was originally on EMI).

I'm curious about the Walter and will give that a try at some point.
Last edited by Barry on Fri Jul 08, 2005 8:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Lance » Thu Jul 07, 2005 10:40 pm

MaestroDJS wrote:[snipped] Schubert began at least 13 symphonies but completed only 7. His first 6 symphonies were composed between the ages of 16 and 21 with assured facility, but then he went through some stylistic changes. During the next 3 years Schubert began 2 more symphonies but completed little more than the main themes of each movement. Then in 1821 ... [snipped]
Dave: This is vital piece of writing on CMG regarding Schubert's symphonies. Thank you for taking the time to write it in a most interesting and thought-provoking manner.
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Brendan

Post by Brendan » Thu Jul 07, 2005 10:59 pm

Barry,

Any further details on the wartime Furtwangler? When I browse for details on Amazon, the only set I can be sure is the one also includes the wartime Beethoven syms I already have on Music & Arts.

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Post by Holden Fourth » Fri Jul 08, 2005 2:31 am

Two choices - once again I've chosen historical and modern.

For the historical I'm with Barry - Furtwangler from 1942. What a performance!

For a modern version I find it very hard to go past Abaddo and the COE. Some of the score has been rewritten but it makes sense and sounds superb.

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Post by herman » Fri Jul 08, 2005 4:19 am

I wish I knew. I have (and have had) many different recordings but none of them really met my ideal of this beautiful symphony.

I used to have an LP by the Bavarian RSO and Eugen Jochum which I really liked.

The best version I ever heard was not a recording but a live performance by Kurt Sanderling and the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra. I think I wrote about that before, adding a link to the website of the Boston SO first trombonist who also had very good memories of a Sanderling conducted Schubert 9.

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Post by Bob » Fri Jul 08, 2005 6:46 am

Lance wrote:My Second Pick might be Erich Kleiber's, with the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra (recorded in 1953) in a six-CD box [London 475.608]...Beyond that, and with a more contemporary (stereophonic) recording, I'll choose Istvan Kertesz and the Royal PO in the complete edition on London [430.773]. All of these conductors mentioned were masterminds with the baton and with their ability to get the sonorities from an orchestra, paying special attention to all of Schubert's little details and symphonic subtleties that make his music so outstanding.
To two of the above Lance mentioned I might add Charles Munch's account with Boston, my favorite (haven't heard the others, but concur with the Kleiber and Kertesz).

Lance, wasn't the Kertesz cycle [430.773] with Vienna?

Bob

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Post by Heck148 » Fri Jul 08, 2005 7:48 am

"First pick: Schubert's 9th??"

Toscanini/NBC/1953
Szell/Cleveland/1957

I love Toscanini's way with Schubert - very lean, mean and sinewy, with lots of drive and energy...

Szell is really excellent, too - again lots of drive, and like Toscanini, the sound never gets too soupy...
Szell does some retouching on the orchestration, but it works, and is not bothersome...

I had Szell's later one, 1970, on LP, and remember liking it alot, but I've not heard it recently

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Post by pizza » Fri Jul 08, 2005 8:00 am

I must admit that I haven't heard many of the recent recordings, but my favorite has always been Krips/LSO since the time it was released.

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Post by Peter Schenkman » Fri Jul 08, 2005 8:24 am

The three Toscanini recordings of the work, with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1941 and the NBC Symphony Orchestra in 1947 and 1953 are at the top of my list. The Mengelberg recording from the early 1940’s is not without interest and has been pointed out often; the various Furtwangler performances with the orchestras of Vienna and Berlin are very good as is Klemperer.with the Philharmonia Orchestra from 1960. My preferences have two things in common, they’re very different from one conductor to the next and they all work

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Post by Barry » Fri Jul 08, 2005 8:38 am

Brendan,
Here is the listing of that performance from the most up-to-date Furtwangler discography that I'm aware of:

Symphony No.9 in C major, D.944 'The Great'

1) 30th May or 6~8th Dec. 1942, Philharmonie, Berlin
* with Berliner Philharmoniker

* LP ; DG 427 773-1(12 set) / RG 2140(12 set), Melodiya D 010033-010034 / M10 10033 007, Nippon
Columbia DXM 109, French Furtwängler Society SWF 7201, Turnabout TV 4364, Toshiba WF 60050
* CD ; Music and Arts CD 826, Nota Blu 935133-5 / 6, Palette PAL 1027, Priceless D 13272, Bayer DaCapo
200003, DG 427 781-2 / 427 773-2(10 set) / 471 289-2(4 set) / POCG 9482 / POCG 30072 / UCCG 9210
(4 set) / DG 3750(Korean), Classical Collection CD3-CLC 4006, Toshiba CE28 5753 / TOCE 8522 / TOCE
3749, Melodiya MEL 10 00723, French Furtwängler Society SWF 031~32(2 set)


I checked Tower's U.S. site and the following from the above list appears to be the only one currently available:

http://www.towerrecords.com/product.aspx?pfid=2726758

(actually, Tower may also have it on Magic Masters, but that's such a horrible label in terms of sound, that I don't recommend it)

The Music & Arts disc may still be avialble directly from M&A's site. But that's a very old transfer that I haven't heard, so buyer beware.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

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Post by Lance » Fri Jul 08, 2005 8:44 am

Bob wrote: [snipped] ...To two of the above Lance mentioned I might add Charles Munch's account with Boston, my favorite (haven't heard the others, but concur with the Kleiber and Kertesz).

Lance, wasn't the Kertesz cycle [430.773] with Vienna?

Bob
Indeed, it was the VIENNA Philharmonic under Kertesz. London was on my mind ...
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Post by Barry » Fri Jul 08, 2005 8:48 am

herman wrote: I used to have an LP by the Bavarian RSO and Eugen Jochum which I really liked.
Am I mistaken or didn't DG recently reissue this one in their "Originals" series?

It's another one I'd like to hear since I'm generally a big Jochum fan.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

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Post by Peter Schenkman » Fri Jul 08, 2005 9:11 am

Barry Z wrote:Brendan,
Here is the listing of that performance from the most up-to-date Furtwangler discography that I'm aware of:

Symphony No.9 in C major, D.944 'The Great'

1) 30th May or 6~8th Dec. 1942, Philharmonie, Berlin
* with Berliner Philharmoniker

* LP ; DG 427 773-1(12 set) / RG 2140(12 set), Melodiya D 010033-010034 / M10 10033 007, Nippon
Columbia DXM 109, French Furtwängler Society SWF 7201, Turnabout TV 4364, Toshiba WF 60050
* CD ; Music and Arts CD 826, Nota Blu 935133-5 / 6, Palette PAL 1027, Priceless D 13272, Bayer DaCapo
200003, DG 427 781-2 / 427 773-2(10 set) / 471 289-2(4 set) / POCG 9482 / POCG 30072 / UCCG 9210
(4 set) / DG 3750(Korean), Classical Collection CD3-CLC 4006, Toshiba CE28 5753 / TOCE 8522 / TOCE
3749, Melodiya MEL 10 00723, French Furtwängler Society SWF 031~32(2 set)


I checked Tower's U.S. site and the following from the above list appears to be the only one currently available:

http://www.towerrecords.com/product.aspx?pfid=2726758

(actually, Tower may also have it on Magic Masters, but that's such a horrible label in terms of sound, that I don't recommend it)

The Music & Arts disc may still be avialble directly from M&A's site. But that's a very old transfer that I haven't heard, so buyer beware.

There are at least two performances with the Vienna Philharmonic. From a concert given in Stockholm on May 12, 1943, which I haven’t seen on CD, on LP it was available on Recital Records RR-405. On CD it is part of a concert given at Salzburg on August 30, 1953 (EMI 7243 5 653532 2 9).

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Post by Wallingford » Fri Jul 08, 2005 5:05 pm

NUMERO UNO for me has always been Toscanini/Philadelphia.

Just below him--& not necessarily in this order-- there's Krauss/VSO; Krips/LSO; & a '72 concert tape of Ormandy & the Phillies.
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Post by mahlerfan » Fri Jul 08, 2005 5:59 pm

I'm with Heck-- I like my Schubert 9 with muscle. I go with the Szell/Cleveland as well. :)

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Post by rwetmore » Fri Jul 08, 2005 7:56 pm

Let's not forget Leibowitz/RPO.

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Post by Auntie Lynn » Sat Jul 09, 2005 7:38 pm

This is one of my favorite-est pieces in the whole wide world. I don't care who plays it. I would LOVE to conduct it...

Maybe when I win the lottery...

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Post by JackC » Wed Jul 13, 2005 9:22 am

Barry Z wrote:Brendan,
Here is the listing of that performance from the most up-to-date Furtwangler discography that I'm aware of:

Symphony No.9 in C major, D.944 'The Great'

1) 30th May or 6~8th Dec. 1942, Philharmonie, Berlin
* with Berliner Philharmoniker

* LP ; DG 427 773-1(12 set) / RG 2140(12 set), Melodiya D 010033-010034 / M10 10033 007, Nippon
Columbia DXM 109, French Furtwängler Society SWF 7201, Turnabout TV 4364, Toshiba WF 60050
* CD ; Music and Arts CD 826, Nota Blu 935133-5 / 6, Palette PAL 1027, Priceless D 13272, Bayer DaCapo
200003, DG 427 781-2 / 427 773-2(10 set) / 471 289-2(4 set) / POCG 9482 / POCG 30072 / UCCG 9210
(4 set) / DG 3750(Korean), Classical Collection CD3-CLC 4006, Toshiba CE28 5753 / TOCE 8522 / TOCE
3749, Melodiya MEL 10 00723, French Furtwängler Society SWF 031~32(2 set)


I checked Tower's U.S. site and the following from the above list appears to be the only one currently available:

http://www.towerrecords.com/product.aspx?pfid=2726758

(actually, Tower may also have it on Magic Masters, but that's such a horrible label in terms of sound, that I don't recommend it)

The Music & Arts disc may still be avialble directly from M&A's site. But that's a very old transfer that I haven't heard, so buyer beware.
Barry:

So are there 2 wartime Schubert 9ths, one on May and the other on December 1942?? If so, which is the one that you are recommending?

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Post by Barry » Wed Jul 13, 2005 9:58 am

Jack,
I'm almost certain it's the same performance. There must just be some disagreement over the date. Perhaps some of the releases have the wrong date in the notes.

The only other Furtwangler wartime Schubert 9th, AFAIK, is one from '43 with the VPO. I recommend the '42 BPO performance.

I checked yesterday, and Ebay had the '42 performance on Music and Arts. Again, it's an old transfer, so I can't vouch for the quality of it, but it may be worth a look for a good price. It also comes with the most white-hot intense performance of the Coriolon Overture that I've heard.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

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Post by JackC » Wed Jul 13, 2005 10:06 am

Barry Z wrote:Jack,
I'm almost certain it's the same performance. There must just be some disagreement over the date. Perhaps some of the releases have the wrong date in the notes.

The only other Furtwangler wartime Schubert 9th, AFAIK, is one from '43 with the VPO. I recommend the '42 BPO performance.

I checked yesterday, and Ebay had the '42 performance on Music and Arts. Again, it's an old transfer, so I can't vouch for the quality of it, but it may be worth a look for a good price. It also comes with the most white-hot intense performance of the Coriolon Overture that I've heard.
Thanks Barry. I just ordered the CD below. It looks as if it has the Coriolon too.

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/alb ... m_id=57858

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Post by Barry » Wed Jul 13, 2005 11:11 am

Jack,
That's a fabulous set. All of the Beethoven performances are vintage Furtwangler, as is the Schubert obviously.

I'd be all over that myself if I didn't already have those performances on other labels.

In fact, when you receive it, would you mind letting me know if there is any information on there as to whether these are new transfers (as opposed to reissues of the same transfers DG has released in the past). If they are, I may get it anyway.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

JackC
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Post by JackC » Wed Jul 13, 2005 3:59 pm

Barry Z wrote:Jack,
That's a fabulous set. All of the Beethoven performances are vintage Furtwangler, as is the Schubert obviously.

I'd be all over that myself if I didn't already have those performances on other labels.

In fact, when you receive it, would you mind letting me know if there is any information on there as to whether these are new transfers (as opposed to reissues of the same transfers DG has released in the past). If they are, I may get it anyway.
Sure thing. I'll let you know.

Brendan

Post by Brendan » Wed Jul 13, 2005 4:29 pm

Well, it looks like I'll have to get that set and give my M&A wartime Beethoven set away for Christmas. It's all good.

Barry
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Post by Barry » Wed Jul 13, 2005 4:36 pm

Brendan wrote:Well, it looks like I'll have to get that set and give my M&A wartime Beethoven set away for Christmas. It's all good.
I hope you have another copy of that Beethoven 9th :).
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Brendan

Post by Brendan » Wed Jul 13, 2005 5:19 pm

Barry,

Actually, I'd better check, but I'm pretty sure I do, which is why I didn't notice the lack in that set. Thanks for the heads-up!

Barry
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Post by Barry » Wed Jul 13, 2005 5:22 pm

Brendan,
If you don't have it otherwise, and want it on a single disc, Music & Arts cat. no. 4653 is the same transfer that is in that four-disc wartime Beethoven set you're talking about dumping.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

JackC
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Post by JackC » Mon Jul 18, 2005 9:15 am

Barry Z wrote:Jack,
That's a fabulous set. All of the Beethoven performances are vintage Furtwangler, as is the Schubert obviously.

I'd be all over that myself if I didn't already have those performances on other labels.

In fact, when you receive it, would you mind letting me know if there is any information on there as to whether these are new transfers (as opposed to reissues of the same transfers DG has released in the past). If they are, I may get it anyway.
Barry:

This set arrived today. It doesn't say anything about them being new transfers. It does say -- ADD 1989 -- so it looks as if these were released before.

Barry
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Post by Barry » Mon Jul 18, 2005 10:28 am

Thanks Jack. It's amazing how many times DG releases the same transfer of the same performance!
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

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