George Alexander Albrecht

Wilhelm Furtwängler: Symphony No. 2

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If only Wilhelm Furtwängler's Symphony in E minor were a great work! If only the long-deliberated work, the fruit of a lifetime conducting the highest works of German musical culture and of years of living intimately with fear and war and horror and defeat, could have embodied the glorious symphonic tradition and the terrible historic situation, then Furtwängler's E minor would be a great work. Unfortunately, Furtwängler's E minor isn't even in the same league as Schmidt's C minor or Pfitzner's C sharp minor; it is at best urgent and insistent and at worst long-winded and dreary or banal and bombastic. The introductory Assasi moderato is too long and dull. The following Molto allegro is even longer and duller. The following Andante semplice seems twice as long as it really is and the Finale seems to last longer than a root canal. Only the Scherzo is worth a re-hearing and it takes too long to get going and stays longer than it is welcome. Even Furtwängler's own recording of the work with the Berlin Philharmonic is interminable and this recording with George Alexander Albrecht and the Weimar Staatskapelle is nowhere near in that league. Albrecht is a capable conductor and the Weimar Staatskapelle is a competent orchestra, but they cannot make the music sound like any more than it is: a heartfelt but failed work by a compositional epigone. Arte Nova's sound is dim but loud.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Symphony No.2 in E minor
blue highlight denotes track pick