Wilhelm Furtwängler

Mozart: Die Zauberflöte

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The story goes that once, when Furtwängler was rehearsing with an Italian orchestra, his unsteady opening downbeat caused one of the musicians to call out sympathetically "Coraggio, maestro!" Whether or not it's apocryphal, the story's totally credible. Just listen to the opening chords of this 1949 recording of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte with Furtwängler conducting the Vienna Philharmonic at the 1949 Salzburg Festival. All the strings come in too soon on the first chord. Only the violins come in too soon for the second chord, but they do come in almost a beat too soon. The strings are finally together for the third chord, but the violins go out of tune and stay out of tune for the rest of the introduction. Then, suddenly, somehow, Furtwängler pulls himself together and, presto-change-o in the Allegro everything comes together and all at once the music soars off into the air, a living thing of supreme beauty. And the performance more or less stays that way for the rest of the opera. While some of the soloists are superlative and some are merely adequate, Furtwängler molds them all into a Zauberflöte of unimaginable lightness and unbelievable depths, of ineffable delight and incandescent ecstasy, of immense humanity and profound sublimity. There are other great Zauberflöten in the world -- there are Klemperer's and Böhm's and Beecham's, plus a pair of wonderful 1951 recordings by Furtwängler again at the Salzburg Festival -- but this one is as great as the greatest and anyone who loves the work of the composer will have to hear it. Orfeo's remastered sound is raw but serviceable and honest.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
1 Wilhelm Furtwängler 07:12 Amazon
2 Wilhelm Furtwängler 06:39 Amazon
3 Wilhelm Furtwängler 02:36 Amazon
4 Wilhelm Furtwängler 03:51 Amazon
5 Wilhelm Furtwängler 04:36 Amazon
6 Wilhelm Furtwängler 00:31 Amazon
7 Wilhelm Furtwängler 05:21 Amazon
8 Wilhelm Furtwängler 09:23 Amazon
9 Wilhelm Furtwängler 01:50 Amazon
10 Wilhelm Furtwängler 03:23 Amazon
11 Wilhelm Furtwängler 03:28 Amazon
12 Wilhelm Furtwängler 02:06 Amazon
13 Wilhelm Furtwängler 09:36 Amazon
14 Wilhelm Furtwängler 03:37 Amazon
15 Wilhelm Furtwängler 05:22 Amazon
16 Wilhelm Furtwängler 07:39 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
1 Wilhelm Furtwängler 03:36 Amazon
2 Wilhelm Furtwängler 05:00 Amazon
3 Wilhelm Furtwängler 04:03 Amazon
4 Wilhelm Furtwängler 03:16 Amazon
5 Wilhelm Furtwängler 01:05 Amazon
6 Wilhelm Furtwängler 03:44 Amazon
7 Wilhelm Furtwängler 01:08 Amazon
8 Wilhelm Furtwängler 02:05 Amazon
9 Wilhelm Furtwängler 03:15 Amazon
10 Wilhelm Furtwängler 01:10 Amazon
11 Wilhelm Furtwängler 05:44 Amazon
12 Wilhelm Furtwängler 02:57 Amazon
13 Wilhelm Furtwängler 01:41 Amazon
14 Wilhelm Furtwängler 01:36 Amazon
15 Wilhelm Furtwängler 05:12 Amazon
16 Wilhelm Furtwängler 01:51 Amazon
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