Beethoven "Choral" Symphony Conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler at the 1951 Bayreuth Festival01 March 2016 by Electric Recording Co.
It is indeed a daunting task to undertake one of the most historic and important live recordings of the 20th century; the 1951 Bayreuth Festival recording of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 “The Choral”, conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler. It is made even more poignant by the fact that it was the first performance for the reopening of Bayreuth after the Second World War.
Furtwängler only agreed to conduct the Ninth Symphony on very special occasions and never made a studio recording – this is by far the most significant performance of
Originally completed in 1824 and premiered in Vienna the same year, the Ninth Symphony is considered as one of Beethoven’s greatest works. Furthermore it is recognised as one of the greatest compositions in western musical history.
The 1951 Bayreuth performance is not without flaw (the first horn being out of tune), but despite this it is a performance of incomparable depth, energy and breadth. A melting pot of tradition and ideals guided by Furtwängler’s vision and deep spiritual connection to the work and composer – it is a truly unique journey.
The original tapes for this remarkable live performance included audience atmosphere capturing the ambiance of sheer anticipation before Furtwängler walks onstage to begin the first movement. We have included this on the ERC edition so you can feel this experience for yourselves – something that was edited out of the original HMV
Great care and attention is being given to the reproduction of the beautiful original jackets with the famous painting “THE ANCIENT OF DAYS STRIKING THE FIRST CIRCLE OF THE EARTH” by William Blake.
Separate plates are carefully cast in metal to recreate the jacket in all its original glory.