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27 January 2023

We announced it for January 30th, here it is today, for you to enjoy this weekend.

In our shop you will find a new SWF product (SWF D10) : Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7, a performance by the Berlin Philharmonic on 18 October 1949.

Despite what one might have read, this is not a recording of one of the concerts given on 16, 17 and 18 October — which included Leonore II and Karl Höller’s Cello Concerto No. 2 — but a radio production recorded in the orchestra’s rehearsal room, the Gemeindehaus in Dahlem.

As we all know, recordings of this symphony — again with the BPO — were made in the Spring of 1951 in Cairo and then in Rome. To this must be added the irreplaceable document of the recording of the Adagio alone for Telefunken Records (1942). The 1949 performance is undoubtedly the most successful, benefiting from the concerts and their preparation, but also from the editing possibilities that enable an exemplary set-up.

In order to make this product available, we were able to work with a higher quality tape than the one used for the CD edition more than fifteen years ago. Indeed, Warner Classics kindly made available to us the recent Abbey Road digitisation of the copy of the tape used for the first pressings (Pathé-Marconi). This source stands out above all in terms of background noise, as its lower level makes it easier to read and thus optimises the musical content. Although we managed to remove some of the noise and improve some of the original edits, some saturation inherent in the original source remains. The coda of the 1st movement is such an orchestral outburst that one can hardly imagine how the technique of that time could have been able to deal with it…

The package includes: HD files (192-24), the same CD quality files (44-16), English/French digital booklets. For those who would like to burn a compact disc from the downloaded files, we have also included a cover and an inlay card, which can be printed out to fill the CD case. We also published another piece of news , to help you do this.

27 January 2023

We understand that some of you may be reluctant to download files from our online shop.

We would like to encourage you to take the plunge by manufacturing — if you wish — a compact disc for your record collection.

First step: download the files (all or part of them) after placing your order. If you are not equipped with “high definition” devices, which add a little extra to the sound, you will also be provided with “CD quality” files, 44-16, far from any low definition (mp3 type).

And don’t forget that as long as you are a SWF member and the product is available, you can always access your order (in “My profile” then “My orders”), and start the download again.

In theory, all computers allow you to burn a blank CD (e.g. Windows Media Player on Windows, Apple Music on Mac). You can do this by putting in sequence the 4 “CD quality” 44-16 files that represent each movement.

You will also find in the package two pdf files to print: the cover and the inlay card. All you have to do then is fill in the jewel box.

Having a problem? Send an email to:

24 January 2023

In the winter of 1935 Furtwängler took the Berlin Philharmonic on a long journey, including ten concerts in Great Britain. The map below, with numbers for each day, shows the route of the tour.

Let’s pause in Edinburgh and download the programme for the evening’s event at Usher Hall.

Harold Holt, the impresario who promoted the tour, was one of the greats of British musical life. His organisation became part of what is today Askonas-Holt, one of the most important and reputable agencies in the world.

18 January 2023

Among the CDs issued by the SWF, one is out of print: Bruckner’s 7th Symphony, recorded on 18 October 1949 with the Berlin Philharmonic.

It was missing. So the SWF is about to provide you with this record as a “high definition” download, with, as always, the files in CD format, the digital booklets (French and English), and — to allow you to keep a compact disc in your record library if you wish — something to print out the cover and the inlay card of a jewel box.

For this exceptional performance of Furtwängler’s most performed symphony by Bruckner — along with the Fourth — it was necessary to start from a flawless document. Warner Classics provided us with the files digitised by Abbey Road Studios (ex-EMI studio), from a copy of the first source (Pathé-Marconi), which has not aged a bit.

From this source, Christophe Hénault established a master that respects the incredible original dynamics and the splendour of the orchestra, even though it was recorded — without an audience — in what was then the Berliner’s rehearsal hall, the Gemeindehaus in Berlin-Dahlem, which was of modest dimensions…

This product will be available on 30 January, at the usual price of € 8,00.

Furtwängler and his Berliner at the Gemeindehaus of Berlin.

9 January 2023

Has the Furtwängler Centre of Japan read our article of January 4 about the publication of the Beethoven box set?

Still, the website of our Japanese counterpart announces the withdrawal of this product from sale, indicating the reason: Egmont would be a ‘fake’, which is not quite accurate. Actually this is the recording of the concert of 4 September 1953 in Munich, which we reissued on a compact disc in 1989 (see below). But the sound of the Japanese source is so poor that it was difficult to match it. Henning Smidth did it; thanks to him. Let us add that the cough of a female listener, present at the same time on both sources, completes the demonstration.

The box should come out again, but with the litigious recording removed.

Interested persons are invited to check out this new edition directly on the WFCJ website.

4 January 2023

The Wilhelm Furtwängler Centre of Japan is releasing a 3-CD box set dedicated to Beethoven with the BPO. WFHC-044/6

CD 1 : 6th et 5th Symphonies recorded at the Titania on 25 May 1947 ;
CD 2 : Egmont and the 5th recorded at Haus des Rundfunks on 27 May 1947. This CD is completed by a previously unreleased Egmont from September 1948 with the VPO;
CD 3 : 6th and 5th Symphonies, at THE Titania on 23 May 1954.

It includes a well-documented booklet, with a text by Henning Smidth, and CD-sized facsimiles of the programmes for one of the 1947 and 1954 concerts.

First, let’s discuss the unpublished material. The boxed set announces Egmont, VPO, 24 September 1948, in Vienna. Although this recording was documented, it was considered dubious. Henning Smidth, in his text, gives a very sensible explanation which we think can be accepted. Considering the acoustics, it would be a recording of one of the concerts in the VPO’s Beethoven series at the Albert Hall in London (from which the 2nd Symphony is taken), which would date it from 28 September 1948.
Anyway, one can recognize Furtwängler’s signature, unfortunately in a rather bad sound (background noise, drop out, weeping, saturations…). And to make matters worse, the beginning is missing, about 15 sec. — which is not indicated on the box! — hence a certain disappointment.

As for the 1947 concerts — which marked Furtwängler’s return to the conductor’s desk — we already had, in particular, the following:
— 25 May: German Society edition (TMK 008080);
— 27 May: DGG edition, on LP since the early 1960s.
And for the 1954 concert: German Society, Tahra, Audite…

The WFCJ announced that they set the band speed to the pitch of 443 Hz. The board of the SWF does not share this view. It is true that the BPO is now 443, but Karajan came along… In Furtwängler’s time, the reference A was at 440 Hz.

The price is ¥6500 (excluding postage), approximately €47.00.

The WF Centre of Japan website:

Their email: