An expert opinion

Nils-Göran Olve, one of our Swedish correspondents, is the son of a violinist who played for a long time in the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, hence under Furtwängler’s baton.
He participated in our recently released album SWF D12, writing the booklet with Göran Soderval. He did so while he did not yet have the restoration done by the SWF, knowing only previous editions. After downloading and listening to the album, he sent us the following comment.

"I've now listened carefully to your new issue, and my admiration for the performances and the sound restoration only grows! Compared with the previous releases that I know there is more transparency and less disturbing reminders that these were acetates or lacquers which were stored for a quarter-century before being rescued in the 1960s. I was also afraid that the tapes had deteriorated from the half-century which elapsed before SWF bought the new digital transfer. Yes, the sound of the full orchestra is not always quite undistorted, and there is background noise. But I felt I had not given proper attention to the music-making. Don Juan is interesting throughout. The Tristan Prelude is at an ideal pace, and in the Liebestod I don't miss the soprano part — in fact, Furtwängler makes a case for the orchestral version as an interesting alternative when he lets the orchestra unleash its full power in a way which is impossible if you don't want to drown you Isolde!

But best of all is the Ninth which I will have to compare with other Furtwängler performances, because this strikes me as just about perfect for my taste which has not been the case with Furtwängler Ninths before. Isn't this swifter than his 1950s recordings, and therefore more to my taste? Yet there is freedom and time for the wind soloists to make memorable contributions. I believe you used the word "serene" and I agree — in the slow movement particularly one can imagine Furtwängler to remain forever in this rapt atmosphere, and not have to return to his country until war was over.

So congratulations, and I hope it sells well so that more people can hear it!

23 September 2023

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