SWF D06: Schubert in Stockholm

Here now available is the new release of the SWF: the download (high definition and CD format) of the Schubert concert that Furtwängler and his Viennese gave at the Konserthuset of Stockholm on 12 May 1943.

We do not have the whole concert. Lacking are the Overture to Rosamunde, the slow movement of the Unfinished and a good part of the encore: The Emperor Waltz by Strauss. Yet the essence is still present: the 9th, the 'Great', amplified by a highly Viennese interpretation with regard to style, a performance out of the ordinary, and above all in a relaxed spirit. We are far from Berlin and its very dark 9th, from the abyss of a nation at war: the musicians seem to have rediscovered peace in a country that neutrality kept away from the sombre agitation of those years

Yet first and foremost we must insist on the excellence of the aural result. Swedish Radio, that provided us with a copy from its archive, did its job well, and — apart from some slight background noise (conservation of the direct engraving discs 33rpm/40 cm) — we benefit from a recording that does justice to the phrasing, to the incredible dynamics, to the rich colours of the woodwind, the opulence of the brass and the seduction of the strings.

A release of this recording has never before reached such a pinnacle, and the merit for this belongs notably to the Studio Art et Son (Christophe Hénault). The release reprints, for the notes (bilingual), the very beautiful text drawn up by the late Lee Schipper for the first vinyl pressing, in addition to articles that appeared in the Austrian papers on the occasion of this nordic tour of 1943.

5 October 2019

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