From the first time I heard this Brahms Symphony No. 1 on LP many years ago, I have always felt that it was the best performance of this work that I know. There are some wonderful performances with other orchestras, including some beautifully played Vienna Philharmonic performances, but this Berlin interpretation has an inner strength and drive that is unique. Only the last movement in a wartime recording with the same orchestra is perhaps superior in incandescence (CD 1109 available here), but unfortunately incomplete.
|Brahms Symphony No. 1 in C Minor Op. 68|
Brahms Variations on a Theme by Haydn Op. 56a
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Berlin Phiharmonic Orchestra
1952 (op. 68) and 1950 (Op. 56a)
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There are many performances of the Haydn Variations conducted by Furtwängler, and most are very good. This is among the finest. Unfortunately, there is some surface "crackle" in some fortissimo passages, but it is not too bad.
In general, the sound in both performances is excellent, with a deep base and great detail.