Bruckner Symphony No. 8 in C Minor
2 versions: March 14 and 15, 1949

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra - 1949
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We are including two recordings of the same work on 2 consecutive days for a special price. It is very interesting to compare these two performances. The first one from March 14 was made without an audience for radio broadcast. This presented a special problem since it was highly compressed, as is the norm with radio broadcasts. I have done the best I can to give the recording a proper dynamic range. I cannot say that the dynamics are what they were at the performance, but I can guarantee this version is much, much closer to what the performance would have sounded like. The two venues, the Gemeindehaus on March 14 and the Titania Palast on March 15, have very different acoustics and the sound of these two recordings is correspondingly different. Still, they are both good for the date. The first performance was without an audience while the second performance was a regular Berlin Philharmonic concert.

What makes this most interesting is how the interpretations differ. The tempos are very different as can be immediately seen from the timings. I think you will agree that the second performance is much more exciting and has more character. It is a more typical Furtwängler live concert. The first performance, however, has been described as more satisfying in terms of structure and architecture. I am not so sure, since I think that the expressiveness of a performance also highlights the form. Still, that first performance without an audience is a very good one. That is why I think it is a good thing to bundle them both at a reduced price so that you can arrive at your own conclusion. Also, I expect that different listeners will like one or the other sound better.