Beethoven Symphony No. 1 in C Major Op. 21
Beethoven Symphony No. 3 in Eb Major Op. 55

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra - 1954 (No. 1) and Dec. 7, 1952 (No. 3)

This is a magnificent Eroica. It is difficult to choose between this Berlin version from December 7, 1952 and the Vienna version from 1944. The one from 1944 has more incisive tympani, and I always prefer that. It also has more flexible tempos overall. This makes the interpretation more dramatic, as well as better characterization of the last movement variations. On the other hand, with the Berlin Philharmonic one gets more virile playing and phrasing, with a more classical as well as more epic interpretation. One can only wonder at what we would have had it been the Berlin Philharmonic playing in 1944!

Furtwängler conducted a Beethoven work at the beginning of his first concert ever (Consecration of the House Overture) and at the end of his last concert ever (First Symphony). Interestingly, both programs also contained a work composed by Furtwängler himself. The First Symphony available here is from the first of his last two concerts with the same program. It is rare to hear the First Symphony closing a concert. From what one can hear on this occasion, it seems to get good results. I believe this to be his best interpretation of this work. It is also the only one with the Berlin Philharmonic. It is strong and decisive showing us the Beethoven that was to be.

We encourage you to also browse through the rest of our collection, including recordings from the creator of this website and remasters Eduardo Chibás, the renowned pianist Artur Schnabel and other historical directors