Brahms Symphony No. 4 in E Minor Op. 98
Brahms Variations on a Theme by Haydn Op. 56a

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra - 1943

It could be argued that Furtwängler's Brahms is not Brahms at all, but rather disguised Beethoven. Here is a good example of this, and it is fine with me. It is Brahms with blood in his veins, not the proper and pusillanimous stuff we usually get. In the 4th Symphony, the Furtwängler approach works particularly well, as one can hear at the beginning and end of the fourth movement. Unfortunately, there are some distortions, particularly in the second movement. I have strived to make them as passable as possible.

The Haydn Variations is a work that Furtwängler conducted often. This is one of his finest, strongest readings, performed in the same concert as the 4th Symphony. He always brought out in this work a sense of balance and civilization that was, perhaps, Brahms' greatest contribution to art. This may be blasphemy to some, but I sometimes hear something of Hans Sachs' N rnberg in this work.

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