Furtwangler: Lost Manfred Overture now released for the very first time
Volume 12 of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL edition presents a sensational archive discovery: a live recording of the Manfred Overture from the 1953 festival, until recently presumed lost, and now released for the very first time. In 1953, Furtwangler also conducted two of his all-time favourites, Beethoven's Eroica and Schumann's Fourth Symphonies. Until now, these exciting interpretations were only available in technically flawed recordings made by enthusiasts. For this edition, the newly rediscovered original tapes from the archives of the SRF Swiss Radio and Television were made available.
It is the desire of many Furtwangler fans to experience the atmosphere and aura of the performances also in the recordings to a maximum extend. This goal serves the current SACD with two additional tracks: The atmosphere of Furtwangler's stage appearance and applause, followed by increasing silence of the audience at the beginning of the works create special ambience and the air of a live performance.
Wilhelm Furtwangler, invited to Lucerne for the first time in 1944, was one of the defining artists of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL's first decades. From 1947, he performed in Lucerne each summer (with the exception of 1952, when he had to cancel due to illness) until his final concert in August 1954, a few months before his death (recording also available in the "Historic Performances" series: audite 95.641). In total, Furtwangler conducted eighteen of the festival's concerts, sixteen of which with the Swiss Festival Orchestra who also played on 26 August 1953.
Furtwangler's motto was to be "faithful to the spirit" rather than "faithful to each note". This Lucerne recording demonstrates his methodical approach, especially by means of a precisely calculated tempo architecture: Furtwangler's seemingly arbitrary tempo modifications hold structural significance, dynamising the musical form. Illustrated with numerous photos from the festival's archive, the 32-page booklet in three languages discusses this approach, whilst also referring to other famous recordings, such as Furtwangler's studio recording of Schumann's Fourth Symphony with the Berlin Philharmonic, made only a few months earlier.
In cooperation with audite, LUCERNE FESTIVAL presents outstanding concert recordings of artists who have shaped the festival throughout its history. The aim of this CD edition is to rediscover treasures - most of which have not been released previously - from the first six decades of the festival, which was founded in 1938 with a special gala concert conducted by Arturo Toscanini.These recordings have been made available by the archives of SRF Swiss Radio and Television, which has broadcast the Lucerne concerts from the outset. Carefully re-mastered and supplemented with photos and materials from the LUCERNE FESTIVAL archive, they represent a sonic history of the festival.