Beethoven was Wilhelm Furtwängler's guiding musical force. In his interpretations of the symphonies, the conductor generates irresistible dramatic momentum – and a constant sense of imaginative freshness – through the interrelationship of form, harmony, texture, rhythm and tempo. No work appeared more frequently in Furtwängler's concert programs than Beethoven's Fifth. Between 1918 and his death in 1954, he conducted more than a hundred performances, including a superbly realized 1937 HMV studio recording with the Berlin Philharmonic and this formidable studio remake with the Vienna Philharmonic, further proof of his astonishing ability to penetrate a work to its core yet preserve it as a living entity.
Ludwig van Beethoven, composer
Wilhelm Furtwängler, conductor