Is Wilhelm Furtwängler's recording of Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg recorded at the July 1943 Bayreuth Festival the deepest, the most human, and the most transcendent performance of the work ever recorded? That's hard to say. First, there are so many great Meistersingers in the world: Toscanini's, a couple of Karajan's, a few of Knapperstbusch's, plus Böhm's, Kubelík's, Reiner's, Solti's, and Sawallisch's, to name but a few. But there is something unbelievably deep about Furtwängler's Bayreuth recording, a depth of tone, of color, and of cogency that touches something essential in the work.
And there is something unbearably human about Furtwängler's Bayreuth recording, a humanity of emotion, of intellect, and of soulfulness that embraces something quintessential in the work. And there is, despite all the odds, something transcendent about Furtwängler's Bayreuth recording, something that rises above the tawdry spectacle of the Nazi high command relaxing at the height of World War II, something that soars above the loathsome possibility that Adolph Hitler may have been in the audience, something that makes it possible for the performance to live in the clear eternity of great art. The fillers are all cut from the same radiant cloth as the Meistersinger, but the Vorspiel und Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde from 1942 is one of the most searing, most shattering, and most sublime recordings of the work ever made. Music & Arts sound -- clean, warm, and real -- is easily the best the Furtwängler Meistersinger has ever had.
|Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, opera, WWV 96|
|Act 1. Scene 1. Da zu dir der Heiland kam||Wilhelm Furtwängler||3:35|
|Act 1. Scene 2 (after large gap). Nun sollt Ihr singen!||Wilhelm Furtwängler||1:03|
|Act 1. Scene 2 (after small gap). Mein Herr! Der Singer Meisterschlag||Wilhelm Furtwängler||13:15|
|Act 1. Scene 3. Seid meiner Treue wohl verschen||Wilhelm Furtwängler||21:45|
|Act 1. Scene 3. Am stillen Herd in Winterszeit||Wilhelm Furtwängler||10:45|
|Act 1. Scene 3. Fanget an! So rief der Lenz in den Wald||Wilhelm Furtwängler||13:01|