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Penguin Guide, January 2009

Furtwängler’s Berlin Philharmonic Pathétique was quite simply the finest recorded account of the whole 78 era. The reading showed him at his most inspirational, his control of tension in the first movement unerringly spontaneous, with its burst of excitement in the development section and its somber close. Never before or since have the changing tempi of the Scherzo/March been more successfully graduated, with a superb final march reprise, which (as Mark Obert-Thorn’s superb transfer demonstrates) was captured on the long 78-r.p.m. side without noticeable falling off in quality. The close of a finale without a hint of hysteria is both noble and grave. The Berlin Philharmonic play marvelously throughout, and the recording (for which no apologies whatever need be made) sounds exactly as we remember the original 78s. The Tristan excepts are, understandably, equally marvelously played, and again the transfer loses nothing of the original sound.

Henry Fogel
Fanfare, November 2004

this was a toss-up for inclusion with Naxos’s transfer of Furtwängler’s Tristan

To read the complete review, please visit Fanfare online.

Derek Lim
The Flying Inkpot

"For those of you who jaded by Tchaikovsky's Path‚tique, this is a recording to restore your faith in it. ... Performances of the Path‚tique live or die on the their last movements. Furtw„ngler, together with Mengelberg, delivers the most intellectual performances I have ever heard. ... The current transfer is the best I have heard ... At the super-budget price that Naxos gives, why not listen to the best? ... An urgently recommended performance, for all interested in Tchaikovsky performance practices beyond the Russian school, and Furtw„ngler."

Kevin Sutton
MusicWeb International

... and then there is the Wagner. Perhaps no other conductor has been able to capture the intensity of this composer's music, complete with requisite gravitas and yet totally devoid of needless sentimentality. Perfectly paced with the exact amount of rubato to convey the essence of the music, this is a performance for the ages. Sadly enough the masters from which Mr. Obert-Thorn had to work were not as flawless as those for the Tchaikovsky, but this is a problem soon dissolved with the sheer magnificence of the music-making. Customarily, I consign historical recordings to the special interest bin, the nostalgic look on history and how things used to be done. Not so this performance. This is a, if not the, must-have performance of this music, and at a bargain price, no collection is complete without it.

Overall, recorded sound quality is amazingly full given the period and the available technology, and as is his custom, Mark Obert-Thorn has done superb work in the transfers, capturing all of the available sound in its full bloom without making the original masters sound altered or artificial. Program notes by Ian Julier are brief, but concise, giving sufficient information to enhance the listener's pleasure and interest.

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