Writes critic John Ardoin in his liner notes: "If in Furtwängler's care Fidelio achieved its ultimate universal statement, then Freischütz receives its supreme nationalistic statement from the same hands. With him, the opera becomes virtually a ceremony, a celebration of things Teutonic. I cannot imagine a more idiomatically German performance than this... Furtwängler makes Freischütz a galvanizing, rejuvenating experience. His recreation of the score is spacious, carefully calibrated, reflective, and suffused with a sense of mission. In exuberant passages, such as the dance sequences in Act I, there is a real kick to the music (an echt Schuhplattler), while in stark contrast more intimate moments of the score (particularly those for Agathe) are molded in an unearthly way that is more the stuff of memory than reality. Balancing these extremes is a mightier order of drama, beginning with the Overture (played here as a true prelude to theater, rather than a concert hall except) and culminating in the terrors of the Wolf Glen Scene. As he did in Fidelio, Furtwängler often allows the spoken dialogue (trimmed here, but still of uncommon length) to spill over into succeeding musical numbers, forming a greater oneness of expression and imparting an accelerated feeling of forward motion."
CD-1064(2) FURTWÄNGLER'S FREISCHÜTZ. Weber: Der Freischütz; with Elisabeth Grümmer (Agathe), Rita Streich (Aennchen), Hans Hopf (Max), Alfred Poell (Ottokar), Oscar Czerwenka (Kuno), Kurt Böhme (Caspar), Karl Dönch (Kilian), Claus Clausen (Samiel), Otto Edelmann (Hermit), with the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Opera Chorus. Cond. Wilhelm Furtwängler; recorded at the Salzburg Festival on 26 July 1954. ADD CD1 74:34; CD 2 75:42; technical reconstruction by Maggi Payne. UPC # 0-17685-10642-2.
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