2019 and 1994 DGG “Complete” box sets preliminarily compared

The coming 34-CD+1-DVD “Wilhelm Furtwängler – Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon and Decca” box set is apparently modelled on the Japanese Das Vermächtnis von Wilhelm Furtwängler 34-CD box set released back in 1994.

The 1994 Japanese box set
The new box set

The content is very similar, except that the new box set includes a Don Giovanni DVD, which is still available separately, and now with more information of the contents available, we can have a better understanding of how the new set compares with the earlier one.

The order of the recordings in both sets is very similar, because it is mostly chronological. The chronological order as stated by DG refers only to the grouping of recordings in the sequence of pre-war, wartime and post-war periods, and not to the chronological sequence of the recordings within each time period.

Given that the wartime recordings have been reissued in 2 small Collectors Edition box sets (471 2892-2 and  471 294-2) in 2001 after the initial ground-breaking 10-CD box set (427 773-2) released in 1989, and the DGG Recordings in the DG Originals series, it remains to be seen if there is any new remastering in this large box set.

Wilhelm Furtwängler – Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon and Decca

After Berliner Philharmoniker released a large box set of Furtwängler’s war-time recordings, and King International reissued Tahra’s releases in small boxes, Deutsche Grammophon would jump on the bandwagon and release a “Complete” box-set of his recordings.

“Wilhelm Furtwängler – Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon and Decca”

33CDs + 1 bonus CD + 1 bonus DVD

CD1-CD3: Pre-war Recordings

CD4-CD16: War-time Recordings

CD17-CD23: The Radio Recordings I

CD24-CD26: The DGG Recordings

CD27-CD30: The Radio Recordings II

CD31-CD33: The Decca Recordings

Bonus CD34: Beethoven Sym No. 5; Wilhelm Furtwängler speaks about music

Bonus DVD: Mozart: Don Giovanni

With a 76-page booklet (English and German) with the essays “The Fall and Rise of Wilhelm Furtwänger”, “A Childlike Dionysus” and rare and rediscovered photographic material.

Do we need another CD reissue of Furtwängler’s 1951 Bayreuth Beethoven Ninth?

To celebrate the “Gustav Klimt: Vienna – Japan 1900” exhibition in the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum from 23 April to 10 July and then in the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art from 23 July to 14 October 2019, Warner Music Japan will issue a local release of Furtwängler’s 1951 Bayreuth Beethoven Ninth recording – again! This recording is said to be used as the background music during the exhibition.

What is so special about this reissue? The following are claims of its special points which to many are considered gimmicks at best:

  1. The CD jacket and booklet will use Klimt’s famous Beethoven Frieze painting
  2. 2019 new DSD11.2Mhz remastering from the original master tape at Abbey Road Studio
  3. Mastering for UHQCD by Kazuie Sugimoto (杉本一家) at JVC

Let’s hear how the CD sounds when it is released on 24 April.

Update: the cover art has been published.