I know, I know — the market for music recordings is in flux if not chaos, and there are growing indications that downloads are finally starting to hit the head of a “tipping point” among the non-teen-and-college-age demographic. And yes, a growing share of my own acquisitions are file downloads. But for the most part I remain an unreconstructed consumer knuckledragger who orders finished product online, bids on scarce audio gratification in disc formaat on eBay, and frequents the handful of well-stocked “record stores” left in Manhattan.
First, some full disclosure: I’ve been a Wilhelm Furtwängler fanboy since my high school years.
It’s been a while since I’ve heard the Barbirolli/Hallé Dvo?ák Symphony No.7 — recorded in 1957, originally issued on Pye and most recently available in an ultra-budget 3-fer from Disky. In some respects it was much as I remembered: the sound was both overmiked and very congested, and the playing was sometimes a bit too out of tune. The performance, however, was more satisfying than I had recalled: enormously energetic, strongly dramatic, and filled with more than the requisite number of “goosebump” moments. I’m very glad I gave this one another listen.