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Thread: Maestro Karl Bohm , if I may.

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Maestro Karl Bohm , if I may.

    I mean, no, he wasn't the glamour guy, but look. This guy GOT IT. EVERY COMPOSER. His Mozart WAS Mozart, his Beethoven WAS Beethoven, his Schubert WAS, his Brahms WAS, his Wagner WAS, his Strauss WAS.......and on and on. This man was truly a great conductor, imho. I have nothing by him where he misses the mark. nothing.
    Bravo Maestro, Well Done.

    and with Kleiber we have what? 2 Beethoven syms and a Brahms.

    let's get real music fans.

    and i think HvK's 60s 5th and 7th are just as good. and Kleiber's Brahms 4th is excellent, but there are others. his other sporadic efforts are ok. where's his Ring? Not to degrade Kleiber, but to put his work in proper perspective only. and thusly KB's.

    but anyway, there you are KB.

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    Senior Member Kieran's Avatar
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    Bohm was great, I have his Marriage of Figaro and can't bring myself to listen to any other. Also, the Posthorn Serenade and all the Mozart Symphonies. He was a great Mozartean...

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    Senior Member Vesteralen's Avatar
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    I must admit, I don't have a lot of stuff by Bohm. But, I do still have this LP. One of my all-time favorites.

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Get more stuff by him. He won't let you down. Get his Beethoven cycle on DGG. One of the really great ones.

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    CountenanceAnglaise
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    I have Bohm's "Abduction from the Seraglio" and it's a wonderful version, recorded in the early 1970's.

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    We owe him great Richard Strauss DVDs and he has another plus from me for bringing Wiesław Ochman (magnificent tenor) to international stage and recording with him not only the Salome where he played minor role of... eeee... WHAT WAS HIS NAME ANYWAY... the commander of the guards, shall we say, but also things like Mozart's Indomeneo where he entrusted him major roles (thanks to it he later worked with Karajan, at least that's how I guess the chronology).

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    Senior Member Moldyoldie's Avatar
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    His Brahms and Bruckner leave something to be desired, but his early '70s Beethoven's Ninth is my favorite "high calorie" recording. In fact, all his Beethoven is worth hearing. Never cared much for his Mozart, preferring more HIP renditions, but his Haydn was exquisite.
    "Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time."
    -Steve Wright

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    CountenanceAnglaise
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    When I was in living in Vienna last year I visited Grinzing, a beautiful suburb at the foothills of the vineyards, just 40 minutes by 38 tram from the 1st District. It's full of beautiful homes and a quaint village atmosphere. Walking around the streets I stumbled across an apartment block, just two storeys high and it had written on the front, in Deutsch of course, "Karl Bohm lived here from ....(can't remember) until his death in ....(can't remember)". The area is known for its famous inhabitants (as, indeed, is the rest of Vienna). But it was of some significance for me to come across this place.
    Last edited by CountenanceAnglaise; Jan-27-2012 at 21:02.

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    Member Sator's Avatar
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    I've been tempted to answer this thread for ages.

    I once heard the confidential opinion of a retired London Symphony Orchestra principle, active during the 1970s, and who worked with anyone who was anyone in that period. He said that they really didn't think much of any of the so-called "superstar" conductors - with just about the sole exception of Karl Böhm.

    Recently, I also heard something similar about Böhm in a radio interview with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. He went briefly over some of the conductors he had worked with such as Furtwängler and Karajan etc. When he came to Böhm he mentioned that of all these conductors, Böhm may have been the most deeply insightful of them all.

    That said, I am against the hero worshipping of any conductor. Nor would I ever say that Maestro X/Y/Z is Beethoven/Brahms/Wagner etc. In fact, I would go so far as to say there is no such thing as good and bad conductors at all - only musicians who have more or less insight, experience and practice knowledge of how to realise specific works in performance. Nobody can perform all compositions by all composers equally well. It's just not humanly possible.

    p.s. sorry to be pedantic but can we please either write Boehm or Böhm, just as you would either write Schoenberg or Schönberg.

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    CountenanceAnglaise
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    Yes, Sator, we should attempt to get the man's name right!! Well said.

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    Bohm is the Bomb...for Figaro.

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    Senior Member (Ret) moody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sator View Post
    I've been tempted to answer this thread for ages.

    I once heard the confidential opinion of a retired London Symphony Orchestra principle, active during the 1970s, and who worked with anyone who was anyone in that period. He said that they really didn't think much of any of the so-called "superstar" conductors - with just about the sole exception of Karl Böhm.

    Recently, I also heard something similar about Böhm in a radio interview with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. He went briefly over some of the conductors he had worked with such as Furtwängler and Karajan etc. When he came to Böhm he mentioned that of all these conductors, Böhm may have been the most deeply insightful of them all.

    That said, I am against the hero worshipping of any conductor. Nor would I ever say that Maestro X/Y/Z is Beethoven/Brahms/Wagner etc. In fact, I would go so far as to say there is no such thing as good and bad conductors at all - only musicians who have more or less insight, experience and practice knowledge of how to realise specific works in performance. Nobody can perform all compositions by all composers equally well. It's just not humanly possible.

    p.s. sorry to be pedantic but can we please either write Boehm or Böhm, just as you would either write Schoenberg or Schönberg.
    You are being pedantic and I find the remarks by DFD somewhat unlikely and certainly those made by the orchesral player. In many. many years I have heard nothing of the sort and consider Boehm to be, as decribed above , a very dependable musician and in my opinion a Kapellmeister of the old type. I don't have an umlaut on my machine as far as I know.

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    Senior Member realdealblues's Avatar
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    I hesitate to write on this one because I'm not trying to bad mouth Bohm as I have honestly tried to like him for a very long time, but I'd like to offer up my own personal feelings.

    I own his Mozart, Brahms, Schubert & Beethoven symphonies on CD, and while he always gets a "fantastic" recorded sound, I just can't always get into his approach and tempos.

    His recordings always sound great! He gets some of the best playing out of the orchestras he worked with. I do love his take on Mozart's Serenades on DG which was pointed out earlier in this post. I haven't listened to his Opera's yet, but I am going to one day very soon.

    For me, his Mozart symphonies are just too slow (Symphony 25 as an example). Perhaps I am just too used to Pinnock & Marriner's uptemp approach to the work, but Mozart's symphonies more often convey "youth, spirit, wild, free, etc" to me. The slower tempos from Bohm make them sound more "Majestic and Grandiose", which in itself is fine, it's just not the approach I want to hear with Mozart. I deal with that a little better with someone like Brahms.

    It's kind of the same thing for me with something like Schubert's early symphonies. Schubert's 1st Symphony as an example, Bohm makes it sound far to serious for me. It's kind of the same thing with Beethoven, I think when we get to Beethoven & Schubert's later Symphonies his technique works much better at inspiring awe.

    Bohm was a great conductor who got absolutely wonderful sounds out his orchestras, and to some people his approach may sound perfectly normal, and work with their own inner ideals about the work which they are listening to, but I know I'm not the only one who finds many of his view points different than my own, and granted the same can be said for many conductors, but there are very few for me who were able to spin gold out of most everything they did.
    Last edited by realdealblues; Mar-12-2012 at 18:40.

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    Senior Member tgtr0660's Avatar
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    I like Bohm recordings far better than many many other newer, more "hip" conductors (it might not be reasonable but I don't like HIP for anything other than baroque music - and maybe the eventual classical-period piece). His Mozart is excellent, as some have already said, his Figaro probably the best (his Zauberflote is close too). A conductor of the old school of germanic conducting, I would love for someone like him to appear nowadays. He lacked the charisma and charm and even looks of Bernstein, Karajan and others, but he was a master nevertheless. I'm looking to get his Beethoven 9th, one of the few top versions not in my collection yet.

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    His Wagner is pedestrian. He skirts over phrases and crescendos that Knappertsbusch and Furtwangler and Jochum reveled in, and he's often times so fast that he rushes over wonderful melodies.

    His Mozart opera recordings are decent and the symphonic output admirable, but the field is so small there's not much to compare.

    Kleiber didn't conduct Mozart operas, if he did I'm sure he would've swooped Bohm. Kleiber's Linz symphony is fantastic.

    The 1966 Tristan was a catastrophe in my assessment, he rushed everything - anyone would've been better - Kubelik, Solti, Karajan even. Of course it was incredibly well cast and the sound was decent, but you rarely hear anyone rave about his conducting.

    Even though Solti is rough around the edges he has verve, something Bohm lacked. He's had a few successes, most notably his Pastoral with the Vienna Philharmonic, but he's not passionate, and that's exactly why that recording is a success; the Pastoral isn't dramatic like the 3rd, 5th, or 9th. He holds back and doesn't try to make the Pastoral into the Eroica (unlike Karajan, whose atrocity of a 6th has been universally noted).

    Schubert? Listen to the Knappertsbusch 1957 9th (available on youtube) in Vienna or Furtwangler's various live recordings with the Berliners and you'll taste the scorching heat of the great late (or should I say early?) Schubert.

    He's a time beater, essentially, and of course a very adequate one. He always takes the middle road; the consistency in his tempo is maddening; if you look at Knappertsbusch's recordings from the length of the records alone the risk taking and intrepid behavior is undeniable; there was a 20 minute difference between his 1951 Parsifal and the 1962 stereo account.

    Kleiber had more than just one Brahms and two Beethoven; he also recorded a Tristan, which was far better conducted than Bohms; terrible cast though. Kleiber also recorded a live Brahms 2 with the Vienna Philharmonic; compare it with Bohm's account with the same orchestra and you'll hear the salient contrast between the two.

    Kleiber's ring? Kleiber didn't conduct one, so what? Where's Toscanini's Ring?

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