Karl Böhm is recognised as an authority on the interpretation of Mozart and Strauss. It is easy to lose sight of how important the music of Beethoven was for his life and professional career. Fidelio in particular marked crucial stages in his life: Fidelio was the first opera he experienced as...more
"Dieser Beethoven ist einmalig! Dabei wird einem wieder auf Anhieb so richtig bewusst, was eigentlich Beethoven ist und wie seine Musik klingen soll. Wohl dosiert, unkapriziös, aber urgewaltig in Kraft und Aussage. Eine Doppel-CD, die ohne Wenn und Aber das Prädikat 'besonders wertvoll' verdient." (Pizzicato)
Karl Böhm is recognised as an authority on the interpretation of Mozart and Strauss. It is easy to lose sight of how important the music of Beethoven was for his life and professional career. Fidelio in particular marked crucial stages in his life: Fidelio was the first opera he experienced as a child, he enjoyed his first resounding success when he performed it in Graz in 1920, he chose it for the festival celebrating the re-opening of the Vienna State Opera in 1954, and it was the last work he conducted as director of that opera company before he resigned after being booed by an audience angry at his perceived neglect of his duties. Böhm himself described Fidelio as “this most beautiful of operas, which broadens out at the end into an oratorio for all humanity”, thus “creating an uplifting, otherworldly effect”.
The humanist tone that finally removes all dramatic tension at the end of Fidelio is also a characteristic of the recordings of Symphonies Nos. 2, 3 and 7 made in 1973 and 1978 with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Produced after the complete set of symphonies published to mark the Beethoven bicentenary year, 1970, these are Böhm’s last recordings of Beethoven symphonies. His interpretations convince by their relaxed, fresh atmosphere and by the way in which Böhm carefully models the total sound through all the instruments. The effects of contrast so typical of Beethoven, far from being underplayed, come across powerfully. At the same time we sense Böhm’s grasp of the dramatic structure of the whole work; schooled as he was in the opera house, this guarantees the vitality and verve of his interpretation. Here Beethoven’s revolutionary quality is transmuted into classicism.
The first Böhm-release at audite in April 2007 provoked a discussion about Böhm’s role during the Nazi-dictatorship. You can find more information about the different views and a discussion forum on the platform klassik.com: Follow this link and find the audite discussion forum with the title "Diskussion über die Rolle Karl Böhms in der Nazi-Diktatur" with acrticles from Rémy Louis (in english) and Friedrich Sprondel (german).
Also, there is a „Producer’s Comment“ from producer Ludger Böckenhoff about this production.
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