Sunday, March 27, 2011

Karl Böhm – Beethoven’s 5th Symphony C Minor op. 67

   One of most acclaimed European conductors in second half of 20th Century was undoubtedly Karl Böhm. Born in Graz he started studying law, and just after received doctor degree, he turn to musical studies in Graz conservatory. In 1921 Bruno Walter engaged him to Bavarian State Opera in Munich. Later he worked with orchestras in Darmstadt, Hamburg and in 1934 he become the head of Semper Opera in Dresden, where he replaced Fritz Bush, who was dismissed as anti-nazi opposition. After the war and two year denazification ban he was active in Vienna Philharmonic, Salzburg Festival and Staatskapelle Dresden. Debut in Metropolitan Opera in 1957 opened new chapter in his career. For the next two decades he became most credible interpreter of classical period symphonic and opera works. 

Beethoven 5th Symphony in Karl Böhm Ausgabe

   Recorded in 1970 Beethoven’s 5th Symphony became one of his best achievements. There are many qualities causing this rendition is an obligatory position in Beethoven’s catalogue.  In predominant part of Allegro con brio he can be seen as too conservative, raising solid construction in steady tempi and consequent dynamics he is telling us about Beethoven’s music enough to stay focused but nothing more than it was already said. But in recapitulation he intensifying expression and bursting out with Manichaean vision where can be no place for hesitation. This make Andante con moto flowing softly with such subtle energy.
   Charming and calm second part finds reflection in Allegro, where light articulation helps to animate fugato theme. It looks like Böhm is stopping emotions for the moment when Finale explodes in triumphal exposition. Total control makes extreme expression didn’t force classical phrase. Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is sounding classical and light. And this is obviously the secret of the artistry.

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