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Bruckner: Symphony No 4 / Böhm, Vienna PO

Release Date: 06/12/2007 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 000894902   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Karl Böhm's Bruckner Fourth Symphony has been one of the reference editions of the work ever since its first release in 1973, on two full-length LPs. Not much has changed since then. The performance is, at 68 minutes, somewhat on the slow side, but as with all the best Bruckner interpretations, tempo is less important than momentum, and this performance has that in abundance. Everything sounds natural and inevitable, the high point being a reading of the slow movement unmatched in grandeur and plain-spoken eloquence. Böhm's vision is uncompromisingly sincere, and what keeps this performance from sounding perhaps too severe is the idiomatic warmth of the Vienna Philharmonic, whose
Read more characteristic timbres--the rich strings, acidulous oboes, and monstrous horns--seldom have been caught on disc as effectively as they have here. A magnificent performance, magnificently restored.

-- David Hurwitz


BRUCKNER Symphony No. 4, “Romantic” Karl Böhm, cond; Vienna PO DECCA 000894902, analog (68:12)

Karl Böhm’s spacious conducting of the first movement is absolutely convincing and is played with weight and great attention to detail; the symphony opens here with magical horn calls from afar. Originally this 1973 recording took up two LPs and was noteworthy then for Böhm’s majestic approach (although there are many similar, and longer, versions available). From Böhm there is plenty of light and shade, dynamic variance, mysterious searching, expressive solos, and grand outpouring. Böhm’s scrupulous musicianship and the Vienna Philharmonic’s seasoned response is a recipe for a great Bruckner performance. Decca’s presentation knocks a minute off the slow movement’s timing (it should be 15:34), and that minute makes a difference; Böhm takes his time but still walks with purpose while not overlooking the scenery. With a powerfully wrought Scherzo and a finale that is both purposeful and vista conjuring, this is an account that compels and which can stake its claim to be amongst the finest recordings of this work. Good to report that the analog sound has been treated with respect in this transfer and reproduces with true fidelity to the original. I have long been taken with Klemperer (Philharmonia Orchestra) and Celibidache (Munich Philharmonic) in this symphony (both recordings are on EMI) and I would be happy to add Böhm to this august company.

FANFARE: Colin Anderson
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 4 in E flat major, WAB 104 "Romantic" by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/19/1973 
Venue:  Sofiensaal, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 68 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Notes: Version: 1878/80, Nowak ed.
Composition written: Vienna, Austria (1874 - 1886). 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  3 Customer Reviews )
 Majestic Performance- Reputation Totally Validated April 4, 2015 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "Arkivmusic lists well over 100 recordings of Anton Bruckner's great 4th Symphony, so there is plenty to choose from. However, if you are looking for a reference recording of this work and don't relish wading through the options, seriously consider this legendary recording from the early 1970's. Karl Bohm and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra formed an unbeatable collaborative team in the 1960's and 1970's, as anyone who has sampled their recordings of Beethoven or Mozart can attest. Their standard of excellence is on full display here in the Bruckner Romantic Symphony. Bohm takes a steady approach, not rushing anything and letting the majesty of this work develop organically. Trust me, this does not mean an impatient, 'when will it end' response from the listener. What it does mean is that the conductor's inherent sense of proportion translates into some of the most spectacularly golden sound from the VPO that you are ever going to hear. The other Arkivmusic reviewers who have commented on this recording have it right. Here is a Bruckner 4th that you really need to hear, and if you are a Bruckner fan, it should hold a place of honor in your collection. Highest recommendation!!" Report Abuse
  May be the Best of all, if not, One of the To May 29, 2014 By Tony Engleton See All My Reviews "05-28-2014. Critic David Hurwitz gave this Bohm reading 10 out of 10), and I disagree, for once. NO ---this will not do! Should be, at least, 15 out of 15!! What can I say after all that's has been already said about this absolutely magnificent recording? It is everything listeners have said it was, and more. Laid down in the sophiensaal in Vienna in November of 1973' As an analog, it was remastered, I think, in a1999. Why it took so long, I do not know. they should of realized the smash hit they had in their hands, and done it earlier, but no.. Still, what emerged was sound and interpretation that Made jaws in the control room hit the floors. As I recall, the Bruckner 4th was on the second Chicago symphony program I ever attended, and it was back in 1973. The concert featured Mischa Dichter in the Brahms B Flat concerto a and this Bruckner symphony. On the podium was Rafael Kubelik, who got ridden out of town by critic Claudia Cassidy----why! I do not know. But, I liked what I heard, and at that time, I only knew the movements numbers 1,3 and 4. I did not care for the andante! but not long after this day, it began to be one of my favorite parts of this work! and has remained so, especially in the 1873 version, either under Inbal or Tintner, or Nagano. Take your pick. What exactly I heard then escapes my memory, but what I hear now is a more important matter. Bohm is perfectly paced, epic, eloquent, detailed and he possesses an expansiveness that is literally breathtaking and spell-binding. The orchestra is more balanced than in any of the competition, as the horns never overwhelm the rest of the ensemble. Years of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven have honed Dr. Bohm as a sculpturer of fine edifices, and this effort is a perfect example of just that. Of course, the VPO plays with their usual refineness, virtuosity and zest as they know this music like few other groups today. I can not think of anything I would change, in this final version of 1880--Nowak. in fact, if I were a conductor, this is exactly how I would do it. For a obvious comparison, the Barenboim/iCSO on DGG recorded about at the same time had that "light-speed" hunting Scherzo that got everyone's attention, but it has long ago worn thin for me. Bohm's tempo is far more natural and fitting within the structure of the movement, as are most readings of this piece. The finale is quite the splendid work as it is guided to it's intended conclusion skillfully by Dr. Bohm. The themes are perfectly balanced and this music flows with much smoothness, as few I have heard before. The rhapsodic main theme is supple, rich and creamy in the hands of the VPO musicians, and every transition is handled with the utmost care and finesse. I could appreciate all the inner voices from the Orchestra and the entries and exits of the central theme are always just right. Bohm clearly knew this music inside and out, as he demonstrates an uncanny talent for the right thing at the right time, making this 21:13 movement the masterpiece it is. Compared to the composer's "original"version of this final section, there IS no comparison, for the 1880 beats the earlier one by a mile, or two. The final ascent to the closing begins at about the 18:03 mark, and unfolds gloriously, with as epic a scope as nearly anything he did later in his symphonies. The Symphony comes to an emphatic E Flat Major conclusion of the highest quality. Truly, as the recording is presented, this is a "legendary" performance by all involved, and one to get and hear often as a staple of anyone's library. I know it is so, with my collection and should be so with you's as well. A huge high recommendation and a glowing 5stars, if only I could give more, as Mr. Hurwitz was allowed to do. Oh, well, I am continually amazed at how good this recording really is, and the closer I listen, the better it sounds. DO NOT pass this one up! Get it today and give it a couple of devoted hearings and I think you will agree with much I have written here. Aas always, then happy listening and best wishes. God bless you all, Tony." Report Abuse
 Outstanding November 30, 2012 By Clifton B. (Baltimore, MD) See All My Reviews "For Bruckner fans, this is a great performance with excellent sound." Report Abuse
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