WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Karl Bohm In Rehearsal & Performance Vol 1 - Strauss

Strauss,R. / Wiener Philhamoniker / Bohm
Release Date: 06/24/2008 
Label:  Euroarts   Catalog #: 2072188  
Composer:  Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Also available on Blu-ray



The principal purpose of this DVD, as the title suggests, is to present Karl Böhm in a complete rehearsal and performance of Don Juan , thus ever so clearly demonstrating his expertise as an Read more authoritative specialist in the music of Richard Strauss. The rehearsal does succeed in giving a revealing portrait of Böhm as a stern, demanding, but brilliant taskmaster with an encyclopedic knowledge of the music. His attention to detail down to every single individual instrumentalist along with the meaning and importance of Strauss’s score notations is frightening. At one point, he remarks how Strauss forgot to rewrite a particular marking, and did it later to the annoyance of his publisher. Elsewhere, he notes subtle omissions in the manuscript. There is palpable tension during the rehearsal, but the performance is magnificent. As for Böhm’s interpretation of Don Juan , he takes a brisk, no nonsense approach, but there are numerous subtle inflections of phrasing. Some listeners will miss the gross distortions of tempos (translated: slowing) that have become commonplace over the years, but you get the distinct impression that what Böhm gives us is straight from the mind of Strauss.

The technical aspects of the presentation are mediocre at best. In the concert performance, there are the usual shots alternating between Böhm and the orchestra. The main camera angle is from the left front to back right of the orchestra. You occasionally see timpani sticks, but not the timpanist. When the concertmaster plays his solos, he is viewed from the rear over his right shoulder. Most of the camerawork seems to be too close and cramped, but the production is not very involving for the viewer. There are no direct views showing the entire orchestra. Böhm and his conducting technique are well visualized in rehearsal and concert. The DVD package contains several quotes from Böhm, and an essay describing his prickly rehearsal style. The notes indicate that the program is available in Dolby Digital in addition to DTS 5.1 and PCM stereo. In reality, the only option is stereo, and I am not even sure about that. If it is true stereo (rather than mono), it is not very good. The sonic spectrum is limited to the upper midrange with virtually no meaningful bass or low midrange information. That is not conducive to giving an accurate musical portrait of Strauss’s luxuriant orchestral sound. Technical limitations and the short 16-minute music program aside, this is a fascinating look into the artistic aesthetic of a great conductor. The program notes end with a telling quote from Böhm that accurately describes his philosophy: “I am a simple artisan; my baton is not a magic wand, it casts a spell on no one, and nor should it; the music alone should cast a spell.” Arthur Lintgen

Bonus: Introduction by Marcel Prawy

Picture format: NTSC 16:9 anamorphic
Sound format: PCM Stereo / Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish
Booklet notes: English, German, French
Running time: 74 mins

Read less

Works on This Recording

Don Juan, Op. 20 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/1970 
Venue:  Grosser Musikvereinssall, Vienna 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title