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Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-9, Overtures / Bohm, Vienna Philharmonic [6-CD Collector's Edition]

Beethoven / Bohm / Wiener Philharmoniker
Release Date: 10/22/2013 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 001923502   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Tatiana TroyanosKarl RidderbuschJess ThomasDame Gwyneth Jones
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic OrchestraDresden StaatskapelleVienna Opera Chorus
Number of Discs: 6 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

These performances, taken as a whole, never have gotten the credit that they deserve. The reason was not artistic, but political. Deutsche Grammophon in the 1960s and ’70s was totally in thrall to Karajan and his two Berlin cycles, and then Bernstein took on Beethoven with this same orchestra. Under the circumstances, Böhm scarcely stood a chance, even though he was a much better conductor in the standard German repertoire than Karajan ever was (Bernstein is another matter altogether).

There are some wonderful things in this Beethoven cycle. You might say that its strengths are also its weaknesses. It is consistently large in scale. This makes the first two symphonies clearly foreshadow the later ones, and gives the
Read more Fourth a grandeur that really does put it on the level of the Fifth (sound clip). It’s a very great performance in every sense of the word. The “Eroica” is also suitably big and heroic, and never stodgy. The same can’t be said, alas, of the Fifth and Seventh, which do have a touch of Germanic heaviness about them. This isn’t such a problem in the Fifth, with its sturdy march rhythms, but it does bog down the finale of the Seventh, despite transparent textures and some wonderful sounds from the Vienna horns.

However, this “Pastoral” Symphony always has been considered a reference version, with playing from the Vienna Philharmonic that is exceptionally beautiful, interrupted only by that whale of a storm. Best of all, the cycle culminates in one of the truly great Ninths, ideally paced, with the Adagio just a hair shorter than the first movement, a gruffly rhythmic scherzo, and a magnificently sung finale with a coda that provides the greatest rush since Furtwängler, but without his chronic sloppiness (second sample). The five overtures fill up the extra time on the six CDs with great distinction. Leonore III and Fidelio are particularly enjoyable, with Böhm the master of the theatrical well in evidence. Not the most consistent cycle, then, but where it is good there are none better, and it deserves your consideration.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 6 in F major, Op. 68 "Pastoral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1808; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 43 Minutes 32 Secs. 
2.
Symphony no 7 in A major, Op. 92 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1811-1812; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 37 Minutes 45 Secs. 
3.
Symphony no 8 in F major, Op. 93 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1812; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 26 Minutes 54 Secs. 
4.
Leonore Overture no 3 in C major, Op. 72a by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Classical 
Written: 1805-1806; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 13 Minutes 35 Secs. 
5.
Fidelio, Op. 72: Overture in E major by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Classical 
Written: 1814; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 6 Minutes 15 Secs. 
6.
Symphony no 1 in C major, Op. 21 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 28 Minutes 42 Secs. 
7.
Symphony no 2 in D major, Op. 36 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801-1802; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 35 Minutes 14 Secs. 
8.
Symphony no 4 in B flat major, Op. 60 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 35 Minutes 7 Secs. 
9.
Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807-1808; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 35 Minutes 46 Secs. 
10.
Symphony no 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 "Eroica" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1803; Vienna, Austria 
11.
Egmont, Op. 84: Overture by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1810; Vienna, Austria 
12.
Coriolan Overture in C minor, Op. 62 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807; Vienna, Austria 
13.
Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43: Overture by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800-1801; Vienna, Austria 
14.
Symphony no 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Tatiana Troyanos (Mezzo Soprano), Karl Ridderbusch (Bass), Jess Thomas (Tenor),
Dame Gwyneth Jones (Soprano)
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Opera Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1822-1824; Vienna, Austria 
Language: German 

Sound Samples

Symphony No.1 In C, Op.21: 1. Adagio molto - Allegro con brio
Symphony No.1 In C, Op.21: 2. Andante cantabile con moto
Symphony No.1 In C, Op.21: 3. Menuetto (Allegro molto e vivace)
Symphony No.1 In C, Op.21: 4. Finale (Adagio - Allegro molto e vivace)
Symphony No.2 In D, Op.36: 1. Adagio molto - Allegro con brio
Symphony No.2 In D, Op.36: 2. Larghetto
Symphony No.2 In D, Op.36: 3. Scherzo (Allegro)
Symphony No.2 In D, Op.36: 4. Allegro molto
Symphony No.3 In E Flat, Op.55 -"Eroica": 1. Allegro con brio
Symphony No.3 In E Flat, Op.55 -"Eroica": 2. Marcia funebre (Adagio assai)
Symphony No.3 In E Flat, Op.55 -"Eroica": 3. Scherzo (Allegro vivace)
Symphony No.3 In E Flat, Op.55 -"Eroica": 4. Finale (Allegro molto)
Music To Goethe's Tragedy "Egmont", Op.84
Overture "Coriolan", Op.62
The Creatures Of Prometheus, Op.43

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Ditto! December 30, 2013 By Barron H. (Austin, TX) See All My Reviews "I checked this review to see if it was mine, but forgot I had written one for another on line purveyor of cds. This set, along with the Brahms 4 symphonies, same orchestra and label, make up a wonderful testament to these masterpieces of western culture. Bohm and Vienna were a match made in heaven... they adored each other. You can simply hear that love here. I also feel that with these recordings, you really do hear a true absence of ego on the part of the conductor. Bernstein (whom I do love, and so this is not an "anti-Lenny story) was said to have got down on his knees before Karl Bohm after attending a performance given by Bohm of Mozart in Salzburg. Bernstein is supposed to have begged Bohm to teach him to conduct Mozart. Bohm kind of snapped at him something like "Well you don't do it by waving your arms all over the place like you do." To me this captures the intense and fiery effort Bohm always made to get out of the way and let the composer come through. Long story short: these recordings are masterful- wonderfully re-mastered, played with precision and power. My favorites are 3, 5, definitely the 6th! and 8th and a marvelous 9th! Do yourself a favor and get this set. Listen to it often and share it with your grandkids." Report Abuse
 A Modest Review November 7, 2013 By Gregory  W. (Hinckley, OH) See All My Reviews "According to the ArkivMusic on-line catalog there are over 1100 sources that give access some or all of Beethoven's symphonies, and now added to them, at long last, is the complete set by Karl Bohm and the Vienna Philharmonic. You may ask, what has Bohm and company got that von Karajan, Bernstein, Klemperer, Toscanini, Szell, and dozens of others haven't? Well, I don't know, but let me say that if I was given the choice of any of the complete sets, I'd prefer to have THIS ONE. Yes, I can hear it now: "But what about (insert your own favorite here)?" Why? Because, at least to my ears, Bohm's reading of the nine is the most intellectually satisfying. This is cerebral music. This is music that you don't use as a background to doing the dishes or the laundry, mopping the floor or chatting with your neighbor. This is music to be listened to and absorbed into. As I say other masters give exceptional performances, but there's something here that cannot be adequately described. It must be intuited, like Rubenstein playing Chopin or Heifetz playing the Tchaikovsky violin concerto. So lock the doors, shut off the dishwasher, take the phone off the hook and LISTEN." Report Abuse
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