Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Orchestra: Berliner Philharmoniker
Conductor: Karl Böhm
Number of Discs: 1
Format: DSD64 (iso)
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Size: 2.14 GB
Symphony no.40 in G minor K.550
01. 1. Molto allegro
02. 2. Andante
03. 3. Menuetto.Allegretto
04. 4. Allegro assai
Symphony no.41 in С major K.551 “Jupiter”
05. 1. Allegro vivace
06. 2. Andante cantabile
07. 3. Menuetto.Allegretto
08. 4. Molto allegro
Karl Böhm, 1894-1991, was a stalwart of the concert platform & recording studio for almost 60 years. Together with conductors like Josef Krips, Eugen Jochum & Otto Klemperer, his orchestral repertoire was centred on Mozart, Beethoven, Bruckner & Brahms, but it is interesting just how differently such artists viewed their works. He was also an opera conductor of note, giving the 1st performances of Strauss’ Die schweigsame Frau & Daphne, appearing frequently at Salzburg, Bayreuth & the Metropolitan Opera House.
Böhm was the 1st conductor to record all of the Mozart symphonies, with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. The performances were well received by critics & this disc contains #40 & 41, The Jupiter from 1962. Over the last half-century, these recordings & the parent cycle have withstood the passage of time, frequently appearing on recommended lists.
The interpretations are grounded in the mid-20th century with the orchestra having a suitably Romantic sound that may not be to every listener’s liking; however, the playing is uniformly elegant & stylish. Böhm sounds a Mozartian to his finger tips, achieving a refinement & carefully modulated sparkle from the players that is most impressive. The tempi are generally convincing &, as was usual at the time, not all the repeats are included. There is a welcome absence of idiosyncrasy & undue gravity; again & again one notices the subtlety with which Böhm reveals Mozart’s wonderful instrumentation.
If historically-informed playing &/or instrumentation, or having all the repeats is not a priority then this disc can be highly recommended.