Esoteric Japan released a Hybrid SACD box set of Mozart: 9 Symphonies on December 15, 2015.
The Originals Series offers listeners the opportunity to explore key albums from the Yellow Labels LP era and experience the power and passion of performances by a host of visionary artists. Now DG welcomes ten new titles to the range, including some of Karl Böhms recordings of Mozart wind concertos which have always been considered among the best. Here, the Wiener Philharmoniker principal Gunter Hogner demonstrates his skill and agility on the Viennese horn in Mozarts four horn concertos. Günter Högner plays with much character, and no-one will be disappointed with the DG issue, which is beautifully recorded and has splendid accompaniments from the WP under Böhm.
These performances come from the first ever complete set of the Mozart symphonies, dating from the 1960s, and they still represent 'big orchestra' Mozart at its most congenial. The contrast here between Bohm's sparkling Mozart, both elegant and vigorous, and the much smoother view taken by Karajan with the same orchestra, works almost entirely in Bohm's favour. Interpretatively, these are performances very much of their time, with exposition repeats the exception (as in the first movement of No. 40) and with Minuets taken at what now seem lumbering speeds. Yet slow movements flow easily, and finales bounce along infectiously. Consistently they convey the happy ease of Bohm in Mozart, even if the recording is beefy by today's standards, not as transparent as one now expects in this repertory, whether on modern or period instruments.
Böhm's Mozart as experienced in these precious films is marked by youthful vigour and directness, as well as a lack of pathos and sentimentality. Every reading glows with profound love and understanding. "Thanks to Bruno Walter's exemplary performances, I grabbed on to Mozart and fell in love with him so much that I had only one wish: to conduct Mozart, Mozart, Mozart." - Karl Böhm
Karl Böhm was one of the greatest conductors of the twentieth century in the German tradition. He studied music as a child and continued to work and study in music while serving in the Austrian Army during World War I – and while completing a doctorate in law. He coached singers at the Graz Opera and was permitted to conduct a performance of Nessler's Der Trompeter von Sackingen. He never had conducting lessons, but made close studies of the work of both Bruno Walter and Carl Muck…
Karl August Leopold Böhm (1894 – 1981) was an Austrian conductor. (…) Böhm was praised for his rhythmically robust interpretations of the operas and symphonies of Mozart, and in the 1960s he was entrusted with recording all the Mozart symphonies with the Berlin Philharmonic. His brisk, straightforward way with Wagner won adherents, as did his readings of the symphonies of Brahms, Bruckner and Schubert. His 1971 complete recording of the Beethoven symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic was also highly regarded. On a less common front, he championed and recorded Alban Berg's avant-garde operas Wozzeck and Lulu before they gained a foothold in the standard repertory. Böhm mentioned in the notes to his recordings of these works that he and Berg discussed the orchestrations, leading to changes in the score (as he had similarly done, previously, with Richard Strauss). He received numerous honors, among them first Austrian Generalmusikdirektor in 1964.
"… a fascinating glimpse into the history of the Salzburg Festival…The designer is Rudolf Heinrich, whose atmospheric sets cleverly suggest the different rooms in the Almaviva mansion within which Rennert, as ever, directs the work with an unforced feeling for the thoughts and actions of the Count’s scheming household and entirely without exaggeration…Berry’s then-reigning Figaro leads his eponymous opera with the confidence and exuberance of long experience in the part. His antagonist is the sturdy, impulsive Count of Wixell, obviously driven by testosterone. Both sing with absolute command of the stage and boast exemplary tone and technique with voices of properly contrasted timbre… Reri Grist’s Susanna is at once worldly-wise and quick-witted…" - Alan Blyth, GRAMOPHONE