Born in Graz, Austria, Böhm studied law and earned a doctorate on this subject. He later studied music at the Graz Conservatory. On the recommendation of Karl Muck, Bruno Walter engaged him at Munich's Bavarian State Opera in 1921. Darmstadt (1927) and Hamburg (1931) were the next places he resided as a young conductor, before succeeding Fritz Busch as head of Dresden's Semper Opera in 1934. He secured a top post at the Vienna State Opera in 1943, eventually becoming music director.
This is the most beautiful of Mozart playing, his last piano concerto given here by Emil Gilels with total clarity. This is a classic performance, memorably accompanied by the VPO and Böhm. Suffice it to say that Gilels sees everything and exaggerates nothing, that the performance has an Olympian authority and serenity, and that the Larghetto is one of the glories of the gramophone. He's joined by his daughter Elena in the Double Piano Concerto in E flat, and their physical relationship is mirrored in the quality, and the mutual understanding of the playing: both works receive marvellous interpretations. We think Emil plays first, Elena second, but could be quite wrong. The VPO under Karl Böhm is at its best; and so is the quality of recording, with a good stereo separation of the two solo parts, highly desirable in this work.
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
…[Böhm] may be an octogenarian, but he directs the opera for the most part with a spirit and an urgency that many a young man might envy. Most of the accompanied recitatives are alert and fiery, and in this particular work they carry a great deal of the emotional weight. Here and there I find myself at odds with a choice of tempo. Especially in the closing scenes, some of the orchestral recitative seems to need to go more slowly; it is inclined to lack the proper sense of momentousness. I was a little surprised too at the quickish tempo for the opening aria and, most of all, for the great quartet in Act III, which has more turbulence and urgency than usual, particularly with its sharply contoured dynamics and its incisive accents. Of the choruses ending Act II, "Placido è il mar" is very slow and sticky, indeed positively becalmed (Dr Bain should remember that in ancient times an excessively calm sea did not portend a prosperous voyage— there could be no voyage at all!); the subsequent "Qual nuovo terrore", however, has tremendous power and drama, with superb choral singing and brilliant playing from the fine Dresden violins. And of course BOhm brings true grandeur and a sense of tragic inevitability to the noble music of the Temple Scene; "O voto tremendo" in particular is duly slow and weighty. All praise to him—and to the engineers—for the exceptional clarity of texture in these scenes; Mozart's orchestral writing is often unusually complex, and here every strand of it can be heard without any feeling of unnatural perspectives. – Gramophone
Mozart's greatest symphonies in classic performances by Karl Böhm and the Wiener Philharmoniker.
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
“One of Böhm's last operatic assignments, he accompanies his fine cast with huge wisdom. Gruberova and Talvela are outstanding. August Everding's production, adventurous for 1980, is now a delight to look at” (BBC Music Magazine). “the performance has a winning glow, with an excellent cast of soloists. Edita Gruberova as Konstanze is at her freshest…[Grist's Blonde] is a charming and characterful assumption, most of all when confronting the powerful Osmin of Martii Tavela” (Penguin Guide).
The rhythmic, textural and structural clarity of Karl Böhm’s recordings are much admired across the world. This new release includes Böhm’s celebrated recordings of Mozart Serenades and the great orchestral works of Richard Strauss, as well as equally notable performances of Beethoven and Brahms symphonies. This 17 CD box with booklet includes including new liner notes by Berliner Philharmoniker intimus Helge Grünewald and rare Böhm photographs.
This luxuriously cast film of Mozart's beloved opera buffa features a host of legendary interpretations, including Kiri Te Kanawa's exquisite Countess Almaviva, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau as her philandering husband, Hermann Prey as the wily title character, Mirella Freni, a delight as his no less savvy bride Susanna, and Maria Ewing, hilarious as the lovesick page Cherubino. Director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's imaginative camera-work tellingly emphasizes character and mood in this immortal story of love, intrigue and class struggle, set against the historical background of ancien regime Europe sliding inexorably towards revolution.