A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.
This is not your typical DG, and as far as we’re concerned that’s a good thing! If you end up with this copy you may find yourself agreeing with us that it actually sounds pretty much like a good RCA pressing from the era, with the kind of rich, sweet sound that the best RCAs are famous for, and rightly so.
The sound on side one is spacious and sweet, with good texture to the strings, far from the smeared, hard, steely sound that so many DG pressings suffer from. And side two is even better! More transparent, with better texture and even richer sound.
Side one earned a grade of A+. In the loudest string passages it can get to be a bit much, so we took a plus off for that shortcoming and the fact that side two gives you a bit more of everything that’s good with the sound.
This is an Italian pressing, and what a lovely record it is! Bohm is of course quite famous as an interpreter of Mozart. This performance from the early ’60s should be considererd one of the best on record.
Karl Bohm was one of this century’s great Mozart conductors–a fact that’s apt to be forgotten in the flood of authentic instrument productions, many of them on DG’s associated labels. He conducted Mozart with real love and affection, maintaining moderate tempos, allowing each work’s gorgeous melodies a chance to sing and breathe. Mozart’s symphonic music has its roots in the opera house, and so did Bohm. Listening to the witty woodwind interjections in the finale of Symphony No. 39, for example, you can readily imagine the witty exchanges of different characters in one of Mozart’s comic operas. These beautifully recorded versions of Mozart’s greatest symphonies belong in the collection of every fan of the composer. — David Hurwitz
Symphony No. 39 in E flat major, KV 543
Symphony No. 36 in C major, KV 425