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 recording of Der Rosenkavalier captures the intimacy of the Glyndebourne opera house preserving what is, without doubt, an engrossing performance with notable contributions from key soloists at poignant stages of their careers. This 1965 production, first staged by Glyndebourne in 1959, was not without its casting complications. Baron Ochs was to be Manfred Jungwirth but only sang two performances due to ill health and was replaced by Otto Edelmann.
The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and their Chief Conductor Sir Andrew Davis continue their acclaimed survey of the orchestral music of Richard Strauss with two contrasting, characterful and ambitious works.
This beloved operetta, which takes place during Carnival celebrations in 18th-century in Venice, shows Strauss’s descriptive writing at its best, helped by his love of Italy. Eine Nacht in Venedig inspired Strauss to compose some of his most successful operetta-music. The Italian atmosphere, the sun, the sea and the Venetian way of life appealed to his creative imagination.
The discography of Strauss’s last opera is not exactly crowded, but the two existing accounts provide formidable competition for any newcomer. First there was Sawallisch, conducting the Philharmonia for EMI in 1957 (unfortunately in mono) and a cast led by Schwarzkopf, Ludwig and Fischer-Dieskau. Then, in 1971, came that other supreme Straussian, Karl Böhm, with Janowitz, Troyanos and (again) Fischer-Dieskau, recorded in Munich for DG. The new Decca set brings together many of today’s leading exponents of Strauss’s roles, dominated, for me, by the unsurpassed Clairon of Brigitte Fassbaender, now alas, never to be heard on stage again following her retirement. Heilmann and Bär make an ardent pair of rival suitors, Hagegård an admirable Count and Halem a sonorous, characterful La Roche. (There is a delightful link with the past history of the opera in the person of Hans Hotter: he sang Olivier in the 1942 premiere, La Roche in the 1957 Sawallisch set, and here, at 84 when recorded in December 1993, a one-line cameo as a servant.) For many, though, the set’s desirability will rest on Te Kanawa’s Countess.
The Trio series is unquestionably, along with EMI's Gemini sets, one of the best available. This particular item is a complete set of Hindemith's orchestral works, and not only do we get full servings at over 60 minutes per CD, but you get fantastic performances as well. These Blomstedt SFSO/Leipzig Gewandhauser recordings were originally issued at full price on Decca, and when one hears them one can tell why.
In celebration of Herbert Blomstedt’s 90th Birthday in July 2017, Accentus Music releases a new Beethoven cycle that captures the spirit of the long-standing partnership between the legendary conductor laureate and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. All nine symphonies, released in a box set containing five CDs, are live recordings made at the Leipzig Gewandhaus between May 2014 and March 2017.
Filmed live in Baden-Baden by the veteran director Brian Large, Renée Fleming makes her debut in the role of Ariadne together with fellow key Strauss interpreters Sophie Koch and Christian Thielemann, following on from their Rosenkavalier triumph. Thielemann conducts the Staatskapelle Dresden, the orchestra to whom Strauss dedicated his Alpine Symphony and which premiered Feuersnot, Salome, Elektra, Der Rosenkavalier and Daphne. Fleming's voice might have been made for Ariadne and she achieved a great personal triumph in this production: “The chief glory of the evening was hearing Renée Fleming, the Straussian soprano par excellence, making her role debut as Ariadne… As the possessor of what is, possibly, the most beautiful soprano voice in the world, she put her vocal treasures in the service of an empathic, nuanced interpretation of the role. From the creamy top, through a rich, warm middle, to the bewitching, darker colours of her lower register, Fleming poured her magnificent sound into Strauss’s enchanting melodic arcs, animating the sadness, vulnerability, and desire of the bereft princess…” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Reissue of this near legendary recording of Beethoven’s Leonore (the first version of what later became Fidelio). This recording from 1977 was the first recording of this opera, and since then remains a benchmark. Featuring the best singers of the time: Eberhard Büchner, Edda Moser, Edith Mathis, Theo Adam, Karl Ridderbusch, and the Staatskapelle Dresden conducted by Herbert Blomstedt.
Blomstedt’s singular view of Also sprach Zarathustra reflects his deep knowledge of and experience with the piece… The San Francisco Symphony plays masterfully, its characteristic warm sound allied with a virtuoso polish that nonetheless conveys a sense of discovery… Blomstedt’s Ein Heldenleben is one of the most beautifully rendered performances on disc.- Victor Carr Jr.