Beethoven's Symphony No 6, 'Pastoral'
Beethoven Symphony No 6, ‘Pastoral’ Schubert Symphony No 5 in B flat, D485
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra / Karl Böhm DG The Originals 447 433-2GOR (74' · ADD) Recorded 1971 and 1979 Buy from Amazon
Karl Böhm’s Beethoven is a compound of earth and fire. His 1971 VPO recording of Beethoven’s Sixth dominated the LP catalogue for over a decade, and has done pretty well on CD in its various appearances. His reading is generally glorious and it remains one of the finest accounts of the work. It still sounds well and the performance (with the first-movement exposition repeat included) has an unfolding naturalness and a balance between form and lyrical impulse that’s totally satisfying. The brook flows untroubled and the finale is quite lovely, with a wonderfully expansive climax.
The Schubert dates from the end of Böhm’s recording career. It’s a superb version of this lovely symphony, another work that suited Böhm especially well. The reading is weighty but graceful, with a most beautifully phrased Andante (worthy of a Furtwängler), a bold Minuet and a thrilling finale. The recording is splendid. If you admire Böhm this is a worthy way to remember his special gifts.