The Lost Recordings – Karl Böhm

The Lost Recordings writes: “We’re thrilled to announce the pre-order of « Karl Böhm – The Unreleased Berlin Recordings 1962, » a first edition of this never-before-heard masterpiece!

Recorded in the acoustically celebrated Saal 1 of the Berlin broadcasting corporation, this double vinyl release brings to life Böhm’s profound interpretation of Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 and Strauss’s « Death and Transfirguration » with the Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.

GERMAN LEGEND AND LEGACY

Karl Böhm was 68 years old when, on 29 October 1962, he took up the baton in the legendary Saal 1 (Studio 1) of the broadcasting corporation on Kaiserdamm Strasse in Berlin to conduct the Radio-Symphonie-Orchester. The programme comprised Symphony No. 4 by Johannes Brahms and Tod und Verklärung (“Death and Transfiguration”), a tone poem by Richard Strauss. For decades, Böhm had finely worked each melodic line, each harmony, each tempo.

Born in 1894 in Graz, Austria, Karl Böhm lived through most of the twentieth century, leaving us an oeuvre which honours both the traditions of German music and the outstanding treasures of the finest musical aesthetics of his century. Böhm began his musical studies at the conservatoire of Graz before going on to Vienna to study under Eusebius Mandyczevski, a composer, musicologist and close friend of Brahms. In 1921, under the guidance of Bruno Walter, his career truly took off when he entered the Munich Opera. With his volatile temperament, irascibility, and a perfectionism that left him perpetually dissatisfied, he tended to terrify the musicians, who nicknamed him “Herr Doktor.”

His encounter with Richard Strauss in 1931 in Hamburg heralded the start of an artistic collaboration – one as rare as it was prolific – that continued until Strauss died in 1949. Perhaps it was thanks to this relationship in particular that Böhm gained his unique mastery of tempo, balance and colours. Christa Ludwig, the great mezzo soprano, threw light on this aspect when she said, “With him, we could always detect the value of the notes…”

DISCOVERY OF THE ORIGINAL TAPES

After more than sixty years, the Berlin original tapes of these unforgettable recordings have been meticulously restored, bringing to light the warmth and brilliance of Böhm’s performance. With the first and second movements of Brahms’s Symphony No. 4 carefully cut on separate sides to optimize sound quality, this release promises an audio experience for one of the first stereo recordings in music history.

Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration), one of Strauss’s early tone poems, is performed with a clarity and emotional depth that only Böhm could achieve. Having lived in Strauss’s world, Böhm brings a unique interpretation to this work, navigating through the dying artist’s final hours with a mastery that is both clear and deeply moving.

This double vinyl release of KARL BÖHM – THE UNRELEASED BERLIN RECORDINGS 1962 not only pays homage to a legendary conductor but also offers listeners a chance to experience an adventure into sound and metaphysics with a supremely masterful guide at its helm.

RECORD 1
JOHANNES BRAHMS
Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98
I. Allegro non troppo
II. Andante moderato
RECORD 2
JOHANNES BRAHMS
Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98
III. Allegro giocoso
IV. Allegro energico e passionato

RICHARD STRAUSS
Death and Transfiguration, Op. 24

Karl Böhm, Conductor
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra

Recorded on 29.IX.1962-01.X.1962
Saal 1, RBB, Berlin, Germany
1st edition, hand-numbered: 2000 copies
33 rpm Lacquer-cuts: Kevin Gray
180g 2-vinyl album
Pressed by Simon Garcia, Marciac
STEREO ℗ 1962 RBB
Remastered from the original analog tapes
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