1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Oh Great - Uncle Karl is Coming to Dinner Tonight . . . .,
This review is from: J. Haydn - Die Jahreszeiten H.21 (Audio CD)
Whenever Uncle Karl waddles out to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic, one can visualise the slippers and night-gown - and who knows: perhaps there is a comfy hot-water bottle at hand to avert the cold. A middle of the road reading normally ensues. Cadbury or Hershey's could almost sponsor the event. He can be a different beast with the Berlin Philharmonic. Here in this celebrated recording of Die Jahreszeiten, recorded across 1967, he is accompanied by the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra. Where does it sit in the scheme of things?
To my ears, this well recorded survey is alert, pert and that's about it. Uncle Karl moves things along at a spruce pace. And yet it is seriously lacking in chutzpah. One never senses the composer's intention to allegorise the Seasons and thereby make a cosmological statement. Key moments such as the oboe as prophet in the introduction to Summer; the Cavatina in Autumn; the End of Days introduction to Winter and the evocation of the Last Judgement in the closing bars are all a touch prosaic. On the evidence here, the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra stokes the `Neville Marriner' facet of Bohm's art.
For what my views are worth - tuppence and dust - I much prefer the Karajan from November 1972 (Haydn: Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons)). This is Haydn as Ecclesiastes: there is a time for everything under the sun. Karajan's mastery of the infintesimal delay underwrites the venture. While a remaster would not hurt it, it's one of the last recordings that Herbie made in the Jesus Christus Church so it still sounds pretty damn good. True, Janowitz is five years younger in the Bohm version but Herbie elicits a more wondrous response from the soprano who luxuriates in the slower tempi. Walter Berry is far preferable to Matti Tavela. And the Berlin Philharmonic forecloses Creation as only it can do in the closing bars.
I cannot remember the last Bohm performance that grabbed me by the maracas. Next