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Beethoven: Symphonies 3 & 9: 3 Overtures

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Bohm
  • Audio CD (1 Oct. 1999)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000001GHL
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 429,668 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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6
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Disc 2
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5
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Format: Audio CD
There are a number of really good recordings of Beethoven's Third Symphony, the "Eroica" -- Bernstein's with the NYPO, Jochum's with the Concertgebouw, Klemperer's with the Philharmonia among them -- but Bohm's recording with the VPO from the early 1970's is up there with them. Bohm has the gift of never seeming to rush things but never seeming slack either. Rhythmically, he's very strong, and the DG engineers gave him excellent sound, especially in their balancing of the lower brass and strings (whence the rhythmic solidity) with the middle and upper ranges of the higher instruments. The effect is a little bit like Klemperer, moderate and solid, and beautifully phrased, but Klemperer liked to highlight his woodwinds a bit more than Bohm does, so that Bohm's sound is a wee bit more integrated than Klemperer's. That's not a criticism of either -- these are great conductors and their Eroicas are superb. Bohm's slow movement is warmly played, sounding a bit less relentless than Klemperer's, but expressively rich nonetheless with its plangent phrasing. The horns in the trio of the scherzo movement are a delight, and in the final movement Bohm brings out at the start the Haydnesque side of Beethoven, but then the humor of that is amazingly (as the variations continue) complicated when Beethoven brings up reminiscences of the first two movements, where humor isn't the point at all. Like Jochum in this respect, Bohm makes clear what an amazingly bold piece of writing that Eroica finale is,

This DG Duo also has a recording of the Ninth -- a symphony that Bohm would record again, digitally, at the very end of his life, about ten years after this recording. This one is very good but is maybe a bit tamer than it might be.
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Format: MP3 Download
This interpretation of the 9th is a very good one. If it happens to have been the recording one first became acquainted with, you are grateful that it hadn't been some other one since it is always the first recording on hears of a particular work which makes the greatest impression and affords the best insights. My complaint is with the download: several of the movements cut off before the music is finished. It is a great pity. How do you contact Amazon over the quality of their downloads? Best to stick to ordering the CD.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 25 reviews
56 of 62 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Ninth, but... 10 July 2001
By A. Michaelson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I really adore Bohm as a great conductor of Mozart, but I was somewhat suspect of his Beethoven. In my opinion, Beethoven works best at fast tempos, and Bohm is notorious for his rather moderate to slow tempos. I picked up this CD from amazon just a few months ago based on the reviews that it had gotten. Other Bohm/Beethoven CDs that I owned were somewhat of a debacle, with some outrageously slow tempos during moments that should have been played quickly. Still, I bought this 2-CD set, and when it arrived I put on the ninth first. I was rather surprised at the marvelous job Bohm did with this symphony. His moderate tempo and expressive performance is somewhat reminiscent of Furtwangler's great performance. It turned out that it was one of the better ninths in my collection(I still prefer Karajan's recording from his first Beethoven cycle). Next I put on the Third and the overtures, and found that these were even better. Bohm brings out many of the great romantic aspects of this revolutionary and heroic symphony. He also does a great job with the overtures. However, there are some flaws which prevent me from giving this CD 5 stars. First of all, I've heard better singers in the final movement of the Ninth. Second, despite the fact that the more moderate tempos work very well, I still believe the faster tempos work the best, and though this performance is thoroughly enjoyable, I must still choose Karajan's versions as my personal references for beethoven's ninth and third. Lastly, the sound quality isn't too great. I've heard older recordings than this one with clearer and louder sound. Deutsche Grammophon could have done a better job with remastering these discs to improve the sound quality. Overall though, the performances are solid and very enjoyable. This 2-cd set should be a welcome addition to anybody's classical collection.
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two, two, two great performances in one! 18 July 2001
By Ed Brickell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I don't know why everyone is fussing about this performance of the Third. It's the equal of most I've heard, and a darn sight better than many.
The Ninth, however, seems to be the performance everyone is buying this 2-CD set for, and there is no doubt it's a special one. The singing does seem a bit too forwardly balanced in the finale, but that's just nitpicking. It is a highly emotional reading without any artificial "whipping up" of sentiment. This music was food, drink, and air to Bohm, and it's in the orchestra's very blood. And my god, what an orchestra!
While listening to Gardiner and his hell-bent-for-leather "authentic" kinsmen is like a shove into a bracingly cold pool, Bohm is like taking a measured stroll through a spectacular cathedral. Both approaches are enjoyable to me, and having heard both, I wouldn't want one without the other. Beethoven's music is too big to insist on any one "right" way to perform it.
Buy this CD for not just one, but TWO outstanding performances --and at budget price.
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional performance - the best I've heard on disk. 4 Aug. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
A great performance. I've gone through a number of recordings of Beethoven's ninth - on vinyl and CD. This one is my favorite; although recorded in 1972, the sound is clear. Bohm's tempos are right on; the orchestra is tight; the soloists sound pumped and the choir soars. The finale makes you jump! They really nailed it! You never feel like you're a passenger on a top-heavy ship in roiling seas - which is the feeling I've experienced listening to some other emotionally unbridled performances. I will never tire of listening to this CD.
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soon to be a lost treasure 15 Jan. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
While some criticism of Bohm's Beethoven Symphonies relate to his tempi being too slow, I nevertheless discovered that one of my biggest considerations in choosing a Beethoven conductor, (I do own others like Reiner, Hogwood, Toscanini), turned out to be over the timpani, not the tempo. I don't know about your ears, but I can't stand listening to Beethoven Symphonies by the supposed great conductors with out-of-tune musicians and timpani that sound like dead pots! Funny thing about this underrated conductor, Karl Bohm, his musicans are always in-tune and the timpani always resonate as an integral and balanced part of the orchestra and the score. Also important to me in choosing a conductor, Bohm consistently manages to bring a presence and sense of drama to these works that the so-called great conductors often fail to achieve. I'm not an expert, but maybe, that's the best part of his operatic skill coming through. P.S. Deutsche Gramophon no longer lists these Bohm recordings of the Beethoven cycle, as available.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great 'Eroica,' Classic Ninth 20 July 2009
By AJLee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Bohm picks a moderate tempo for the 3rd Symphony, and this is typical Bohm performance: calculated, firm, and unsentimental. This 'Eroica' shares much of the grandeur found in Klemperer's version. However, ultimately Klemperer, with his marginally slower tempi but grittier execution, produces a more granitic and "heroic" sound that is more to my liking. While not the greatest, it is a very wonderful reading, and a fine example of 'Eroica' going (moderately) slow.

The features that make this Ninth classic are balance, poise, and intensity. I believe Bohm, here, has found the perfect balance between Classical grandeur and Romantic emotional sensitivity. The first mvmt. is slower than most versions, but the formidable sonority produced by Vienna Phil more than makes up for the lack of speed, and this is in fact the most intense 1st mvmt. I've heard. Incidentally, as Mr. Hurwitz has pointed out, the monstrous recapitulation in major key is superbly executed, with the trumpets resounding aggressively--almost terrifyingly so.

And I absolutely love how Bohm ignites the orchestra and chorus into white-hot intensity in the final Presto section and brings the whole piece to its highest emotional plateau. Again, allow me to compare Bohm to Klemperer. Similar to Bohm, Klemperer takes his time to brew up some impressive tension, but in the Presto he uses too much restrain, and as a result the joyous feeling doesn't soar quite like Bohm's.

Overall these are very emotionally complete versions of the 'Eroica' and Ninth, and prime examples of the "old-school", traditional Germanic approach to Beethoven.
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