Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 35, 36, 38 - 41: Karl Bohm, Berlin Philharmonic (2 CDs)
Mozart: Symphony No. 35 in D major, K385 'Haffner' Symphony No. 36 in C major, K425 'Linz' Symphony No. 38 in D major, K504 'Prague' Symphony No. 39 in E flat major, K543 Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K550 Symphony No. 41 in C major, K551 'Jupiter'
“These performances come from the first ever complete set of Mozart symphonies (reviewed above), and they still represent 'big orchestra' Mozart at its most congenial. The contrast between Böhm's sparkling Mozart, both elegant and vigorous, and the much smoother view taken by Karajan on his countless recordings with the same orchestra, works almost entirely in Böhm's favour here. Interpretatively, these are performances very much of their time, with exposition repeats the exception (as in the first movement of No 40) and with minuets taken at what now seem like lumbering speeds. However, the slow movements certainly flow easily enough, and finales bounce along infectiously. Consistently they convey the happy ease of Böhm in Mozart, even if the recording is beefy by today's standards, not as transparent as one now expects in this repertory, whether on modern or period instruments. There's some inconsistency between the different recordings, all made in the Jesus-Christus Kirche in Berlin. The best sound comes from the sessions in 1966 for the Linz and No 39 – satisfyingly full without any perceptible edginess on violins – and the least good from 1959 for the Prague, where high violins sound rather fizzy. Yet the very precision of the CD transfers encourages one to highlight such points. In practice most collectors will find the sound more than acceptable enough in all six symphonies to convey the warmth of Böhm in Mozart without distraction.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010