'The Little Road to Bethlehem' Michael Head
David Mellor, Sunday 28 June 7-9pm
This week David Mellor presents a show dedicated to the extraordinary Austrian conductor Karl Böhm, most acclaimed for his close collaboration with his friend, the composer Richard Strauss.
Born in 1894, Böhm got his first major break at the age of 27 when he was engaged by the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. Six years later he was appointed as chief musical director in Darmstadt, and then from 1931 to 1934 he worked at the Hamburg opera company.
In 1933, Böhm conducted in Vienna for the first time, in Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde. It was in Vienna that Böhm conducted the first performances of a number of operas and other works by Richard Strauss, including his Horn Concerto No. 2. Böhm secured a top post at the Vienna State Opera in 1943, eventually becoming music director. On the occasion of the 80th birthday of Strauss, on 11 June 1944, Böhm conducted the Vienna State Opera in a performance of Ariadne auf Naxos.
Böhm's was a major player internationally throughout the 1950s. In 1957 he made his debut at the Met in New York and quickly became one of the favorite conductors of the era, conducting 262 performances. He made his debut at the Bayreuth Festival in 1962 with Tristan and Isolde, which he conducted until 1970. His Wagner appearances at Bayreuth resulted in critically acclaimed recordings of the Ring and Tristan.
Late in life, Böhm began a guest-conducting relationship with the London Symphony Orchestra. Several recordings were made with the orchestra for Deutsche Grammophon and he was given the title of LSO President, which he held until his death. During the 1970s, he led performances at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.
Tonight, enjoy two hours of some of Böhm’s finest recordings, including great works by Beethoven, Mozart, Johann Strauss the Younger, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Haydn. And David will be sharing his insights into what made Böhm such a remarkable conductor.