Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Ludwig van Beethoven, Eugen Jochum, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra|
Beethoven: The 9 Symphonies [Box Set]
No Description Available. Genre: Classical Music Media Format: Compact Disk Rating: Release Date: 13-FEB-2007
No Description Available.
Genre: Classical Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Release Date: 13-FEB-2007
One of the finest Beethoven sets ever recorded.
RENS | Dover, NH USA | 04/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a lover of music for some fifty years and a teacher of music history for some forty years, I want to testify that I have never found a set so thoroughly satisfying at every level as this one. The superb playing of the Concertgebouw Orchestra in their own hall, beautifully captured by the Philips engineers, has much to do with it, but Jochum's attention to detail and both the power and the gentleness of his interpretations have always moved me. I have owned some 20 sets of the complete Beethoven symphonies over the years. At present I own nine. I have owned this one on LP, then on audio cassettes, then on separate CDs and now as a set of CDs. I think I probably teased the gods of music into releasing this set in Europe and the USA at a bargain price, because a year or so ago I bought it from Japan via Amazon.de at twice the price. And it has been worth it, even with Japanese notes.
The DG set of the earlier Jochum DG recordings (mono and stereo) with the Berlin and Munich orchestras is lovely, but I let go of it after a few listenings because of the excellence of his stereo Concertgebouw recordings. After years of searching I finally found Jochum's third complete stereo set of the Beethoven Symphonies, recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra originally for Reader's Digest and reissued to the general public on CDs by Disky. These performances are to my mind just as fine as those with the Concertgebouw, but my deep love of what I think of as the integrity and virtuosity of the Dutch orchestra together with the matchless acoustics of their hall leads me to value the Philips recordings just a bit more. The LSO set deserves to be reissued and made available at a bargain price.
Of the most recent sets, I would recommend Haitink's recordings with the London Symphony on the LSO label - Haitink in recent years and in his old age has found a source of energy that is lacking in his earlier Beethoven (and Brahms and some Mahler) recordings. Astonishing.
One doesn't often think of Monteux in terms of Beethoven, but if one takes the time to piece together his complete recordings on DECCA (2 Double Deckers) and Westminster (the 9th on one CD), with both the Vienna Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra, it is worth every moment of the effort. I hope that Universal will see fit to reissue Monteux's brilliant and powerful Beethoven in a box set some day.
The Han Schmidt-Isserstedt / Vienna Philharmonic bargain box on DECCA, with all of the Beethoven Symphonies and Concertos (Backhaus and Szeryng), contains great performances - check it out! And Kubelik and Fricsay are not be be passed by. And, for the record, I am impressed by the late Bernstein set with the Vienna Philharmonic on DG.
There are many historic recordings to choose from. Given what I have already written, it is not surprising that I have chosen to keep the Mengelberg recordings with the Concergebouw Orchestra (and a few with the New York Philharmonic). And there are now a good number of period instrument / period style cycles available, too. I've never heard a set that I didn't like to some degree, but I keep only the Hans Bruggen set (Philips) on my shelf. Herreweghe's series is incomplete, but if ever it is finished, it may well displace the Bruggen in my estimation.
If I had to choose just one Beethoven set of the symphonies to live with, and in a few years age will require me to downsize my collection radically, I would without doubt choose the Beethoven of Jochum and the Concertgebouw to accompany me in my final years and lead me into the long, dark night."
Very fine cycle - the best of Jochum's three
Alexander Leach | Shipley, West Yorkshire United Kingdom | 02/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This set was the second of Eugen Jochum's three Beethoven symphony cycles, after his rather haywire 1950s set played by two orchestras, reissued by DG about two years ago, and his more plain later one on EMI with the LSO. This Philips one is clearly the best, and until know has only been available complete as a boxed set on expensive CDs from Japan.
It was recorded between 1967 and 1969 and sounds excellent, as one would expect being recorded in the Concertgebouw - in fact I was amazed at how good these sound, with excellent balances and no perceptible tape hiss.
The Concertgebouw in the 1960s seemed to have a slightly Francophone sound, with powerful if lean strings, and intense brass - especially the horns which occasionally aren't quite as full as listeners who tend to hear these works played by Austro-German orchestras might expect.
The performances here are very fine, with four absolute crackers: the Second, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth. The Second is in fact one of the very best I've heard, ranking alongside the recordings by conductors as diverse as Kubelik on DG, Harnoncourt and Jansons (the last one on SACD). This comes between a nicely played, enjoyable but unremarkable First and an Eroica which like Karajan's 1961 version, starts well and builds into a performance of real stature. The only minor snag is the slightly recessed quality of the horns, particularly in the last two movements.
The Fourth is nearly in the same class as the Second, beautifully played with great impetus, just a shade more relaxed than Karajan's 1961 Fourth which is perhaps a tad finer, but not by much.
The Fifth and Sixth are both good readings which just fall short of greatness - the Fifth is a fine, classical performance, very well played: the highlight is the excellent Andante, though in the Scherzo the horns again are not as full as in say Kleiber's famous DG version.
The `Pastoral' is very pleasing and again superbly played, though some might find Jochum's tempi for the opening two movements slightly leisurely. Others may simply luxuriate in the performance. This doesn't quite equal the glorious DG account by the Orchestre de Paris under Kubelik, or Klemperer's EMI CD, but this is a performance which is easy to enjoy.
Jochum is really on top form for the last three symphonies: after the fabulous Seventh (direct and superbly performed, with plenty of drama without trying to blast the listener out of his seat), the Eighth, like the Second, is one of the finest ever recorded, with superb playing, recording (excellent balances with woodwind beautifully clear) and a fine interpretation, full of stylish touches.
The Choral is performed on the grandest possible scale, with electrifying playing and fine singing from the chorus and relatively unknown Dutch soloists - sample the superb recititative from the Bible-black bass. Jochum's intrepretation here is clearly modelled on the famous ones from the WWII and post-war period, like Furtwangler's 1942 Berlin and 1954 live Philharmonia accounts - but here presented in stunning stereo. This is perhaps finer and certainly grander than Fricsay's 1958 DG version as there the chorus sound rather too distant.
I won't quite give this five stars - four and a half would be accurate. There are absolutely no misfires here, so it compares favourably to Karajan's 1960s cycle which has just as many hits (the Eroica, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh and Ninth but where the First and Pastoral disappoint) - I still strongly recommend Jochum, even as a first Beethoven cycle.
I Used to Admire Jochum, but now, I LOVE HIM!
Ralph J. Steinberg | New York, NY United States | 05/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like many music lovers, I first associated the name Eugen Jochum with the music of Bruckner. However, this set shows a true affinity with Beethoven's music, in a manner comparable to Furtwangler and Weingartner. One could in fact call Jochum's interpretive style as belonging to the Grand German Tradition of combining expressive freedom with structural awareness. Yet, like Rudolf Kempe, Jochum is no mere imitator, but rather, a CREATIVE interpreter who has clearly evolved his own ideas into a most compelling whole. Comparing this cycle with his earlier DG set of the Nine, I would say that his interpretive profile is basically the same, but executed with even greater intensity and vigor. This is not a matter of faster tempi, but of sharper emphases, greater tranparency of textures, and leaner sonorities, in short, an intensification of the features that made his earlier set outstanding. I would not want to be without the DG set, as it has its own special qualities, but if forced to choose between the two, I could choose the Philips, for its outstanding stereo sound and the consistency of using one orchestra for the whole cycle. As for the performances themselves, there is not a single weak moment in any of them; but if forced to single out a single symphony, I would have to point to the truly spiritual fervor of the "Choral" Symphony as the epitome of Jochum's almost mystical connection with Beethoven (this is VERY much a Furtwanglerian trait!). But then, there are also the motoric tension and drive of the "Eroica", the sudden sunburst of sound beginning the Finale of the Fifth, and the joyous rhythms of the Seventh (listen to the First Movement Coda for its subtle expansions and voicing of the bass passages, and compare to Weingartner and Furtwangler). It seems that Eugen Jochum clearly belongs in the ranks of the very few MASTERLY Beethoven conductors, and along with Rudolf Kempe, (and probably Joseph Keilberth, if his "Ring" is any measure)the very last representative of the German School of conducting. I'm curious to know what other listeners think of this cycle."