Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Anton Bruckner, Eugen Jochum, Dresden Staatskapelle|
Bruckner: Symphony No. 5, WAB105; Symphony in A No. 6, WAB106
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Good, authoritative Bruckner under Eugen Jochum
Kenji Fujishima | East Brunswick, NJ USA | 09/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Eugen Jochum's vision of Anton Bruckner is uniquely Romantic and spontaneous-sounding, and one can sample his style in these massive works with this two-disc set coupling Jochum's EMI performances of Bruckner's Fifth and Sixth Symphonies with the Staatskapelle Dresden.
They are both good performances. This performance of the Fifth is by turns broadly dramatic yet lyrical (the well-done second movement Adagio is a good case in point, especially at its initial grave tempo), and it fully conveys Jochum's fondness for this particular work. I think Jochum's unmarked tempo change at the very end of the work---as the glorious brass chorale approaches---is too jarring to be totally effective; otherwise most of Jochum's subjective manipulations of tempo and dynamics come off convincingly, even adding to the work's daring and drama. The Staatskapelle Dresden play with power and bite, although without quite the magical clarity they bring to the same piece in a much more recent DG recording under the late Giuseppe Sinopoli. Still, if the playing is not note-perfect, the spirit of the score comes over forcefully, and that is what really matters. In short, this is a very good performance that should convince most listeners of the greatness of this particular symphony.
Jochum's performance of the underrated Sixth Symphony should also do the same. I admittedly do not listen to this piece as much as I do his Fourth, Fifth, or Eighth Symphonies, but I was once again struck by Bruckner's sheer joyfulness and confidence as I listened to this performance. The second movement Adagio is the high point: spiritually moving at a very slow tempo, with the Staatskapelle Dresden strings playing radiantly in its uplifting second subject. The other three movements are reasonably well-done, even if I think they could be taken a little slower and steadier (the first movement, for example is marked "Maestoso", but majesty is not what we sense in Jochum's fairly quick opening tempo). Still, this is overall a compelling performance of a symphony that is not played very often but should at least be recognized for the small masterpiece that it is.
Eugen Jochum was a man who felt a special affinity for the works of Anton Bruckner, and these two performances dazzlingly display that special bond he felt, providing committed performances that fully realize his unique but authoritative vision of these two symphonic masterpieces. Recommended."
Vicky J. Hilgers | Mulvane, Kansas USA | 05/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is as pumped as I would ever want to hear this symphony, but at times I like it this way. I own and like six 5th's so I can pick the one for my moods."
Fine for Jochum's fans, but others should tread carefully
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 06/05/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Eugen Jochum made his first Bruckner cycle for DG in the Fifties and early Sixties but was such a specialist that EMI felt justified in bringing him back for a second cycle from Dresden in the Seventies. The sonics improved, but strangely, the usually refined and restrained sound of the Staatskapelle Dresden became coarse and imprecise under him. Jochum's way with Bruckner was highly subjective, featuring idiosyncratic accelerandos, explosive fortissimos, and abrupt gear changes. One might superficially compare his approach to Furtwangler's, but there is an order of magnitude difference in their talent, and devotees of Frutwangler realize that his seeming spontaneity often represented a carefully thought out interpretation that remained essentially the same over the years. For me, Jochum's reputation in Bruckner is a holdover from an era when only a few conductors championed the composer's entire output (Furtwangler himself thought that only the Seventh was formally completely satisfying), and there is no doubting Jochum's sincere advocacy.
I've made my way through both cycles but only reluctantly reviewed them, given my general lack of enthusiasm. Here I'm prompted by two earlier raves for tis bargain two-fer that pairs the Fifth and Sixth Sym., neither of which could be called popular successes. The Fifth is a mine field of traps, with is disjointed structure, episodic finale, and segmented eruptions of sound that only the greatest conductors can make coherent. I suspected that Jochum would have a field day here, flailing at random and injecting whatever mood he happened to be in. but the first coarse, blatty brass entries put me off so much that I had little desire to follow the course of is argument in the first movement. In truth it proceeds in stolid fashion with alternating thunderous climaxes, solemn chorales, and punchy fast passages -- a mishmash but played, at least, for grandeur.
At 19 min. Jochum's Adagio is one of the slower I know (begging comparison with Celibidache and Karajan), and it proceeds steadily, with no great sensitivity except for the sheen of the Dresden strings. Nothing can be taken exception to, but the conductor can't link phrases into a whole very well. Still, the natural eloquence of Bruckner's writing shines through -- I'd call this movement a success. The Scherzo is raucous, every phrase punched out with unpleasant aggressiveness. Bruckner's finale has always been a problem because it recapitulates earlier material without finding its own coherent identity. Here Jochum's segmented reading is no worse than many others, and each episode moves stolidly forward, with no real highs and lows, except for more coarse explosions.
The Sixth carries a hoary reputation for being underplayed and underrated, but in modern times it appears frequently enough on concert programs. Jochum's first movement is choppy and impatient, and the explosive brass outdoes itself in baltty crudeness. The Adagio has always been considered the Sixth's crowning moment, and the Dresden strings give a good account. Jochum holds the music together with some passion. Knowing his patterns, I wasn't surprised that Jochum tiptoes into the Scherzo, only to set loose loud bombs of fortissimos. The effect is ugly and unmusical, and it doesn't improve with repetition in every symphony. Jochum clearly disagrees, since he plunges into the Finale, taken a clip, with the same strategy.
In all, despite the two satisfactory Adagios, these two readings hardly rise to the standards of Jochum's notable rivals, from Furtwangler and Klmeperer to Karajan and Harnoncourt. Three stars is generous."