A middle-of-the-pack Freischutz with lovely female singing
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 08/19/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If you could have a good Der Freischutz susng entirely by women, this version from Jochum in 1959 would stand taller. The reviewer below has stars in his eyes, but 99 critics out of 100 have hailed the Carlos Kleiber set as a great recording; so far as I know, only the reviewer below has hailed this one as such. The reasons are fairly obvious on first listening. Jochum is strictly middle-of-the-road, lacking Kleiber's fire and imagination. Thats' okay--Freischutz has been a bread-and-butter opera in Germany for almost two centuries, and it's good to hear that tradition kept alive. If only Jochum didn't fall into the doldrums quite so often.
The recorded sound is good for its day, and the Bavarian orchestra is to the manner born (just don't expect them to be brilliant or thrilling). Among the leads, Irmgaard Seefried, though never totally reliable as to intonation, is a fine Agathe, and Rita Streich is even better as Annchen. Unfortunately, the opera rises and falls on its hero, Max, for whom Weber wrote a very difficult part. Richard Holm, obviously no superstar, is adequate but no better. He has a thin, penetrating tenor, as does Peter Schreier for Kleiber. Neither is ideal, but Holm sounds rather pallid and lightweight throughout.
That more or less limits how rapturous one can be about this otherwise fairly solid recording. I'd rank it somewhere below the one from Keilberth, another veteran on the same level as Jochum."