Next to all the great Symphonies of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Bruckner, Eugen Jochum devoted much time to the Opera. At the start of his career, he conducted opera every night. This was customary for Germany in those years: Otto Klemperer has a similar start. Within a few years, the young conductors had an enormous opera-repertoire in their portfolio.
The opera-recordings of the pre-war years consists of parts from opera's of Wagner and Von Weber. Complete acts (such as recorded by Karl Muck and Bruno Walter) are not preserved for Eugen Jochum. It is only from 1944 onwards, that new recording techniques allow for recordings of complete operas.
The recording of Cosi fan tutte was considered as a model in the years following its publication and for many years afterwards. Nowadays, the recording excels by its sheer beauty of sound. Unfortunately, this recording is not available anymore.
Contrary to this, the DG-recording of the Entführung has been more or less permanently available. Surely, this is effect is enhanced by the casting of Fritz Wunderlich (and Kurt Böhme as Osmin). But the direction of Eugen Jochum should be heard to be believed (it was the first recording in my Jochum-collection).
Surprisingly, a bootleg of the Zauberflöte, probably performed in Berlin, was issued in the USA. No specific information goes with this recording.
In Amsterdam, it was not unusual to perform an opera without costumes and decor in the great hall of the Concertgebouw, simply because before 1980 their was no convenient opera-theatre in Amsterdam. From one such concerts excerpts of La Clemenza di Tito with Nan Merriman were preserved.
Surprisingly, a recording of Ariadne auf Naxos emerged from a Chicago performance in 1964. I have no additional information about this recording.
In 2002, Preiser issued a live-performance dating from München (1951) of Daphne with Annelies Kupper. This recording had already been available on vinyl.
The high quality of the tape recordings of pre-war German engineers is legendary. An example is the recording of Elektra,dating back to 1944. Once attributed to Hans Schnidt-Isserstedt, it is now safely established that Eugen Jochum conducted this remarkable performance (still available from Acanta).
So three complete Strauß-opera's have been recorded: all are live recordings. Next to this, Eugen Jochum recorded for DG, Philips and Eurodisc some Walzer-fragments from the Rosenkavalier.
The most recent addition is the Tanz der 7 Schleier from Salome with the Berliner Philharmoniker, apparently dating from 1937. The source of the recording is unknown to me. As no Telefunken recording of this work is known, is seems to be a live-recording from a concert or opera-performance.
In 1937 Eugen Jochum made several journeys with the Berliners both within Germany and abroad, but the complete list of concerts given in 1936, 1937 and 1938 does not mention this work as performed during a concert. It could come from the performance of the complete opera, but that is only a guess.
A great Wagner conductor he was, and he used to be valued as such. From the beginning of his life until the end he conducted Wagner. Several (life) recordings bear witness to the fact that Eugen Jochum indeed was one of the more important Wagner conductors.
Lohengrin, Meistersinger, Parsifal and Tristan conducted by Eugen Jochum are preserved as (issued) complete recordings. An unissued life - recording of the 1973 Bayreuth Parsifal was broadcasted in Japan, the 1971 performance was published by Melodram. Lohengrin and Meistersinger are available as commercial recordings by DGG, besides both being available also as life - recordings. The Tristan and Lohengrin life - recordings are from Bayreuth performances, the Meistersinger life - recording stems from a 1949 Munich performance. Even a Parsifal conducted in Rome (1956) has been preserved and recently issued.
The DG-Lohengrin of 1952 has been dubbed on CD by Preiser and is still available.
The Lohengrin 1954 is really an experience. Alan Blythe (Gramophone july 2005, p. 101) commented as follows:
"I earnestly wish I could have been at Bayreuth on the evening of the 1954 Festival when the Eugen Jochum performance was broadcast, caught on the wing for posterity".
"Much of the credit goes to Jochum who conducts a quite blinding interpretation from first to last..."
"...Jochum and his forces in 1954 offer an overwhelming experience not to be missed by any Wagner lover".
Several exerpts from Wagner opera's were released by Telefunken, DG and Philips. The last company released (on the Fontana label) a selection of 5 Wagner excerpts with the Bavarian Broadcast Orchestra, including a very intense performance of Tristan parts. This particular performance counts, in my opinion, among the highlights of the Jochum discography. It has been re-released, together with other excerpts from the same LP, by Tahra (TAH 257/8 - 2CD) in 1998.
The pre-war Wagner recordings by Telefunken are remarkable for the intensity of the preformances. However, only a Tannhäuser Prelude has been issued on CD so far. This is as yet a truly unknown part of the Jochum legacy.
Beethovens Fidelio and Bizets Carmen are among the recent archival findings. Both are available in nicely priced editions with a remarkable sound quality. The Carmen (sung in German) is truly elektrifying!
A German-sung recording of Verdis Othello was published by Melodram on LP and recently by Walhall on CD.
The Freischütz is among the "classical" recordings of Eugen Jochum. It is over and again re-issued by DG. Other recordings by Jochum of works of Von Weber are only preludes: Abu Hassan, Euryanthe and Oberon, where especially the last recording of Oberon that has been preserved (1980) is noteworthy.
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