Eugen Jochum - Central Website (Revised)

Bruckner interpretations: my favorites

Eugen Jochum around 1982

Anton Bruckner: the Symphonies

Comparing the many recorded Bruckner performances of Eugen Jochum should mean: studying each with score, preferrably also with a copy of the score Eugen Jochum used himself, and note every difference between the performances. It is not really possible to do with less.
As I am not a professional musician, that is really a bridge to far for me. Therefore, I'll have to restrain myself just to presenting a commented list of my own favorites.

A characteristic of all Bruckner recordings of Eugen Jochum is his outstanding way of dealing with decrescendo's. A crescendo seems relatively easy, but how to get rid of it in a neat way in just a few bars? Eugen Jochum commanded this technique perfectly.
As soon as I drew up the list, I noted that the recordings on it all have a kind of unexpectedness. The live-recordings just because they are live-recordings. The Dresden recordings, however, because of the combined spontaneousness and rawness.
The way in which Eugen Jochum deals with the tempi (often criticised) adds a special flavour of improvisando. In reality, he carefully included this in his performances, as he learned in München from Sigmund von Hausegger.

The recording of Bruckner 1 from Dresden is simply better than the earlier recording.

The recording of the Bruckner 2 from Dresden is very moving and romantic: an outstanding performance (compare the Andante with any other recorded performance!).

For Bruckner 3 and Bruckner 4, I am not able to fix my choice yet.

On the Bruckner 5, I already left some comments here. I'll stick to my preference for the outstanding 1964 recording above the 1986 Amsterdam recording, although the "Last Concert in Amsterdam" has a magic quality never surpassed before or after.

For the favorite performance of Bruckner 6, the choice was between the Concertgebouw and Dresden. Where the Amsterdam performance is joyful and spontaneous, the Dresden performance adds an lasting intensity in the Adagio.

On the Bruckner 7, I already left some comments here (on the target page, please scroll down to the bottom).

For Bruckner 8, three recordings are competing for the championship: Berlin 1964, Dresden 1976 and Amsterdam 1984. The Berlin recording has as speciality a deeply felt intensity of the Allegro moderato, not encountered in other performances. But I find both the Amsterdam and Dresden performances to be more emotional in the Adagio (this is also a great quality in the performance of the Bamberger from 1982 in Tokyo). The earthquake-like explosions recorded in Dresden tip the balance for me to that performance. The beginning of the Finale is illustrative. Recommended!

And the last one: compare the brass in Dresden's Bruckner 9 with those of the Berliner Philharmoniker: the Dresden brass sometimes seems to go wild! However, the Adagio calls for a supreme nobility in the performance that was recorded much better in Berlin 1977 than in Dresden in 1978. A remarkable detail: between these recordings lie only 6 weeks.

Bruckner 1 Staatskapelle Dresden EMI 1978-12-11/15
Bruckner 2 Staatskapelle Dresden EMI 1980-07-04/08
Bruckner 5 Concertgebouworkest Philips 1964-05-30/31
Bruckner 6 Concertgebouworkest Tahra 1980-11-02
Bruckner 7 Concertgebouworkest Altus 1986-09-17
Bruckner 8 Staatskapelle Dresden EMI 1976-11-03/07
Bruckner 9 Berliner Philharmoniker Palexa 1977-11-28

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