Bruckner: Symphony No. 5 / Mozart: Symphony No. 36 (“Linz”) – The Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam conducted by Eugen Jochum
Eugen Jochum was a modest man who did not use the media to draw attention to himself but rather to document his musical intentions. And right from the very beginning he focussed on magnitude. Aged only 23, he made his debut in Munich with Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 and so laid the foundations for his lifelong devotion to the Austrian composer’s works, as is demonstrated by his complete recording of the Symphonies that was made during the years 1958–1967. The present account of the Fifth Symphony was recorded roughly half way through his thorough exploration and study of Bruckner’s symphonic works. From the very beginning, the Concertgebouw Orchestra strides majestically towards the Finale with its sonorous brass sound in the chorale, and fugal sections. A divine atmosphere is guaranteed – quite literally – by the work being performed in the hallowed halls of the Benedictine Abbey in Ottobeuren to celebrate its foundation 1200 years ago.
Jochum’s fresh and scholarly account of Mozart’s “Linz” Symphony reminds us of his superb mastery of the Viennese Classics. The music, which ranges from festive cheerfulness to abrupt gloominess, is resolutely conducted – with the happy result that the hackneyed image of Jochum as an otherworldly specialist of the Romantic era is completely abolished. Measured against the conductor’s self-concept as a universal medium for expressing the ideas of the great maestros, the present recording is a befitting portrait of his superb versatility on the rostrum.
Recording: May 1964 at Benedictiner Abbey, Ottobeuren, Germany, by Henk Jansen
Production: Jaap van Ginneken