Saturday, November 20, 2010

Johannes Brahms - Symphonies 1-3 - Eugen Jochum, LPO (stereo)







Jochum's readings of the first three Brahms Symphonies are lithe, sinewy performances with flexible tempi and phrasing that seem almost to presage the practices of the 'authentic' performers. Compared to Szell in this repertoire, for example, I find these Jochum readings to be just a bit less complacent, more heterogeneous and more spontaneous. Incisiveness is not Jochum's main objective (Furtwangler was Jochum's mentor, after all) while expressive leeway Johannes Brahmsis.

In the First Symphony, Jochum is not afraid to whip up a tempo here and there,  the coda of the Finale of the First Symphony being a good example. Some of the dynamic crescendos in the slow movement take one by surprise initially but come to seem natural after repeated hearings. By contrast, Jochum paces the third movement so that the climax does not run away from him.

The natural way in which the first movement of the Second Symphony unfolds is totally disarming. There's charm here balanced with virility and Jochum does not hesitate to bend tempi to increase expressive effect. On first hearing, the Finale of the Second Symphony seems to be a bit lightweight but the tempo is Allegro con spirito and Jochum is content to let the music speak for itself without imposing any preconceived heroism.

In the Third Symphony, the relative shortness of phrasing (compared with Szell) is apparent throughout. There's less of a heroic stride here than with Szell but more litheness and spontaneity. The relative objectivity of the third movement is most striking. Among versions that I've heard, Bruno Walter's seems closest to Jochum's approach to this symphony although Jochum is more volatile.

In total, these performances are hard to resist. Given the excellence of the remastered analogue and the fine performances of the two overtures, this is a highly recommendable, nay, essential reissue.



ape, covers


  1. Nice upload. I have Jochum's late Brahms 1 and 4 downloaded somewhere. Especially the 1st is really nice. Do you have the 4th of this EMI series? Thanks.

  2. Thanks for this extraordinary music!

    Part 3 is missing - can you upload it, please? Very much appreciated!

  3. Wonderful! Thank you for all your time and effort!



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