Eugen Jochum: Choral Recordings On Philips
- Unit Price
Eugen Jochumâ€™s complete recordings of choral / sacred music for Philips collected together for the first time, including the rare Rudolf Mengelberg Magnificat.
Even as the period-instrument movement gathered momentum during the 1960s, Jochum refused to relinquish Bach to historical specialists. He wrote an extensive essay on the interpretation of Bachâ€™s St. Matthew Passion in the 1960s. â€˜Even nearer to my heart,â€™ he said, â€˜is the B minor Mass, the most spiritual work in the repertory.â€™ For Philips he recorded the four great pillars of Bachâ€™s sacred music between 1958 (B minor Mass) and 1973 (Christmas Oratorio). His interpretations tread a scrupulous, devotional middle way between stylistic traditions: â€˜I don't think it matters too much if you use a large or a small choir, old or new instruments; what they must be is lively and dramatic. Expression is the heart of the matterâ€™.
The understanding of dance rhythm and momentum which distinguish Jochumâ€™s Bruckner performances also inflect his Bach recordings, notably enhanced by his ability to get singers to engage with the meaning of the text. Jochum established his Wagnerian credentials early in his career with a superb Tannhauser, and his passions extended far beyond music for the church and concert-hall. He had a huge musical personality, but what continues to impress across his discography is his ability to know when and how to apply the components of that personality to the repertoire at hand. This master of rubato could stick with a lively and steady tempo to great effect in the great choral fugues of Haydnâ€™s Creation and Beethovenâ€™s Missa solemnis, and this master of forward motion also knew when to stop and let the music breathe, in the Beethovenâ€™s â€˜Sanctus-Benedictusâ€™ above all.
This Eloquence box is offered as a companion to Jochumâ€™s complete orchestral recordings for Philips. It is enhanced by some of the finest Bach singers of their day â€“ Ernst Haefliger, Walter Berry and Agnes Giebel notable among them â€“ and the superb principals of the Concertgebouw such as Han de Vries (oboe), Hubert Barwahser (flute) and Anner Bijlsma (cello), all of whom went on to pursue careers as solo-musicians. The Christmas Oratorio and The Creation feature the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and local choirs, with whom Jochum had enjoyed a fruitful relationship since becoming their principal conductor in 1949.
Niek Nelissen provides the insightful notes, including fascinating observations surrounding the recording sessions, and the booklet is enhanced with several rare photographs.
â€œThis performance is shaped by a first-class musician. The choral lines, as for example in the great fugue of the Kyrie, are moulded with loving care â€¦ The orchestra is unfailingly eloquent, and special praise is due to the various instrumental soloists.â€� High Fidelity, October 1958 (Bach: Mass in B minor)
â€œA soft gently and dignified approach to the score that stresses its contemplative aspects.â€� Choral Music on Record, 1991 (Bach: Mass in B minor)
â€œJochum has apparently chosen the â€˜bigâ€™ approach. And yet, despite the size of his performing bodies, he has avoided the pitfall of having them get lost in a mass of sound, by the expedient of keeping them moving.â€� Stereo Review, December 1958 (Bach: Mass in B minor)
â€œThe best St. Matthew Passion I have ever heard! The best choro-orchestral album of 1967!â€� Cincinnati Enquirer (Bach: St. Matthew Passion)
â€œA performance of considerable mass and scope â€¦ Haefliger is a very good Evangelist, skilled and understanding. Berry is in excellent form, rich-voiced and steady; he introduces more colour into his role than other performers of the part on records, stressing the human side of Jesus â€¦ Very good sound throughout.â€� High Fidelity, January 1968 (Bach: St. Matthew Passion)
â€œThe vocalists, it must be said, are among the best one could hear in any Bach Passion today; particularly admirable is Ernst Haefliger, who as the Evangelist provides drama, rhetoric, and sensitivity.â€� Stereo Review, March 1968 (Bach: St. Matthew Passion)
â€œA loving, supple, dramatic and colourful reading, with much ebb and flow.â€� Choral Music on Record, 1991 (Bach: St. Matthew Passion)
â€œA superbly convincing performance of the closing pages â€¦ Thrilling singing â€¦ A profound experience fully worthy of the music.â€� Gramophone, April 1968 (Bach: St. John Passion)
â€œSincere and deeply felt â€¦ The soloists are an experienced set vocally and always good to hear.â€� Gramophone, April 1985 (Bach: St. John Passion)
John Mauceri; The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra; Julie Andrews
Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt; LSO; Alfred Brendel
Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt; VPO; LSO; Sutherland; Backhaus
Heinz Rehfuss; Hans Willi HÃ¤usslein; Frank Martin
The Cambridge Singers/Rutter
The Cambridge Singers/Rutter
The Cambridge Singers
Cantores Sancti Nicolai Men's Choir, Justyna Hanusiak
Mirko Guadagnini; Intende Voci Ensemble; Orchestra Canova
The Harmonious Society of Tickle-Fiddle Gentlemen
Flanders Boys Choir; Dieter Van Handenhoven & Ensemble