Eugen Jochum: The Choral Recordings on Philips | Australian Eloquence ELQ4842000

Eugen Jochum: The Choral Recordings on Philips

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Label: Australian Eloquence

Cat No: ELQ4842000

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 13

Genre: Vocal/Choral

Release Date: 16th April 2021

Contents

Artists

Elly Ameling (soprano)
Agnes Giebel (soprano)
Lois Marshall (soprano)
Hertha Topper (mezzo-soprano)
Brigitte Fassbaender (alto)
Marga Hoffgen (alto)
Annie Woud (alto)
Ernst Haefliger (tenor)
John van Kesteren (tenor)
Waldemar Kmentt (tenor)
Horst R Laubenthal (tenor)
Peter Pears (tenor)
Alexander Young (tenor)
Walter Berry (bass)
Kim Borg (bass)
Hans Braun (bass)
Franz Crass (bass)
Gottlob Frick (bass)
Leo Ketelaars (bass)
Hermann Prey (bass)
Karl Ridderbusch (bass)
Boys’ Chorus of St Willibrord’s, Amsterdam
Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Netherlands Radio Chorus
Tolzer Knabenchor
Concertgebouworkest
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks

Conductor

Eugen Jochum

Works

Bach, Johann Sebastian

Christmas Oratorio (Weihnachts-Oratorium), BWV248
Mass in B minor, BWV232
St John Passion, BWV245
St Matthew Passion, BWV244

Beethoven, Ludwig van

Missa solemnis in D major, op.123

Haydn, Franz Joseph

The Creation (Die Schopfung), Hob.XXI:2

Mengelberg, Rudolf

Magnificat

Artists

Elly Ameling (soprano)
Agnes Giebel (soprano)
Lois Marshall (soprano)
Hertha Topper (mezzo-soprano)
Brigitte Fassbaender (alto)
Marga Hoffgen (alto)
Annie Woud (alto)
Ernst Haefliger (tenor)
John van Kesteren (tenor)
Waldemar Kmentt (tenor)
Horst R Laubenthal (tenor)
Peter Pears (tenor)
Alexander Young (tenor)
Walter Berry (bass)
Kim Borg (bass)
Hans Braun (bass)
Franz Crass (bass)
Gottlob Frick (bass)
Leo Ketelaars (bass)
Hermann Prey (bass)
Karl Ridderbusch (bass)
Boys’ Chorus of St Willibrord’s, Amsterdam
Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Netherlands Radio Chorus
Tolzer Knabenchor
Concertgebouworkest
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks

Conductor

Eugen Jochum

About

Eugen Jochum’s complete recordings of choral/sacred music for Philips collected together for the first time. Includes the rare Rudolf Mengelberg Magnificat.

Born into a Catholic family of Bavarian musicians, Eugen Jochum was playing the organ and conducting his father’s choir as a child. Late in life he became renowned as a Bruckner specialist, as he acknowledged, ‘but I began with the music of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. And it is to their music that I still feel closest’.

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 Bach’s St Matthew Passion in the 1960s. ‘Even nearer to my heart,’ he said, ‘is the B minor Mass, the most spiritual work in the repertory.’ For Philips he recorded the four great pillars of Bach’s sacred music between 1958 (B minor Mass) and 1973 (Christmas Oratorio). His interpretations tread a scrupulous, devotional middle way between stylistic traditions: ‘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 matter’.

The understanding of dance rhythm and momentum which distinguish Jochum’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 Tannhäuser, 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 Haydn’s Creation and Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, and this master of forward motion also knew when to stop and let the music breathe, in the Beethoven’s ‘Sanctus-Benedictus’ above all.

This Eloquence box is offered as a companion to Jochum’s complete orchestral recordings for Philips. It is enhanced by some of the finest Bach singers of their day – Ernst Haefliger, Walter Berry and Agnes Giebel notable among them – 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.

“This 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 ... The orchestra is unfailingly eloquent, and special praise is due to the various instrumental soloists.” – High Fidelity, October 1958 (Bach: Mass in B minor)

“A soft gently and dignified approach to the score that stresses its contemplative aspects.” – Choral Music on Record, 1991 (Bach: Mass in B minor)

“Jochum has apparently chosen the ‘big’ 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.” – Stereo Review, December 1958 (Bach: Mass in B minor)

“The best St. Matthew Passion I have ever heard! The best choro-orchestral album of 1967!” – Cincinnati Enquirer (Bach: St. Matthew Passion)

“A performance of considerable mass and scope ... 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 ... Very good sound throughout.” – High Fidelity, January 1968 (Bach: St. Matthew Passion)

“The 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.” – Stereo Review, March 1968 (Bach: St. Matthew Passion)

“A loving, supple, dramatic and colourful reading, with much ebb and flow.”
– Choral Music on Record, 1991 (Bach: St. Matthew Passion)

“A superbly convincing performance of the closing pages ... Thrilling singing ... A profound experience fully worthy of the music.” – Gramophone, April 1968 (Bach: St. John Passion)

“Sincere and deeply felt ... The soloists are an experienced set vocally and always good to hear.” – Gramophone, April 1985 (Bach: St. John Passion)

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