Eugen Jochum - Central Website (Revised)

Activities in Amsterdam - 4

1959 - 1963: The recordings

Eugen Jochum conducting in Amsterdam, ca. 1961
Eugen Jochum conducting in Amsterdam, ca. 1961
Eugen Jochum conducting in Amsterdam, ca. 1961
Eugen Jochum conducting in Amsterdam, ca. 1961

As soon as Eugen Jochum agrees to spent more time in Amsterdam, he starts to make recordings for Philips. Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert and Schumann. A characteristic of the orchestra in these first years of the sixties is, that the brass is not so well tuned to the other parts of the orchestra as it used to be. Within a few years or so, the level of the playing increases considerably.

The first recordings are some Ouvertures of Beethoven. These are the first stereo recordings of Eugen Jochum with the Concertgebouworkest. One Ouverture was never reissued: "Die Weihe des Hauses". In this recording, the brass seems to be not yet so very well tuned as should be.

The famous set of recorded Mozart Symphonies also appears in these years. Recordedings are made of Symphonies 35, 36, 38 and 41. This set was an acknowledged point of reference for many years, especially in Great Britain, until Nikolaus Harnoncourt started to conduct Mozart. He showed an even more lively and punctuated Mozart. Of all the classic great conductors, Eugen Jochum was the only one who approached the performances and orchestral balance in Mozart as advocated by Harnoncourt, as the recording (made in 1984) with the Bamberger Symphoniker of Symphony 35 showed.
Purely speculative: maybe recordings with the Concertgebouworkest of the Symphonies 39 and 40 were made around 1960 (and subsequently rejected) as the gap is obvious, who knows. It would be worth a release now. If the recordings indeed were made and rejected, some annotations added to a (partial) release could give an insight in the maintenance of the high quality standards of those days.

The recorded treasure of these years is the recording of Mahler's "Das Lied von der Erde" from 1963. An unexpected combination: Eugen Jochum conducting Gustav Mahler and the Concertgebouworkest recording for DGG! It proved to be the one and only time during the exclusive Philips-years. In August 1999, this recording was fortunately reissued by DG. Anyone who cherishes the recordings of this work conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini and Bruno Walter, will be surprised by the contribution which Eugen Jochum and the Concertgebouworkest made to the discography of "Das lied von der Erde". Recommended!

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