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Thread: Looking to buy Corelli and Bruckner on CD

  1. #16
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    That's very interesting. I didn't know that Jochum used an additional brass section in the final coda. As a conductor, he was known to let the brass play out and didn't attempt to overly temper their sound, like certain conductors... You can hear this in Jochum's Beethoven, for instance (especially in his LSO 7th), and of course, it works to great effect in Bruckner, and the 5th is a 'brassy' symphony (as you point out).

    You've not heard either of Jochum's Concertgebouw 5ths? (studio or live?) If the 5th is a symphony that particularly interests you, I'd urge you to hear Jochum's live Concertgebouw 5th from 1986. Some 'Brucknerites' consider it to be not only one of the great Bruckner 5ths on record, but also one of the greatest performances of a Bruckner symphony ever recorded. Granted, it may not be everyone's favorite 5th--as some listeners prefer Jochum's 'classic' studio account on Philips with the same orchestra, or Furtwangler's 1942 5th, etc.--but it's one of mine. For me, it is a spiritual experience:



    There was something very special about Jochum's Bruckner towards the end of his life. I heard him conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra in Bruckner's 9th around 1985 or so, and it was a concert that I'll never forget. Jochum had reached the age where he could no longer stand and conduct, but that day the Philly orchestra was playing so brilliantly that in the Adagio, the 6'6" Jochum suddenly stood up to conduct. It was very moving.

    Unfortunately, that was the only time I saw Jochum conduct, but the experience was a meaningful one. I had greatly admired him, not only as a conductor, but as a man. By all accounts, he was a remarkably kind human being & highly intelligent. A composer friend of mine, who knew Jochum at Tanglewood once told me that Jochum was "the nicest man I ever met who was a conductor."

    The following live Jochum Bruckner 9th from Munich in 1983 reminds me of what I heard in Philadelphia that afternoon (interestingly, the performance was hand picked for release from the Jochum archives by the conductor's daughter, the pianist, Veronica Jochum): It's a favorite 9th of mine--though Jochum's EMI 9th with the Staatskapelle Dresden is likewise magnificent, & arguably comes with a better orchestra, so it may be preferable (to collectors):



    It irks me when I hear certain critics dismiss Jochum as having been no more than a "kapellmeister" (or a "kapellmeister who could only conduct Bruckner"): A term that, oddly enough, has become a form of ridicule today, or at least carries with it a certain derogatory sense. I don't see Jochum's conducting that way at all (though obviously I don't expect to hear HIP performances from him, either). Rather, over the decades, I've come to notice that his recordings get better with repeated listening. It's as if you can't take it in all at once, but with further listening, over time, his special musical insights and perceptions into Bruckner, Wagner, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, etc., become more clearly evident. That is especially true of some of Jochum's lesser known live Wagner opera recordings--such as his Lohengrin, Parsifal, & Tristan und Isolde, for example. & what a pity Jochum wasn't able to make a final Parsifal recording, as he had planned.

    Interestingly, I've been told that Jochum himself once commented that he was most proud of his Schubert recordings.

    Another conductor who can be deeply spiritual in Bruckner is Sergui Celibidache. Listeners often dismiss Celibidache's Bruckner as being overly slow, which can be true (even though he's often faster than Giulini), but that isn't always the case. (Besides, I believe Celibidache was right to consider the experience of hearing Bruckner in the concert hall to be a very different experience from listening to Bruckner at home, since what can sound overly slow at home may not seem at all slow in the concert hall.) For instance, Celi's late Sony Japanese Bruckner releases of the 7th & 8th symphonies are remarkable, IMO; plus, he could be great in Bruckner's 5th, as well (I should have mentioned him on my previous list of favorite Bruckner 5ths):

    Bruckner 5, Celibidache, Munich Philharmonic, live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOTzCgMxy_o

    https://www.amazon.com/Bruckner-Symp...2466095&sr=8-5
    https://www.amazon.com/Bruckner-Symp...2466095&sr=8-7
    Last edited by Josquin13; Feb-05-2021 at 01:34.

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  3. #17
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    That is a wonderful story about experiencing Jochum live in concert! I could only wish I had experienced something like that. I'm definitely going to listen to the 1986 Concertgebouw recording. I don't know why Jochum would be dismissed as a "Kapellmeister". As you point out this is probably used as an insult by the now dominant group that dislikes traditional performance, thus I see no reason to care.

    I'm aware of Celibidache. He was quite an interesting and eccentric character, again the live recordings have kept me at bay. His comment about the difference between listening at home and listening in a concert hall is insightful. If only labels such as BIS would have considered this when they made their "original dynamics" recordings.

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  5. #18
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    AnderFoldes writes, "I'm aware of Celibidache. He was quite an interesting and eccentric character, again the live recordings have kept me at bay. His comment about the difference between listening at home and listening in a concert hall is insightful. If only labels such as BIS would have considered this when they made their "original dynamics" recordings."

    I should point out that I've grossly over simplified the 'gist' of Celibidache's view on why he refused to make recordings. Here's an interview where he explains in detail his point of view on the subject (& you don't need to watch all of it to get what he believed, as Celi explains his basic view in the first 10 minutes or so, in response to the interviewer's question (granted, he likes to talk, but I admire his almost 'priestly' conviction and faith): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyDQAi_hjMM. & I agree with him. For example, from my experience, I've found that it isn't remotely the same experience to hear the Staatskapelle Dresden play the music of Richard Strauss, for instance (or Bruckner or Wagner) on record as it is to hear them play Strauss live in the concert hall. It's a very different experience. In the concert hall, you don't lose "2/3" of the music, as Celibidache claims. Nevertheless, I'm not about to throw away my Kempe or Blomstedt Strauss recordings with the Staatskapelle, since I enjoy listening to them. But I admit that Celibidache is right. There is a spiritual dimension that can only be heard in the concert hall.

    Yet here is where Celibidache may be wrong in certain sense: When I lived in New York City, I can remember Celibidache giving two concerts at Carnegie Hall with the Munich Philharmonic in 1989. Apart from conducting a student orchestra at the Curtis Institute in the mid-1980s, he had never conducted in the United States before. I walked past the hall several times that week and can recall seeing two large posters advertising the concerts. I remember thinking, "Who is Celibidache?" Despite that I was an avid collector of recordings, I had never heard of Celibidache--due largely to his refusal to make any "official" recordings while he was living. So, I assumed that Celibidache was a minor conductor, & consequently didn't go to the concerts: which is something that I regret today. In hindsight, had I known who he was, I would have liked very much to hear the 76 year old Celibidache conduct Bruckner at Carnegie Hall that week. Especially if the following magnificent final coda from Bruckner's 8th Symphony--here recorded from a live concert in Tokyo given around the same time--gives only a "1/3" indication! of what was heard in the concert hall when Celibidache conducted: If interested, the coda starts at around 1 hr 36 minutes into the YT clip, and it's worth hearing just for the brilliant timpani playing alone (by 1989 Celibidache had transformed the Munich Philharmonic into a great orchestra): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elVHvTrEM34

    Finally, I should mention that the sound quality on Celibidache's Japanese Sony recordings is exceptional, despite that they were live concerts. So, I wouldn't let that stop you or anyone else...

    Today, I noticed the following talk on the "most recommendable" recordings" of Bruckner's 5th by critic David Hurwitz on You Tube, and interestingly, Hurwitz's top pick is Wolfgang Sawallisch's Orfeo 5th! (did you know that?): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G18XdeHDyxE. Surprisingly, he found Jochum's transcendent live 5th from 1986 with the Concertgebouw "flabby".... so it seems that perhaps Celibidache did know what he was talking about in regards to what critics hear... (Nevertheless, I do think that Hurwitz is usually dependable, and I'm often interested to hear what he likes & recommends; although I don't always share his enthusiasms--such as for George Szell's conducting, which I can find too stiff, despite that Szell had a very fine orchestra. Nor do I agree with his assessment that Wolfgang Sawallisch was mostly a "kapellmeister"--as I'd consider his Strauss, Wagner, Bruckner, Schumann, Schubert, and Mendelssohn recordings to be a lot better than that...)
    Last edited by Josquin13; Feb-11-2021 at 18:43.

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  7. #19
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    Thank you for recommending these interesting videos. Celibidache's philosophy can be hard to follow. Recordings really are a bit of a different discipline from live performances with limitations that have to overcome in the best possible way. In my opinion, the engineering is almost as important as the performance, and both must be good. That coda of the eighth was worth watching just for the timpanist alone, and Celibidache added quite a bit of his own voice at the end! It works really well on video, but I don't know if I would enjoy it as much without the visuals.

    Oh yes, I did see that Hurwitz video where Sawallisch is the top recommendation. Makes you wonder if maybe his advocacy has increased demand for it and thus made it harder to find! I did listen to the Jochum fifth from 1986. The CD cover says that it is the "musical legacy of the giant Eugen Jochum". Those are big words, but the performance does deliver, and I enjoyed it a lot. Of course there is this one moment during the symphony where I noticed the audience. If it was a studio recording without the applause at the end it would be one of my top choices for sure.

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  9. #20
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    So I finally bit the bullet and paid the costly shipping to get the Corelli Op. 6 by I Musici.

    Now, this set is a bit of a disappointment. The playing is lovely, but the recording lacks bass to an unusual degree, like when you accidentally turn down the "bass" knob on your stereo. This surprises me given the parties that were involved in making the recording. The result is that the music lacks some presence. That is not to say that it is bad by any means.

    I uploaded the Christmas Concerto to YouTube as a example:

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...trH908AqNiS6iP

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