This is a MAJOR disappointment. I downloaded this version rather than getting the CD. I thought I had all of Jochum's 9ths and may find a copy of this in my collection later on in the CD format. But I took a chance since there seemed to be no other way, so I downloaded it. What an error! I had done that with other interesting but old Bruckner recordings to no serious harm.
For the person writing "This 1954 recording ['55 according to the liner] with the BRSO has been successfully remastered - the boxy mono sound at the commencement soon gives way to a more rounded picture." I must take deep exception. He may be right on a CD, normally DGG always gets these early mono recordings to sound very fine. But the download is another kettle of fish and a stinky one at that.
The area around 2 kiloHertz or two thousand cycles, the most sensitive area in the human ear, when played above a mezzo piano begins to have crackling sounds. On speakers with a lot of bass this is covered over to some extent but is still there. On Sennheisser Headphones (HD600s) it is AWFUL! Every climax is ruined by this extra non-consonant noise. Bruckner wrote his most outrageous dissonance in this score, but it is outweighed by the horrid distortion from the transfer to the download arena. I'm guessing at this by the way. Maybe DGG DID make a mess of this - I don't buy it though. On closer comparison to the CD (see below) I find a touch of reverb has probably been added. The reasons for the distortion are very technical and I'm extremely disappointed; I will ask for my money back.
So be on guard. Get the CD when possible. All my other Bruckner's with Jochum on this label are fine, so I stand by what I say.
The performance is slightly rawer in nature compared to Jochum's later versions. It is a mature version, but Furtwangler is ringing in his ears in spots. Yet the slow mvt. takes 27 minutes, nearly as long as Giulini and Vienna without the astonishing magic of that unique collaboration. Some don't care for the latter, but in its way, there is not another that compares to it.
I was lucky to see Jochum conduct Bruckner with the Bamberger Symphony in 1983. It was the year of the 8th symphony, everyone was doing it including Jochum. I'd seen Giulini just before that in London and that's on the BBC label. Within the next two months three other conductors surveyed it in New York. But Jochum made it his own and it was a great triumph. Since that night I've been a "true believer". I'm sure I have nearly all his Bruckner recordings as I said, but this "re-do" is going in the trash.
[A bit later]. Wouldn't you know I stumbled on the combination of the 8th from 1948 and this performance from 1955 on a two CD set, same cover type. The CD version proves my case clearly. The sound of the 9th is vastly superior to the download version. This makes my heart sink as the days are approaching when download is all we'll have available and symphonic movements will be called "songs". I've no idea who made this transfer for Amazon, but they need to get a classical music pro in there who is familiar with Jochum, Bruckner and mono sound in general.... I'd volunteer, but the pay is probably minimum wage.....
Do your best to find the above pairing and forget the download all together.