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Sym 9

Anton Bruckner Audio CD

Price: CDN$ 42.24
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Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Bruckner, But... Jan. 6 2005
By Michael B. Richman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I have fallen in love with DG's new "Musik...Sprache der Welt" series, but some of the titles feature selections that have already been or continue to be available on other CDs, and unfortunately this is one of them -- see Bruckner: Symphony Nos. 8 and 9. Regardless, conductor Eugen Jochum is generally regarded as one of, if not the single greatest, interpreter of Bruckner. His 1960s Symphony Cycle for DG, and his late 70s/early 80s one for EMI are the cornerstones of any Bruckner collection, and here we get to hear a 1954 mono account of the 9th Symphony with the Bavarian RSO to compare with later versions. While Jochum's stereo accounts of this massive work offer this listener more overall enjoyment, it is fascinating to discover even early on in the maestro's career how Bruckner thoroughly captured his imagination. This is a fantastic disc and certainly an historic one for serious Bruckner collectors, provided they haven't already bought the reissue pairing it with the 8th.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best performances of the 9th, ever July 16 2008
By DMH - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I must confess at once that this was one of the first recordings of Bruckner's 9th Symphony that I ever heard, in the late 1960's: I recall finding the slow movement particularly moving in Jochum's performance.

Over the intervening years my love of Bruckner's music broadened and deepened, and I have been fortunate to attend many live performances of his works as well as building up an extensive collection of his works on disc.

There are some performances that are just "right". This is one of them. I managed to acquire a copy of this, the latest DG reissue, a while ago and for some reason it was a little while before I had time to play it through without interruption. The performance now strikes me as even better than I originally thought, while the recording (though in mono) has come up very well and in no way detracted from my enjoyment of this glorious music.

Jochum was in many ways an ideal Bruckner conductor and had the happy gift of being able to convey the musical argument successfully while at the same time allowing the pace to quicken a little or relax as the music dictates. Far too many conductors of this score resort to crude "stop-start" methods with disastrous results. There are other performances that I cherish (Wand's live Lubeck Cathedral recording on EMI originally; Georg Tintner's on Naxos) but in my view this early Jochum performance is right up there among the chosen few.
1.0 out of 5 stars 5 star performance with awful 0 DOWNLOAD sound score. July 25 2014
By Andre Gauthier - Published on Amazon.com
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.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wanted - Demons Feb. 28 2012
By Bernard Michael O'Hanlon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Bruckner-wise, Robert Simpson is still ex cathedra. In his discussion on the Ninth Symphony - a work that Bruckner dedicated to God - he rightly says that in certain instances one can sense that the composer himself is terrified by what he has unleashed with his pen. To my ears, it is less of a `Dark Night of the Soul' and more of a cosmic eclipse. Or perhaps the Tiresias-within could foresee Flanders and the Paper-Hanger.

Here on Amazon, a San Andreas fault-line divides Bruckner devotees into two camps. Most - but not all - will readily concede the excellence of Furtwangler or Karajan in this domain but Eugen Jochum is a far more divisive figure. Many acclaim his Bruckner to high heaven - and among their number are some formidable intellects. On my part, I have most of his DG and EMI series and as the years go by, I find them increasingly unlistenable: they're shelf-cloggers. Nor am I Robinson Crusoe.

Prose and Poetry jointly uphold the structure in any Bruckner symphony. Patience is mandatory. When that is lacking, a conductor will become a plodder in this repertoire - and all the old calumnies that were once hurled against `Mister Symphonic Boa Constrictor' gain legs. I am not against `gear-changes' per se in this music - Furtwangler is incorrigible in that respect - but Jochum's `cat on a hot tin roof' (scramble - pause - scramble) though a Bruckner Symphony - in my view at least - impairs its innate dignity and momentum. Yes Virginia, it is possible to be more energetic than one's rivals and still be laced with longueurs. But there is a more deepset issue.

Anyone can stand on the edge of the abyss and summon the spirits - but will they come?

This 1954 recording with the BRSO has been successfully remastered - the boxy mono sound at the commencement soon gives way to a more rounded picture. The orchestra plays idiomatically. It is a highly dramatic account (especially in the Scherzo) and I prefer it to the DG recording (there is more grip in the first movement), to say nothing of the wobble of a performance on EMI. The climax of the Adagio has a genuine kick to it. To be fair to Jochum, his gear changes are more subtly masked than in later traversals. But the deepset failure cannot be glossed over: the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse fail to make an appearance, or if they do, they're mounted on ponies. Be it from failure or refusal, there is nothing daemonic in this performance. It's semi-masked by the orchestral response but its absence is noticeable all the same. The Furtwangler '44 takes one to the very gates of the Underworld and beyond - it is a hellish experience. Jochum lacks the wherewithal to do so.

This is a deeply subjective response to a fine conductor and I readily acknowledge that I might be wrong. I just wish Eugen himself would refute me that rather than third parties getting in my ear.

So all in all, it's another shelf-clogger. I like the packaging for that very reason.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 star performance 3 star a little murky mono 1950s sound July 26 2007
By King Lemuel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The sound seems to improve as the music is being played. It is more murky at the start but nearly clears up after a minute or so and it is not hard to drift into the performance without thinking the sound is murky mono.

I am very reluctant to buy music from 1955 and earlier because the sound quality varies from very good to crapola and even the best is sub standard to what is now available. True, it is better than the even earlier historic recordings. For the same cash,though, we can get great performances in great sound. Two reasons to buy are if you are a collector, or if you like the artist and want to hear how he or she sounded in their younger days.

I have Jochum's Deutsche Grammophon complete Bruckner cycle (1957 to 1967) CD boxed set. This 9th in mono reminds me of that 9th in stereo, only that one sounds really good, as if the spirit of Walt Disney sprinkled star dust on it. The sound improvement is as great as going from black and white tv to color.

This mono version must have really wowed listeners back in its day. Even though in mono, it is still a very enjoyable performance to hear. The second movement scherzo seems to have a little more getty up than his other versions.

I greatly enjoy Jochum's Bruckner. Both his complete cycles are consistently excellent from symphony 1 to symphony 9. Doing this is no simple matter. There is a whole lotta music going on in Bruckner's symphonies. Buckner's 10 sympohonies time wise are almost as much as Mozart's 41 plus symphonies (9 CDs vs. 11 CD box set by Trevor Pinnock & the English Concert)and the orchestras are considerably larger.

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