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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A dependable Bruckner set, 14 Sep 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Bruckner: Symphonies 1-9 (DG Collectors Edition) (Audio CD)
There probably isn't a single Bruckner symphony set which delivers on all counts, but Eugen Jochum always had something special to say in this repertoire. More so than his most obvious rival Karajan (also on DG), Jochum conveys the spiritual angle of Bruckner's inspiration, and effectively marries sufficient grandeur to sustain the long lines. The Fourth and Fifth are the most successful, but the remainder are all well worth listening to, and revisiting. This set is to be preferred to Jochum's later EMI set in both performance and sound quality.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Individual Bruckner interpretation at its best, 10 Oct 2006
By 
Colin Fortune (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bruckner: Symphonies 1-9 (DG Collectors Edition) (Audio CD)
This was the first integral set of Bruckner Symphonies to be recorded in stereo and represents Jocum's ecstatic-poetic approach rather better than the later EMI Dresden recordings. Depending on your mood - and if you know the symphonies already - some performances will either transfix you with delght or make you very annoyed. And that is true of the same disc listened to twice but on different days! Really worth getting because of the stature of Jochum in the history of Bruckner interpretation but not to be had just as your only set. I suggest supplementing it with the excellent Barenboim/BPO box which is available at a slightly cheaper price.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Earning your Brucknerian spurs..., 24 Jan 2012
This review is from: Bruckner: Symphonies 1-9 (DG Collectors Edition) (Audio CD)
For the Bruckner novice there are three points of reference - Karajan, Wand and Jochum - that will offer guidance to the uninitiated. Karajan - imperious and peerless in Bruckner - favours the long-line approach, with flowing legato coupled to a pronounced structural emphasis. Wand holds the middle ground; his Bruckner is more flexible - tempi not quite so strict/metronomic as Karajan's, but lacking Karajan's rhythmic bite and seismic power - dramatic intensity is somewhat underplayed, as is the epic dimension of these symphonies. Nonetheless, Wand's Bruckner is less hard-driven in the climaxes and there is, perhaps, a greater subtlety in his dynamic gradation and phrasing when compared to Karajan - Wand's emphasis is on lyricism, not architecture, as such. Jochum also inclines to Schubertian lyricism, however, there is a deep spirituality - dare one say honesty - and a Furtwanglerian "living for the moment" which humanises Bruckner's granite hewn monoliths. However, Jochum's style of Bruckner conducting can divide opinion...

Jochum's detractors - and they are many - will over-emphasize his tendency for "erratic gear-changes" and pauses. Jochum, like Bruckner, began his career as an organist and this strongly influenced his understanding of Bruckner's soundworld. That familiarity with the acoustics - reverberation, echo effects, pauses, etc - of church organ playing imbues Jochum's Bruckner recordings with an authentcity/authority of unquestionable integrity. Jochum has mastered his subject - this is echt Bruckner! His understanding of the structure of these symphonies, with their repetition of phrases and - some might say - lack of thematic development, allows Jochum to calculate the pulse changes, enhancing that feeling of organic growth - the act of creation - avoiding the violent accelerandi and abrupt slowings down of, say, Furtwangler who is more extreme, in this respect. The musical line flows unimpeded by excessive fluctuations in tempi. Jochum's Bruckner recordings may well lack the epic scale/huge sonority of Karajan's traversals of these scores, but the spiritual dimension remains intact, indeed intensified by the somewhat smaller scale and the intimacy of Jochum's vision. Jochum offers communion, deep and spiritual, that will leave the listener basking in a Brucknerian afterglow, instilling a desire to further explore the symphonies of Anton Bruckner.

The playing of the BPO in the Eighth is faultless, with full, rich strings and suitably ringing Brucknerian brass. However, Jochum uses the Nowak edition of the score which, for me, emasculates this towering giant of a symphony - nonetheless - I must concede - a truly inspired performance. Although, it has to be said, I do prefer Karajan's Haas edition recordings of the Eighth. The Sixth from this set is glorious - second only to Klemperer's magnficent EMI recording - and far superior to Karajan's dismal effort for DG. Jochum also surpasses Karajan in the first three symphonies. The Third, in particular, is outstanding - tempi, phrasing, dynamic thrust, etc, are flawless. Only Bohm's Decca recording and Wand's Cologne recording challenge this! The Fourth and Seventh? Both exhibit Jochum's control, eloquence and ability to flood this music with Gothic, stained glass-like colour and light, as opposed to, say, Schaller's insipid, white framed, double-glazed, monochrome blandness. Jochum's Fifth! This, in my opinion, is perhaps the finest account of this symphony ever commited to disc. The BRSO's remarkably fine playing grips the listener like an arc between two electrodes as Bruckner's vision unfolds - a performance infused with unfathomable mystery and profound spirituality of truly staggering proportions. Only Karajan's DG performance is worthy of such high praise, but this 1958 (!) Jochum recording has superior sonics - the Karajan recording is positively chromium plated, hard and unyielding. And finally, the Ninth. That exalted hymn to God which secured Bruckner a place in heaven and a position as a symphonist above even that of Beethoven, in my opinion. Jochum's command of this symphony is such that one forgives Jochum his idiosyncracies as the music sweeps the listener along on a tsunami-like tidal wave of heightened emotion - the nobility of the mournful chorales - grand and visionary - the brutal Scherzo, with its incisive, somewhat mocking, motoric ostinati and the poignancy of the Adagio - meditative and reflective - are fully realized by Jochum - a true summation of a life's work.

Five stars? There are not enough stars in the universe to award Jochum's Bruckner recordings sufficient praise.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best!, 16 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Bruckner: Symphonies 1-9 (DG Collectors Edition) (Audio CD)
Having listened to the EMI Jochum, Wand, Karayan, Celibidache, Masur, Tennstedt, and Bohm, this is the Best collection.
The age of the performances do not decrease the enjoyment of an inspired masterpiece. As individual symphonies I would add
from the majestic Wand performances with the BPO.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Collection., 3 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Bruckner: Symphonies 1-9 (DG Collectors Edition) (Audio CD)
Jochum is one of the greatest conductors. This set of his interpretations of the Bruckner symphonies is a total joy.
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5 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At the Pyramid of the Jaguar-King, 1 July 2012
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This review is from: Bruckner: Symphonies 1-9 (DG Collectors Edition) (Audio CD)
"Observe, dear Cato, the thickness of the vegetation! This is a frightful place. Even so, I am hopeful. The Honduran jungle holds many mysteries. If the legends are correct, there is still one major Mayan pyramid to be located. Our destination could be closer than what we think if my sleuth-work is correct!"

So spoke Father Melchizedek OP, the High Priest of Period Practice. The firebrand of 410HZ was being carried in a litter with a slave on either side to fan him as he played his lute. A baggage-train trooped behind him. Ahead of them strode Cato, his trusty man-servant who was hacking his way through the jungle with a machete.

"The Mayans were chronometers of Eternity," the cleric added in falsetto. "Time and space are foundational concepts in music. Such a pyramid, if indeed it exists, must be dedicated to the Lord of these Realms. It could very well redefine our understanding of music and refute all that 19th century gibberish!"

Cato paused in the one-hundred percent humidity to regain his breath.

"Don't dawdle, my trusty man-servant! Choppy, choppy!"

Cato looked longingly at his machete. After bestowing a glare on his master, he resumed his thankless task. One hour later, just as he was about to collapse on the spot, they entered a semi-clearing where the vegetation was thinner. Much to their astonishment, the outlines of a pyramid were visible in the undergrowth.

"I was right all along," Father Melchizedek whooped from his litter. "Roll over Howard Carter! Immortality becomes me! Cato, don't just stand there with your mouth open! Fetch me some water and my crosier!"

The pyramid was clearly Mayan. Hieroglyphs covered much of its surface. The main entrance had been sealed off and covered by many a vine; as they were cleared away, an inscription emerged above the lintel. Above it was a spandrel: it depicted a bald-headed man sitting at some sort of keyboard and holding a diploma. His visage was sacerdotal.

"The Mayans can't have been that prophetic," Cato murmured in wonder. "Why, that's Anton Br - !"

"Tut, tut, my trusty man-servant ! I will hear none of that `Heldenwhine and Heldenwhoop'! Besides the gentleman in question is clearly a Mayan practitioner of HIP, seated at a harpsichord which plays at the so-called French pitch (a 396)! Now Cato I pay you for your brawn and not your brain but sometimes the latter comes in handy. Translate that inscription for me!"

Cato stared up at the script.

"There appears to be nine separate incantations. The High Priest is a notary called Eugen Jaguar-King. The edifice is indeed dedicated to Time and Eternity. He says there are two pyramids: one red, the other yellow. This is the latter and the more imposing of the two (the red pyramid is brusque in design and crumbly at that Bruckner - Complete Symphonies /Eugen Jochum). The First Incantation is strongly magical with the exception of the last quartile which appears to be somewhat rushed. The Second Incantation could use a more fulsome script - I have seen the text before and it appears that the High Priest has excised some key passages, particularly in the last quartile - but the third quartile of the Incantation is marvellous in its invocation of cosmic longing. I have seen the Third Incantation elsewhere; it is a highly dramatic spell though its author could never make up his mind as to a definitive sacred text. Here, an abridged version is used and stunningly at that. The Fourth Incantation is dedicated to the Gods of the Forest. It is lyrical and powerful - I would not say that it shades other such renditions. The Fifth Incantation is consecrated to the Cosmos. It was inscribed at an earlier date than its companions - therefore the sacred script is somewhat thin. Even so, in its majesty and power it has few rivals. The Sixth Incantation packs a real punch. It is quieter and more reposed than usual - not that there is anything wrong with that. Its last quartile can ramble on but here it is succinctly held together. The Seventh Incantation - wow, look at that - is clearly the most potent spell here. Everything about it seems right. The coda at the end of the first quartile is rendered with immense skill and subtlety. This Seventh Incantation contains an elegy - how magisterially it is conveyed here. I don't like the look of the Eighth Incantation. There is something wrong; the script lacks assurance; it meanders if not warbles along. I have seen this prayer elsewhere in a more authoritative text - the script in use here is an inferior one. All in all, it is the most feeble incantation here and a critical slip at that. The Ninth Incantation is dedicated to the Mayan Underworld and the Sky-God. It is powerful and brooding. The Incantation breaks off at the end - it lacks a fourth quartile - but the third quartile is valedictory enough to wind up proceedings. All in all, I am impressed. I have visited the Red Pyramid in person. Its architecture was loud and brash; it was shoddily rendered and the elements have eroded it away. Here, the pyramid is far more stout. It may not outlast eternity - like all things, it has an appointed end - but it is a suitable enough hymn to its nemesis. The script itself is written in a flowing manner - it jumps around less than its counterpart at the Red Pyramid."

"Yes, yes, yes: that's all very interesting my trusty man-servant! The real question is to what extent the music of the Mayans was shaped by dance steps and rhythms: corants, allmains, sarabands, morris dances, and stately pavins, interspersed with more contrapuntal `aires' and `fantazys'. And the more I think about it, that's Giovanni Battista Bassani in the spandrel!"

While Father Melchizedek was trumpeting these words of wisdom, Cato ran a hand over the masonry. Something clicked, and the door which led into the heart of the pyramid swung open.

"Master, here is your great opportunity!" Cato whispered seductively. "What if they buried the Jaguar King with lutes and recorders made of gold ! It's `finders - keepers' if you ask me!"

A glazed look came over the pinched face of the cleric. Without so much of a word of thanks, he trotted pig-like into the heart of the pyramid. Cato quickly felt out the masonry and the door shut resoundingly behind the cleric. He then turned to the native porters:

"Now, who's up for a beer?"
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Bruckner: Symphonies 1-9 (DG Collectors Edition)
Bruckner: Symphonies 1-9 (DG Collectors Edition) by Anton Bruckner (Audio CD - 2010)
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