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CD Review

Franz Schubert

  • Symphony #5 in B Flat Major, D. 485
  • Symphony #9 "The Great" in C Major, D. 944
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Eugen Jochum
Deutsche Grammophon The Originals 477535-4 Mono/Stereo 80m ADD
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I never tire of listening to Schubert's symphonies so this new recording featuring Eugen Jochum and the Bavarian Radio Symphony in two of my favourite works was good news indeed!

The Fifth Symphony was recorded in 1957 in mono sound but the recording is crystal clear and is beautifully remastered. Jochum provides slow, but measured speeds that lend clarity to the ethereal Allegro and he finds much charm in the concluding Allegro vivace with his Bavarian players providing a thoroughly splendid sound throughout.

One of the finest symphonies ever composed, 'The Great' is truly imbued with all that is noble and wonderful about music. Jochum obviously loved this symphony and he provides a grand reading that harks back to the Bruno Walter tradition. The Andante con moto is stretched out to just over 15 minutes whilst the concluding Allegro vivace is a miracle of unforced motion that comes alive most magnificently.

There have been several recordings of both symphonies over the years from the like of Kertész, Karajan, Böhm and Abbado springing to mind. However, the historical enthusiast will do well to acquire these performances that are a fine memorial to an often underrated conductor whose allegiance to the romantic repertoire was utterly selfless and dedicated.

Copyright © 2005, Gerald Fenech