Eugen Jochum

Beethoven: Fidelio

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This live recording of Fidelio, made in Rome in 1957, doesn't get off to a strong start, but by the second act everything has fallen into place to make for a powerful performance. Eugen Jochum leads Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro di Roma della RAI in a reading that's generally well paced but occasionally lacks the urgency that reflects Beethoven's passionate feelings for the subject and his characters. The orchestral playing isn't uniformly excellent; the horns get off to a rocky start and continue to have occasional burbles, but they improve over the course of the performance. Leonie Rysanek, whose performance is ostensibly the primary reason for this version to be released, isn't in top form in the first act. The beginning of "Abscheulischer" lacks force and she has some difficulties with intonation, but the aria ends strongly. Especially early in the opera, it sounds like her voice, particularly her middle and lower registers, isn't fully present, but she gains power as the performance progresses. In the second act, she displays the authority and vocal brilliance that made this a signature role for her. The other performances are generally solid, particularly Elisabeth Lindermeier as Marzelline, Ferdinand Frantz as Don Pizarro, Hans Hopf as Florestan, and Ludwig Weber as Rocco. The sound quality is a little rocky at first, but it improves after the overture. There's very little stage or audience noise, and the sound is clean for a live recording of this vintage, if a little distant when characters aren't close to a mike. The set includes a sublimely nuanced, revelatory live recording of a 1951 performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4, with Edwin Fischer and the Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks led by Jochum. The sound is poor, with lots of audience noise, but the performance is so fine that it makes it worth overlooking the recording quality.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Fidelio, opera, Op. 72
1 06:33 Amazon
2 04:55 Amazon
3 00:16 Amazon
4 03:52 Amazon
5 00:31 Amazon
6 04:29 Amazon
7 00:12 Amazon
8 02:56 Amazon
9 01:12 Amazon
10 06:25 Amazon
11 02:05 Amazon
12 00:46 Amazon
13 03:17 Amazon
14 00:25 Amazon
15 05:00 Amazon
16 07:43 Amazon
17 00:40 Amazon
18 06:55 Amazon
19 05:13 Amazon
20 02:30 Amazon
21 04:32 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Fidelio, opera, Op. 72
1 03:29 Amazon
2 01:57 Amazon
3 04:34 Amazon
4 01:49 Amazon
5 03:39 Amazon
6 00:54 Amazon
7 05:52 Amazon
8 00:30 Amazon
9 03:43 Amazon
10 01:16 Amazon
11 02:35 Amazon
12 01:59 Amazon
13 03:32 Amazon
14 04:18 Amazon
15 03:53 Amazon
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58
16 17:50 Amazon
17 05:31 Amazon
18 10:27 Amazon
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