Eugen Jochum / Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra

Furtwängler: Symphony No. 2

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German conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler composed three symphonies. They are in a pure post-Romantic idiom, and from time to time they're revived, especially the Symphony No. 2 in E minor offered here, and put forth as the great pure symphonies Richard Strauss never wrote. They've never quite taken hold as such, for Furtwängler wasn't half the orchestrator Strauss was, and nor do his structures have Bruckner's overarching, transcendent qualities. The Symphony No. 2 consists of two giant movements in mostly moderate tempo, framing a shorter (but still hefty at 13 minutes plus) slow movement and a substantial scherzo and trio. The outer movements build to great horn-fanfare climaxes that are stirringly rendered here by the Bavarian Radio Symphony under Eugen Jochum. This is a live recording from the year 1954, issued by the symphony's own new label, BR Klassik. Its chief attraction may be the sound, which is superior to many a studio recording of the period; there's little background noise of any kind, and the brasses get good spatial definition. German engineering had plainly come roaring back by this time. Conductor Eugen Jochum was Furtwängler's direct protege and has as much claim to the work as the notoriously idiosyncratic Furtwängler himself, but Furtwängler, for those interested, did record the work a couple of times. Jochum's version comes in at about 83 minutes, just barely spilling over onto a second CD. With deep roots in interwar musical practice in Germany, this historical release should appeal to students of the period.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Symphonie Nr. 2 in E minor
1 26:58
blue highlight denotes track pick