Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Eugen Jochum

Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 9

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Taped in 1957 and 1959, these recordings of Schubert's Symphonies No. 5 and No. 9 by Eugen Jochum conducting the euphonically named Bayerischen Rundfunks Sinfonie-orchester still sound brand-spanking new, as clear, as clean, as contemporary as the best recording from any era can sound. And the performances are even better. Jochum's Schubert is bigger and brawnier than many more later Schubert performances, but it's still light on its feet and fairly fleet by the standards of the late '50s. Part of that's because Jochum skips the repeats in the Ninth bringing it in at 50 minutes, 10 less than contemporary Schubert performances. And part of that's because Jochum's tempos are quicker and his rhythms are more sprung than performances by his contemporaries Karajan and Beecham. Listeners familiar with Jochum's contemporaneous Bruckner recordings will recognize the weight and gravity of his Ninth, but most listeners familiar with only Jochum's later Beethoven and Brahms recordings will be surprised by the lyricism of his Fifth. The Bavarians play with sweetness in their strings, strength in their brass, and color in their winds, and their blend and balance are wonderfully deft.

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