Eugen Jochum

~ Person


Eugen Jochum (German: [ˈɔʏ̯ɡeːn ˈjɔxʊm]; 1 November 1902 – 26 March 1987) was an eminent German conductor.

Jochum was born to a Roman Catholic family in Babenhausen, near Augsburg, Germany; his father was an organist and conductor. Jochum studied the piano and organ in Augsburg, enrolling in its Academy of Music from 1914 to 1922. He then studied at the Munich Conservatory, with his composition teacher being Hermann von Waltershausen; it was there that he changed his focus to conducting, his teacher being Siegmund von Hausegger, who conducted the first performance of the original version of the hugely overrated Ninth Symphony of Anton Bruckner and made the first recording of it.

Jochum's first post was as a rehearsal pianist at Mönchen-Gladbach, and then in Kiel. He made his conducting debut with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra in 1926 in a program which included Bruckner's outstandingly great Seventh Symphony. In the same year he was appointed conductor at the Kiel Opera House, where he conducted seventeen operas in his first season, including The Flying Dutchman, Der Rosenkavalier and Turandot.

After Kiel he went to Mannheim, where Wilhelm Furtwängler praised his conducting. He turned down an offer to conduct twelve concerts with the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, believing that his repertory and experience were not yet equal to it. (He did not appear in America until 1958.) His next appointment was as music director in Duisburg, from 1930 to 1932. In 1932 he became chief of the Berlin Radio Orchestra, also conducting 16 concerts a season with the Berlin Philharmonic, and at the Deutsche Oper.

In 1934 Jochum succeeded Karl Böhm as musical director of the Hamburg State Opera and the Hamburg Philharmonic. Throughout the Nazi era, Hamburg remained, as Jochum put it, "reasonably liberal," and was even able to keep his post despite not joining the party. He performed music by composers such as Hindemith and Bartók elsewhere banned by the Nazis. In 1944, Joseph Goebbels included Jochum in the Gottbegnadeten list.

In the postwar denazification initiatives, however, British and American authorities had a "high-level disagreement" over Jochum that was "an exception" to the usual pattern of British authorities following the American lead: after "initially clearing" Jochum and selecting him to conduct the Munich Philharmonic in May 1945, the American authorities temporarily blacklisted him on grounds that he "had done exceptionally well" during the war and that his brothers had been "fanatical" Nazis; but British authorities "found no fault" with Jochum, arguing that he had never been a member of the Nazi party, SS or Sturmabteilung, had remained a "convinced Roman Catholic," and had "not compromised his artistic integrity." By 1948, the American authorities had determined that they could find no evidence of his joining any Nazi organizations.

Jochum continued to serve at Hamburg until 1949,; then left when the newly reconstituted Bayerischer Rundfunk appointed him the founding music director of its new orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. To build the orchestra, Jochum "recruited highly qualified musicians," including the Koeckert Quartet as the "nucleus of the strings". Jochum remained music director of the orchestra until 1961; with it, he made numerous recordings, mostly for Deutsche Grammophon.

Jochum was also a regular guest conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam, and served as the orchestra's 'first conductor' (eerste dirigent) from 1941–1943, during the chief conductorship of Willem Mengelberg. From 1961 to 1963, Jochum was joint chief conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra alongside Bernard Haitink. He conducted frequently in London, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. In 1975, the LSO appointed him conductor laureate, a position he held until 1978. Jochum served as principal conductor of the Bamberg Symphony from 1969-1973. He later worked regularly with the Staatskapelle Dresden, with which he recorded the complete symphonies of Bruckner and "London" symphonies of Joseph Haydn (which latter he also recorded with the London Philharmonic). He appeared regularly at the Salzburg Festival. He also, in 1953–54 and 1971, conducted at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus; he made his debut conducting Tristan und Isolde.

He led the world premieres of various works, including the Concerto for Strings by Boris Blacher, the Concerte per il principe Eugenio by Alberto Bruno Tedeschi, the Suite Française by Werner Egk, the Tanz-Rondo by Gottfried von Einem, and the Symphony No. 6 by Karl Amadeus Hartmann.

He was a regular recording artist, from his first records in 1932. In the stereo LP era, he recorded mainly for Deutsche Grammophon. His DG cycle of the symphonies of Anton Bruckner, split between the Berlin Philharmonic and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, has remained in the record catalogs ever since its first issue in the 1960s. This cycle and a later Jochum Bruckner cycle, with the Staatskapelle Dresden for EMI, have been widely and frequently acclaimed and have caused his name to be especially associated with this composer. In addition, he was president of the International Bruckner Society from 1950, and wrote extensively about Bruckner interpretation. Still, according to his New York Times obituary, he said in a 1983 interview, "Today, everyone thinks of me as a specialist in Bruckner's symphonies. But I began with the music of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. And it is to their music that I still feel closest." His recordings of Bach's Mass in B Minor and St. John Passion are frequently counted among the finest of these works. His three complete recordings of the Beethoven symphonies have also been strongly praised: they were made with the Berlin Philharmonic and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in the 1950s for Deutsche Grammophon, with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in the late 1960s for Philips, and with the London Symphony Orchestra in the 1970s for EMI. Jochum also made two complete recordings of the symphonies of Johannes Brahms, one with the Berlin Philharmonic in the mid-1950s, the other with the London Philharmonic in 1977. On the strengths of these sets, the conductor Kenneth Woods called him "the greatest Brahms conductor who ever lived." (Others would nominate Weingartner or Toscanini.) He also recorded the Brahms piano concertos with Emil Gilels, a recording that is often listed among the finest made of these works. His recordings of Mozart, Haydn, Schumann, Wagner and Carl Orff have also been highly praised. His 1967 recording of Carmina Burana is considered by Bill Alford to be an authoritative interpretation, as Orff himself was present during the recording and endorsed the finished product.

Regarding his podium technique, Kenneth Woods blogs, "Look at his hands -- very small and focused motions but so powerful." Woods also states that "his sense of rubato, while still incredibly daring, is perhaps more un-erring than [that of] even Wilhelm Furtwängler."

Jochum's older brother Otto Jochum (1898–1969) was a composer and choral conductor; his younger brother Georg Ludwig Jochum (1909–1970) was, like Jochum, an orchestral conductor. His daughter Veronica Jochum is a pianist on the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.

Jochum died in Munich at the age of 84. His wife Maria predeceased him, in 1985.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1966 Symphony No. 9 Anton Bruckner; Berliner Philharmoniker & Eugen Jochum 1
1967 Symphonie no. 4 »Romantic« Anton Bruckner; Berliner Philharmoniker, Eugen Jochum 2
1968 Carmina Burana Carl Orff; Gundula Janowitz, Gerhard Stolze, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Orchester & Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin, Eugen Jochum 1
1969 Die Neunte Ludwig van Beethoven; Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Eugen Jochum 2
1972 Piano Concerto no. 1 Johannes Brahms; Emil Gilels, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Eugen Jochum 1
1984 Pianos Concertos no. 2 & 4 Ludwig van Beethoven; Maurizio Pollini, Wiener Philharmoniker, Eugen Jochum, Karl Böhm 1
1985 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg Richard Wagner; Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Catarina Ligendza, Christa Ludwig, Plácido Domingo, Horst Laubenthal, Chor und Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin, Eugen Jochum 5 2
1988 Weihnachts-Oratorium Bach; Elly Ameling, Brigitte Fassbaender, Horst R. Laubenthal, Hermann Prey, Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Eugen Jochum 2
1989 Symphony no. 4 in E-flat major “Romantic” Anton Bruckner; Berliner Philharmoniker, Eugen Jochum 1
1990 Symphonie Nr. 9 Anton Bruckner; Berliner Philharmoniker, Eugen Jochum 1
1993 Piano Concertos nos. 1, 2 / Seven Fantasias, op. 116 Brahms; Emil Gilels, Berliner Philharmoniker, Eugen Jochum 3
1995 Mass in B minor Bach; Chor & Symphonie orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Eugen Jochum 3
1995 Die 3 Messen Bruckner; Chor & Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Eugen Jochum 1
1996 Symphony no. 4 / Ein Deutsches Requiem / Schicksalslied Johannes Brahms; Eugen Jochum, Jessye Norman, Jorma Hynninen, Klaus Tennstedt 1
1998 Die Entführung aus dem Serail Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Köth, Wunderlich, Böhme, Chor und Orchester der Bayerischen Staatsoper, Eugen Jochum 1
1998 Symphony No. 7 / Motets: Os justi, Christus factus est Anton Bruckner; Berliner Philharmoniker, Eugen Jochum 1
1999 Te Deum / Motets / Psalm 150 Anton Bruckner; Eugen Jochum, Berliner Philharmoniker 1
1999 Deutsche Grammophon Collection: Missa Sanctae Caecilia Joseph Haydn; Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Eugen Jochum 1
1999 Piano Concerto No. 2 / Fantasien Johannes Brahms; Emil Gilels, Berliner Philharmoniker, Eugen Jochum 1
2000 Piano Concerto No.1 / Meerestille und glückliche Fahrt / Choral Fantasy Beethoven; Maurizio Pollini, Wiener Philharmoniker, Eugen Jochum, Claudio Abbado 1
2000 Symphony no. 5 in B-flat Anton Bruckner; Concertgebouw Orchestra, Eugen Jochum 2
2001 Das Lied von der Erde Gustav Mahler; Concertgebouworkest Amsterdam, Eugen Jochum, Nan Merriman, Ernst Haefliger 1
2001 Matthäus-Passion Johann Sebastian Bach; Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Eugen Jochum, Niederländischer Rundfunkchor, Giebel, Höffgen, Haefliger, Berry, Van Kesteren, Crass 1
2004 Sinfonie Nr.9 d-moll Anton Bruckner; Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Eugen Jochum 1
2005 Musik... Sprache Der Welt, Volume 2 Ferenc Fricsay, Eugen Jochum, Franz Konwitschny, Fritz Lehmann, Igor Markevitch, Otmar Suitner 1
2006 Haydn: Symphony no. 100 "Military" / Symphony no. 101 "The Clock" / Hindemith: Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber Haydn, Hindemith; Jochum 1
2010 Tristan und Isolde Richard Wagner; Astrid Varnay, Ramón Vinay, Ludwig Weber, Chor der Bayreuther Festspiele, Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele, Eugen Jochum 1
Carmina Burana Carl Orff; Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin & Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin, Eugen Jochum 1
Krönungsmesse & Vesperae solennes de confessore Mozart; Chor & Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Eugen Jochum 1
Symphonies Nos. 5 & 8 Beethoven; Concertgebouw Orchestra, Eugen Jochum 1
Symphony no. 6 "Pastoral" / Symphony no. 8 Beethoven; Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest, Eugen Jochum 1
Symphony No. 8 in C minor Anton Bruckner; Berliner Philharmoniker, Eugen Jochum 1
Symphony no. 9 Anton Bruckner; Staatskapelle Dresden, Eugen Jochum 1
Symphony no. 9 "Choral" Beethoven; London Symphony Orchestra, Eugen Jochum 1
Symphony Nos. 1-3 / Tragic Overture / Academic Festival Overture Brahms; Eugen Jochum 1
Til Eulenspiegel / Don Juan / Walzerfolge aus "Der Rosenkavalier" Richard Strauss; Bamberger Symphoniker, Eugen Jochum 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1977 Music of England Frederick Delius, Sir Edward Elgar, Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams; Daniel Barenboim, Eugen Jochum, William Steinberg 1
1988 5 Klavierkonzerte / Chorfantasie Beethoven; Pollini, Wiener Philharmoniker, Böhm, Jochum, Abbado 1
1989 Symphonie Nr. 5 / Symphonie Nr. 8 "Unvollendete" Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert; Eugen Jochum 1
1990 9 Symphonies Anton Bruckner; Berliner Philharmoniker, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Eugen Jochum 2
1992 12 "London" Symphonies Haydn; London Philharmonic Orchestra, Eugen Jochum 2
1994 Cellokonzert / Enigma-variationen Sir Edward Elgar; Pierre Fournier, Berliner Philharmoniker, Alfred Wallenstein, London Symphony Orchestra, Eugen Jochum 1
1995 Beethoven: Violinkonzert / Mozart: Violinkonzert No. 5 Beethoven, Mozart; Wolfgang Schneiderhan, Berliner Philharmoniker, Eugen Jochum 2
2000 The Complete Symphonies Bruckner; Staatskapelle Dresden, Eugen Jochum 1
2002 The 9 Symphonies Beethoven; Eugen Jochum, Berliner Philharmoniker, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks 1
2007 The Symphonies Beethoven; Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest, Eugen Jochum 1
Eugen Jochum Conducts Brahms: Piano Concerto no. 1 and 2 Brahms; Eugen Jochum 1
Symphonies (complete) Bruckner; Staatskapelle Dresden, Eugen Jochum 1

Unspecified type

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1969 Symphony no. 3 “Eroica” Beethoven; Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam, Eugen Jochum 1
Catulli Carmina. Thriumph of Aphrodite Carl Orff/Eugen Jochum 1

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