Mass in B minor BWV 232
Conducted by Eugen Jochum
Views on Eugen Jochum’s [2nd] B-minor Mass recording
Dougie Sospiro wrote (October 13, 2001):
As I mentioned previously, the [early '80s] Jochum was my 1st Bach B minor [so far still the only 1 in my collection]. I actually give it quite some airtime - it's a rousing recording, tempi are quite well-judged for a "traditional" performance [although I previously mentioned a wiff of Grosse Kapellmeister - Jochum doesn't take Brucknerian tempi but also doesn't sound as if he owes his choices to the HIP crowd], the choir & orchestra sound rather large [therefore inherently Romantic] but there are some stylistic nods here & there [understanding of the Baroque trills, sensitive articulation]. The orchestra does sound quite rich & colorful, yet graceful - this rendition has been deemed the standard of convential 20th-c. performance practice of this piece. It may be a little rich for some people's blood.
Jochum's soloists are mostly excellent: soprano Helen Donath & tenor Claes Haken Ahnsjo were 2 light-lyric voices that got quite some stage & concert exposure in their time but were overlooked in favor of other stars. Would we had any of their ilk today, frankly! Their suave, sweet, always elegant efforts raise their work to the level of delight, esp. Ahnsjo [Donath isn't in her best voice here, a slight acidity in the tone coming to the fore here & there; yet you can hear the artist underneath]. Mezzo Brigitte Fassbaender sings w/ great sincerity & that wonderful warm tone, always reminiscent of caramel [almost Mahlerian caramel, some may say] - her "Laudamus te" is quite good. 2 basses split up the arias b/t themselves: Roland Hermann & Robert Holl are similar in timbre to my ears. They don't have the easiest time w/ these arias [as well as being just plain unenlightening], but they give it a good show. [Nonetheless, other versions will refresh you more: Stephen Varcoe's "Et in Spiritum sanctum" under Gardiner's lilting baton was a shocker when I 1st heard it!].
All in all still a very GRAND rendition, whose grandezza comes from w/in instead of reeking of "hail-almighty-high-Lutheran-post-Wagnerian-phobically-traditional" posturing. Other views would be MORE than welcome, whether in agreement or dissent!
Eugen Jochum: Short Biogrophy | Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphonieorchester | Recordings | BWV 232 – Jochum | BWV 245 – Jochum