Bruckner: Symphony No. 5 in B flat; Symphony No. 6 in A

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COMPOSERS: Bruckner
LABELS: EMI Forte
WORKS: Symphony No. 5 in B flat; Symphony No. 6 in A
PERFORMER: Dresden Staatskapelle/Eugen Jochum
CATALOGUE NO: CZS 5 72661 2 ADD Reissue (1981, 1982)
The palpable feeling of Tightness which Jochum always communicates in this music is a matter of pacing (flexible but organic) and sonority (the Dresden orchestra showing again that its playing can be second to none). There is plenty of forward momentum, though, also, passages of sublime restraint. The recorded sound allows the brass its necessary head without swamping the strings’ arching cantabile. In the Fifth Symphony — venomous, rustic, poignant and finally overwhelming — Jochum is his own chief competitor in a live Concertgebouw recording (but on two full-price discs).

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The somewhat neglected Sixth Symphony is launched with a purposefulness which counters any tendency for the symphonic argument to go astray. The scherzo is full of spine-tingling expectancy and release, though in both the lovely adagio and the finale I would still, though marginally, sacrifice Jochum’s wealth of passing splendours for the less glamorous but more cumulatively inevitable Klemperer. David Wilkins