BBC Legends BBCL 4176-2, 71:56 (Distrib. Koch) ****:
Vigorous, hearty readings of Haydn from veteran German conductor Eugen Jochum (1902-1987) and the London Philharmonic, whom DGG contracted in 1972-1973 to record the complete London Symphonies. The two Haydn symphonies here presented (30 January 1973) come in the midst of that very cycle, in which Jochum commented that “Haydn surpassed Mozart in formal variety; having had to work harder than Mozart, Haydn achieved more startling effects.” Jochum keeps a tight, loving rein on the musical proceedings, allowing Haydn’s rustic colors to shine – as in the pompous military Allegretto of the G Major, where tympani and winds skyrocket. The ensuing Minuet and Presto Finale dance with light feet and comic woodwind entries. “Controlled effervescence,” one contemporary critic responded. So, too, The Clock enjoys a virtuoso reading, energetic and nicely etched in detail. The eponymous “Clock” Andante proceeds at a walking pace, neither dragging nor too precious. Strings and oboe wend a lithe, silken line, punctuated by pizzicati ticks of the hour. Even the explosive, vehement passages retain their countrified charm. Forever fond of the Minuet from the D Major Symphony, I must comment on deft balancing of texture, the extending melodic line in the strings and winds, and the tympani’s underpinning of the basic rhythm.
Jochum’s careful attention to textural and rhythmic niceties is equally apparent in his energetic realization of Hindemith’s Weber transformations (23 June 1977) with the marvelous London Symphony, whose brass sections boasted Barry Tuckwell among others. Like Furtwaengler, Jochum had championed the cause of Hindemith, Bartok, and Stravinsky during the Nazi regime; based in Hamburg, Jochum felt less direct pressure from the Berlin authorities. The raucous Turandot Scherzo has an exuberant irreverence, a bluster we do not always find in the strait-laced Hindemith canon. Brilliant trumpet and battery work, with the horns‚ requisite triple-tonguing, the sound already pointing to the composer’s later associations with the Yale University band. Delicious flute solo in the Andantino. The last movement March has a Romanesque character close to Respighi’s heart. Orchestrated from a piano duet piece, this hefty ensemble piece evokes a shimmering, pulsated series of powerful gestures from Jochum and his obviously inspired LSO players.
— Gary Lemco