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L’Art de Veronica Jochum Volume 2

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Piano Concerto No 6 in B flat K238 (1776)
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in A minor Op 54 (1841-45)
Veronica Jochum (piano)
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Martin Turnovsky (Mozart, 29 October 1969)
National Orchestra of France/Eugen Jochum (Schumann, 14 May 1982)
TAHRA 487 [50.43]


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Veronica Jochum – daughter of Eugen as I suppose she must, even now, be introduced – studied with Rudolf Serkin though she’d also taken lessons from Joseph Benvenuti in Paris. As she freely admits in the accompanying booklet interview her admiration for her father was so strong that Serkin, despite his own admiration for him, decided on a complete break for her – and so she studied with Serkin in America. From about 1960 onwards she has performed widely, with a repertoire that takes in over thirty-five concertos. She is now on the faculty of the New England Conservatoire of Music in Boston and has a strong commitment to twentieth century music. Tahra has already issued a double set of her performances, which included the first Beethoven Concerto, two concertos by Mozart and Bartók 3 – all conducted by Eugen Jochum. Also included was a world premiere performance of Edwin Fischer’s Five Sketches (her plans to study with Fischer had earlier been thwarted by his increasing infirmity).

There are two concertos here, the early B flat concerto by Mozart and the Schumann (she is an avowed exponent of the concerto as she is of Clara Schumann’s piano music which she has recorded). She is accompanied by that fine musician Martin Turnovsky, Prague born and a Szell student. She was fortunate in her conductor because Turnovsky is an alert and stylish Mozartian and always has been. He conducts the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in a 1969 radio performance with idiomatic intelligence and together with Jochum they bring a youthful and pleasurable sensitivity to the work. Her cadenza in the opening Allegro aperto is properly scaled and she is affectionate in the slow movement. Tight and bright rhythm informs the finale, with a good spring in Jochum’s left hand, and Turnovsky is careful not to allow the horns to engage in too stentorian and florid a flourish. In fact he is perspicaciousness itself here – nothing overblown, everything properly accorded its rightful, balanced place.

The Schumann Concerto marked the last time the two Jochums played the piece together – though it was by no means the end of their concert giving together. Oddly enough, though this was recorded in the Salle Pleyel in 1982, the sound is significantly less immediate than in the case of the Mozart recorded thirteen years earlier in Bavaria. There is also some orchestral congestion. This is a well-shaped and seemly performance though not one that offers any true insights into the work. There is a sense of caution in the Allegro affettuoso and whilst the Intermezzo is negotiated with skill and sensitivity, the Allegro vivace finale – whilst properly accommodating of the poetry and drama of the movement and negotiated with digital finesse - seems to hang fire. The basses are, it’s true, nicely dark, and there is nothing speciously Olympian or melodramatic either but there can be a want of fire and excitement.

An attractive coupling nevertheless - and one that will remind people that there is more than one Jochum in the musical firmament.

Jonathan Woolf

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