SIEGMUND VON HAUSEGGER

1872-1948

Many perfect Brucknerites know that the first recording of Bruckner’s Ninth was a pre-war version by the Munich Philharmonic conducted by the imperially monikered Siegmund von Hausegger who had in fact led the premiere of Bruckner’s original version – an editor’s remuddling of the piece had been going the rounds – at a private concert in Munich in 1932. Von H’s mellow, impassioned recording of the Ninth, lately on CD, is alas the only recording that’s come down to us from this teacher of the better-known Eugen Jochum. I for one would have loved to hear his Brahms . . . Now Jochum, there’s a great gentleman of the podium: I treasure his charming Haydn, his searching Grieg concerto in Amsterdam, his ultra-amorous Polish Scene from Boris in Munich. Von Hausegger like a number of our conductors, Weingartner, Walter, Furtwaengler, Blech, was also a composer — could there be a correlation between the passion of his Bruckner and a piece he wrote called Dionysian Fantasy? One could argue this out, I suppose, over those wonderful sausages in the brasserie at Munich’s Hauptbahnhof. Zemlinsky, of course, was the conductor who really made it as a composer, turning out that ripe plum of a song cycle the Lyric Symphony, a fragile giant that soars and twists somewhere between Richard Strauss and Alban Berg and boasts for sure a heart-wrenching final inning — “let love melt into memory,” says the poem by Tagore, “and pain into songs . . .”