The Legacy of Charles Munch

2096
$89.95
SKU —
00028948402199
In stock
Product Code:
00028948402199
RELEASE DATE: 01/05/2020
14 CD

The inspirational French maestro on disc: an unrivalled retrospective, covering three decades of incandescent music-making, including recordings new to CD and long unavailable, newly remastered and comprehensively documented.

In the memories of most record-buyers, Charles Munch was indelibly and almost exclusively associated with the RCA label, thanks to a string of spectacular albums made during his 13-year-long tenure as Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. From telecasts of that era too is fixed the image of the white-haired, square-jawed maestro urging on his Boston musicians to ever greater heights of intensity with gestures of both elemental passion and delicious legerdemain.

These qualities were also present, however, in the recordings made by Munch for several other labels throughout his career. They have now been brought together by Eloquence in a set that offers the most rounded portrait yet of the conductor throughout his career. His earliest recordings were made in Paris for Polydor and for L’Oiseau Lyre in 1938, of concertante works by Ravel, Widor (the rarely heard Fantasie for piano and orchestra) and Haydn: these have been newly transferred from original masters by Mark Obert-Thorn.

From the beginning of his postwar contract with Decca come London-made recordings of French repertoire (Berlioz, Bizet, Debussy, Fauré, Franck, Ravel, Roussel, Saint-Saëns) and Austro-German symphonies (Beethoven 8, Mendelssohn 5, Schumann 4), conducting the orchestra of the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire which he had led since 1939. In these performances, sustained throughout by a sweeping legato line, we may recall Munch’s insistence that ‘To be a conductor is not a métier but rather a sacred rite.’ This is no less true of a ragged but thrilling ‘Pathétique’ Symphony from 1948, now recorded in Paris.

After the Boston years, Munch struck up a partnership with the New Philharmonia Orchestra (1965-7), which yielded albums of Bizet, Offenbach and Respighi in which the conjuror’s magic fire remained undimmed. He also returned with them to a suite from Roussel’s Bacchus et Ariane ballet which was always a Munch favourite in concert. His last studio account – from Budapest in 1966 – of the Symphonie fantastique is also here, having appeared on Fidelio, Hungaroton and Philips, but long unavailable. The set concludes with more Berlioz – Munch’s sole recording for Deutsche Grammophon, of the Grande messe des morts. This was made in Munich in 1967, the year before his death, and is a moving testament to the conductor’s career-long dedication to realizing the most original orchestral and acoustic possibilities explored by a composer who, like Munch himself, always went his own way.

CD 1*
MAURICE RAVEL (1875–1937)
1 Piano Concerto for the Left Hand
Jacqueline Blancard, piano
Orchestre de la Société Philharmonique de Paris
CHARLES-MARIE WIDOR (1844–1937)
2 Fantasie for Piano and Orchestra
Marcelle Herrenschmidt, piano
Orchestre de la Société Philharmonique de Paris

FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN (1732–1809)
3–5 Sinfonia Concertante in B flat major, Hob.I:105
Roland Charmy, violin
André Navarra, cello
Fernand Oubradous, bassoon
Myrtil Morel, oboe
L’Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire de Paris

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756–1791)
6–7 Adagio and Fugue in C minor, KV 546
Grand Symphony Orchestra
*FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA


CD 2*
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770–1827)
1–4 Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93

FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809–1847)
5–8 Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 107 ‘Reformation’
L’Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire de Paris
*FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA


CD 3
HECTOR BERLIOZ (1803–1869)
1 Benvenuto Cellini – Overture
2–4 Roméo et Juliette, Op. 17 – Scènes
5 Les Troyens – Chasse royale et orage
6 Le Corsaire – Overture, Op. 21
L’Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire de Paris


CD 4*
ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810–1856)
1–4 Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120

JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833–1897)
5–7 Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77
Ossy Renardy, violin (Brahms)
London Philharmonic Orchestra (Schumann)
Concertgebouworkest (Brahms)
*FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA


CD 5

CÉSAR FRANCK (1822–1890)
1 Variations symphoniques
2–4 Symphony in D minor

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835–1891)
5 Le Rouet d’Omphale, Op. 31*
6 Danse macabre, Op. 40*
Eileen Joyce, piano (Franck: Variations symphoniques)
L’Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire de Paris (Franck; Saint-Saëns: Le Rouet d’Omphale)
Concertgebouworkest (Saint-Saëns: Danse macabre)
*FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA


CD 6*
GEORGES BIZET (1838–1875)
1–4 Symphony in C major
5 La Jolie fille de Perth – Danse bohémienne

GABRIEL FAURÉ (1845–1924)
6–9 Pelléas et Mélisande, Op. 80 – Suite
10 Pavane, Op. 50

VINCENT D’INDY (1851–1931)
11 Fervaal, Op. 40 – Prélude (Act I)
London Philharmonic Orchestra (Bizet; Fauré: Pelléas et Mélisande)
L’Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire de Paris (Fauré: Pavane; d’Indy)
*FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA


CD 7*
SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891–1953)
1–4 Symphony No. 1 in D major, Op. 25 ‘Classical’

PIOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893)
5–8 Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 ‘Pathétique’
L’Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire de Paris
*FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA


CD 8*
CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862–1918)
1–3 Ibéria (No. 2 of Images pour orchestra)
4 Berceuse héroïque

ALBERT ROUSSEL (1869–1937)
5–7 Petite Suite, Op. 39
8–14 Le Festin de l’araignée, Op. 17 – Fragments symphoniques
15–17 Suite in F major, Op. 33
L’Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire de Paris (Debussy, Roussel: Petite Suite)
London Philharmonic Orchestra (Roussel: Le Festin de l’araignée, Suite in F major)
*FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA


CD 9
MAURICE RAVEL (1875–1937)
1–3 Piano Concerto in G major°
4–5 Daphnis et Chloé – Suite No. 1*
6–8 Daphnis et Chloé – Suite No. 2*
9 Boléro*
Nicole Henriot-Schweitzer, piano (Concerto)
L’Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire de Paris
*FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA
°FIRST INTERNATIONAL CD RELEASE ON DECCA


CD 10
JACQUES OFFENBACH (1819–1880)
Arranged by Manuel Rosenthal (1904–2003)
1–21 Gaîté Parisienne

GEORGES BIZET (1838–1875)
22–28 Carmen – Suite
New Philharmonia Orchestra


CD 11
OTTORINO RESPIGHI (1879–1936)
1–4 Pini di Roma
5–8 Fontane di Roma

GEORGES BIZET (1838–1875)
9–13 L’Arlésienne – Suite

New Philharmonia Orchestra


CD 12*
HENRY BARRAUD (1900–1997)
1–4 Symphony No. 3

ALBERT ROUSSEL (1869–1937)
5–8 Bacchus et Ariane, Op. 43 – Ballet Suite No. 2
Orchestre National de la RTF
*FIRST INTERNATIONAL CD RELEASE ON DECCA


CD 13
HECTOR BERLIOZ (1803–1869)
1–5 Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14
Hungarian Radio and Television Orchestra

6–7 Requiem, Op. 5 (Grande messe des morts) beginning


CD 14
1–8 Requiem, Op. 5 (Grande messe des morts) conclusion
Peter Schreier, tenor
Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Wolfgang Schubert, chorus master
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
CHARLES MUNCH

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