Charles Munch 13 CD Warner box

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Lance
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Charles Munch 13 CD Warner box

Post by Lance » Thu Sep 27, 2018 12:53 pm

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I know on CMG we have different opinions of the work of Charles Munch. Personally, in many of his recordings I find him to be excellent. Now Warner has put together a 13-CD boxed set of Munch's recordings made between 1935-1949 and 1965-1968. If you have enjoyed the Munch RCA boxed set, you might want to investigate this one as well. Here's the blurb on it.


"These 13 CDs, containing Munch’s entire Warner Classics catalogue, comprise recordings made between 1935 and 1949 (CD 7-13) and 1965 and 1968 (the year of the conductor’s death, CD1-6). The repertoire on the 13 CDs is wide-ranging – from the Baroque era to the mid-20th century (Bach and Vivaldi to Dutilleux and Jolivet) and from core repertoire to rarities. The 78 rpm era recordings find here their first original complete edition and they include numerous official premieres on CD. Roussel’s Suite in F recorded for Erato is released here for the first time on CD. The Berlioz Symphonie fantastique with the Orchestre de Paris was recorded a few days before the first concert of the orchestra: the first notes ever played by the Orchestre de Paris. Jean-Charles Hoffelé, in his note for the boxset, sums up Munch’s style thus: “… his frenetic rhythms, his enormously varied palette of intense colours … his unerring feeling for a crescendo, all the subtle accents and phrasing that make his performances speak directly to the audience, and above all an irrepressible sense of movement …”
Lance G. Hill
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Re: Charles Munch 13 CD Warner box

Post by Lance » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:56 pm

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The above Munch set arrived today. It is an excellent presentation by Warner Classics. I know there are varying opinions on CMG of conductor Munch, chiefly remembered for his 13 years with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, however, his conducting career goes much deeper than the BSO. If you have the complete recordings he made for RCA and Columbia in his mega-box [RCA 16969, 88 CDs], it's a superb presentation. Warner now follows with their 13-CD set of recordings Munch made for EMI and Erato. The first six CDs cover his stereo recordings. The balance are recordings made via the days of 78s, which were of most importance to me though many have been reissued on CDs transferred by mostly smaller, independent labels. You will see names such as Bernac, Panzera, Marguerite Long, Cortot, Jean Doyen, Fevrier, Navarra, Szigeti, and Thibaud among others as collaborators within these discs with transfers made from the original matices or recordings; all have been remastered for this edition.

Jean-Charles Hoffelé's booklet notes are in-depth and give you an excellent review of Munch. The box blurb has this to say:

"Prominent in the musical evolution of 20th century France, Charles Munch {1891-1968) also spent 13-epoch-making years with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. This collection assembles newly-remastered versions of all the recordings he made for EMI and Erato in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1960s. The repertoire ranges wide — from the Baroque to Modernism — and the 1965 recording of Roussel's Suite in F Major makes its first apperance on CD. Berlioz's Symphonie fantasique — a Munch specialty — features twice. The version from 1967 marked the recording debut of the newly-established Orchestre de Paris under its inaugural music director."
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Charles Munch 13 CD Warner box

Post by Lance » Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:11 pm

Brian/maestrob, is this possibly on your "to get" list, of do you have enough of Munch?
Lance G. Hill
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maestrob
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Re: Charles Munch 13 CD Warner box

Post by maestrob » Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:40 am

Lance wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:11 pm
Brian/maestrob, is this possibly on your "to get" list, of do you have enough of Munch?
Lance, I'll be truthful and as kind as I can be here. Munch's recordings of French repertoire w/Boston are very well done, except for the harsh sound of the orchestra to my ears. I treasure his Berlioz Requiem with the unsurpassed Simoneau, as well as the Berlioz overtures and d'Indy's Symphony on a French Mountain Air, and the Beethoven Violin Concerto with Heifetz. That said, I also have the RCA box of Munch's recordings of various standards by mainstream composers, and I find the recordings and interpretations quite inferior. Orchestral discipline is lacking, and tone quality is quite dry, with odd sounds coming from brass and winds, and harsh, sloppy strings.Not to mention certain odd tempi and transitions from one musical idea to another. Particularly compared with the rest of the Big Five of that era, I prefer Leinsdorf's Boston readings of, say, Prokofiev & Mahler to anything in that Munch set.

Munch, therefore, is a mixed bag for me, and I will not be acquiring this set.

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Re: Charles Munch 13 CD Warner box

Post by John F » Sun Oct 07, 2018 1:09 pm

The BSO's coarse playing when I heard them under Munch had significantly to do with the brass: Roger Voisin's blaring trumpet which stuck out of the texture, James Stagliano's horn with a clam or more a minute. These are not so evident in their studio recordings, made on the floor of Symphony Hall with a big assist from RCA Victor's recording engineers and tape editors. But I remember a typical Voisin moment in the first movement of Munch's recording of the Saint-Sains 3rd symphony, and listening to it now, my memory has not deceived me. The passage begins at 4:20.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aboz15HsEw

A really coarse Voisin solo comes at 7:24. There's nothing like this in Munch's 1947 recording with the New York Philharmonic. But that orchestra's conductor at the time was Artur Rodzinski, so they were in much better shape than the BSO in 1959.

Stagliano got Sviatoslav Richter's performance of the Brahms 2nd concerto off to a bad start with the most insecure, clam-filled solos I've heard from a major orchestra, up to the NY Phil under Mehta with Philip Myers as principal horn. But that's another story. And yet Richter had the highest praise for Munch. Go figure.

These players were still in the orchestra during Leinsdorf's tenure but he got more out of them, perhaps because he demanded more from them than the laissez-faire Munch.
John Francis

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Re: Charles Munch 13 CD Warner box

Post by Lance » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:30 pm

I've thought of doing a radio tribute to Munch but using non-Boston Symphony Orchestra recordings. There is actually quite a bit commercially and privately. Yet, as I view his BSO mega-set, it would be a shame not to include some of his Berlioz, and a collaboration or two with Rubinstein, Janis, Heifetz, de los Angeles, Piatigorsky, Richter, etc. How does this idea strike you?
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Charles Munch 13 CD Warner box

Post by maestrob » Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:39 am

Of the BSO recordings I own, I would recommend an excerpt from the Berlioz Requiem, a Berlioz Overture, the March to the Scaffold from the Symphonie fantastique, and the Symphony on a French Mountain Air w/Munch's niece(?), Nicole Henriot-Schweitzer(spelling?), a rarity and delightful listening.

What do you think? There are other choices (The Franck D minor Symphony, the Beethoven Violin Concerto w/Heifetz) that could also be thrown in if you can find the room.

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Re: Charles Munch 13 CD Warner box

Post by Lance » Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:27 pm

Thank you, Brian. Did you not get the Munch Edition? Quite a package. Your suggestions sound excellent. Thank you.
maestrob wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:39 am
Of the BSO recordings I own, I would recommend an excerpt from the Berlioz Requiem, a Berlioz Overture, the March to the Scaffold from the Symphonie fantastique, and the Symphony on a French Mountain Air w/Munch's niece(?), Nicole Henriot-Schweitzer(spelling?), a rarity and delightful listening.

What do you think? There are other choices (The Franck D minor Symphony, the Beethoven Violin Concerto w/Heifetz) that could also be thrown in if you can find the room.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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maestrob
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Re: Charles Munch 13 CD Warner box

Post by maestrob » Fri Oct 19, 2018 11:09 am

Sorry, Lance, I did not get the Munch edition, mostly because I have all I want from him and for space reasons (just not enough room!). Glad you liked my choices. :D

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