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Late Romantic Masterpieces / Charles Munch

Munch,Charles
Release Date: 06/12/2012 
Label:  Rca   Catalog #: 899792   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Richard WagnerPeter Ilyich TchaikovskyAntonín DvorákGustav Mahler,   ... 
Performer:  Eileen FarrellHenryk SzeryngGregor PiatigorskyMaureen Forrester
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 7 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews


Munch’s recordings with the Boston Symphony constitute an “era,” and even if his performances weren’t always the best collectors often want them for their individual qualities. Happily, many of these performances do belong in the select company of the best available. Start with the three discs of Tchaikovsky: the Fourth and Sixth Symphonies, Romeo and Juliet, Francesca da Rimini, Serenade for Strings, and the Violin Concerto (with Henryk Szerying). Munch always was a great Tchaikovsky conductor; he responded to the composer’s often almost hysterical passion with complete spontaneity and conviction. Start with Romeo and Juliet, surely one of the reference recordings of the work, but the other pieces are scarcely less fine.
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Two discs offer important vocal collaborations, both of some historical importance. Eileen Farrell, the legendary Wagnerian soprano who recorded very little Wagner (or anything else) appears in a stunning program of highlights from Tannhäuser, Tristan, and the Ring. Happily, the sonics have been remastered to put more air between Farrell and the orchestra, and she sounds most impressive in Isolde’s Liebestod and Brünnhilde’s Immolation Scene. So does the orchestra, for that matter.


The great Mahler singer Maureen Forrester is in spectacular voice in these performances of Songs of a Wayfarer and Kindertotenlieder. Yes, she’s placed too forwardly in the mix, but her voice can stand up to the scrutiny, and has “In diesem Wetter,” the last of the Kindertotenlieder, ever been launched more harrowingly (first sound clip)?


The art of cellist Gregor Piatigorsky is admirably represented in a particularly vivacious account of Strauss’ Don Quixote, and a dynamically charged reading of the Dvorák concerto, with an especially passionate account of the slow movement. Till Eulenspiegel rounds out the Strauss offerings, while Munch’s Dvorák Eighth Symphony has always been one of the best available. As just a tiny example of Munch’s magnetic presence, even in the most hackneyed warhorses, consider his handling of the symphony’s finale (second sound clip), where the retouched trumpets and take-no-prisoners approach give the music the 100% commitment it deserves.


A great set, then, and one that fans of the Munch era will find irresistible. But it also has a thing to two to teach the rest of us.
-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Tannhäuser: Overture and Venusberg Music by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845/1861; Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/01/1957 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Boston 
Length: 21 Minutes 5 Secs. 
2.
Tristan und Isolde: Prelude and Liebestod (with voice) by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Eileen Farrell (Soprano)
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/25/1957 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Boston 
Length: 17 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Language: German 
3.
Die Walküre: Magic Fire Music by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856; Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/01/1957 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Boston 
Length: 7 Minutes 26 Secs. 
4.
Götterdämmerung: Dawn and Siegfried's Rhine Journey by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1957 
5.
Götterdämmerung: Immolation by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Eileen Farrell (Soprano)
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/25/1957 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Boston 
Length: 20 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Language: German 
6.
Symphony no 4 in F minor, Op. 36 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877-1878; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1955 
7.
Serenade for Strings in C major, Op. 48 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1957 
8.
Symphony no 6 in B minor, Op. 74 "Pathétique" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1962 
Length: 45 Minutes 30 Secs. 
9.
Romeo and Juliet Overture by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869/1880; Russia 
10.
Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 35 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Henryk Szeryng (Violin)
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Russia 
11.
Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876; Russia 
12.
Symphony no 8 in G major, Op. 88/B 163 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889; Bohemia 
13.
Concerto for Cello in B minor, Op. 104/B 191 by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Gregor Piatigorsky (Cello)
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1895; USA 
14.
Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Maureen Forrester (Alto)
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883-1896; Germany 
15.
Kindertotenlieder by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Maureen Forrester (Alto)
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901-1904; Vienna, Austria 
16.
Don Quixote, Op. 35 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Gregor Piatigorsky (Cello)
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896-1897; Germany 
17.
Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1895; Germany 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  4 Customer Reviews )
 greatest conductor September 21, 2013 By robert freeman chadis (oslo, oslo) See All My Reviews "charles munch is the greatest conductor." Report Abuse
 High Praise for This Collection July 26, 2012 By Daniel G. (Sarasota, FL) See All My Reviews "I always loved the way Munch interpreted the standard romantic repertory. He usually produced thrilling performances. The Boston Symphony always had a brilliant golden sound. My grandmother had a subscription for years to all the Boston Symphony Concerts at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and she took me to most of them. What a way to hear the great romantic symphonic music for the first time in person.

None of these performances rank as best, although I always had a special liking for Munch's Tchaikovsky 4. But none of these performances will disappoint. Munch's performances are generally exciting, the recorded sound is excellent in most of these performances. The tympani in the Dvorak 8 are too loud and tend to overwhelm the orchestra at times. Eileen Farrell's Immolation Scene is thrilling although she later surpassed this recording with Leonard Bernstein. At this price this box is an excellent value."
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 great collection July 26, 2012 By philip g. (succasunna, NJ) See All My Reviews "I greatly enjoyed all the performances in this collection of recordings by Charles Munch and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. I think that they are all first rate performances and would highly recommend." Report Abuse
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