Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.
Symphonies: No. 4,
Charles Munch, cond; Boston SO
RCA 71616 (Hybrid multichannel SACD: 57:59)
Because of necessarily selective reissue programs, we tend to remember Charles Munch as a specialist in French music. His tastes ranged more widely than that, though, and a bit of his non-Gallic repertoire does dribble back onto the market from time to time. Munch’s way with Beethoven was especially enjoyable; French air-checks from the 1960s reveal it to be consistently lean and fleet in what I suppose is a French manner, but it’s by no means lightweight. The same could be said of these 1957 (“Reformation”) and 1958 (“Italian”) Boston Symphony Mendelssohn recordings. The “Italian” Symphony, in particular, abounds with
joie de vivre
, and the more serious “Reformation” Symphony maintains gravity without excessive heaviness. The encore, Mendelssohn’s orchestration of the Scherzo from his Octet, is played exactly as you’d expect of a conductor and orchestra boasting expertise in Berlioz.
As reissued in SACD format, the three-track recordings have a nice spread, with more breadth than depth, but always great clarity. Although the first and second violin sections both lie to the left, they are quite distinct from each other, thanks to the precise balances maintained by both Munch and the engineers.
FANFARE: James Reel
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