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Debussy: La Mer; Prelude A L'apres Midi D'un Faune, Ibert: Escales / Munch, BSO


Release Date: 04/05/2011 
Label:  Rca   Catalog #: 68954  
Composer:  Claude DebussyJacques Ibert
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

"This is a fine performance and recording of La Mer. Reviewing Paray's record last month I said that, though he gave a meticulously clear performance of the score, he seemed to me to have forgotten what the music was about. Munch makes no such mistake but gives a superb series of impressions of the sea. Here is the colour and the sweep, the forward-flowing movement. It is certainly among the most recommended issues of this music: indeed, I think, one would only consider the superb Toscanini disc as a rival. The orchestral playing itself is of virtuoso standard."

-- T.H., Gramophone [12/1957] Reviewing original LP of La Mer

So many records carry performances that are all right as far as they go
Read more but are really no more remarkable than one would expect to hear at any good concert. This one is the more welcome because all the performances are of great distinction, both in the sensitivity of Munch's conducting and in the marvellous playing by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. There is a beautiful and pliant L'aprs-midi d'un faune to start with, not only expressive of the dreamy, hot afternoon but, by emphasis of little sharp sforzandi in 'he oboes, muted horns and so on, bringing out more than usual the faun's chasing of nymphs and naiads.

Fetes is taken at an easy-going speed, which is much more to my liking than the exceedingly fast tempo adopted by Monteux and Giulini; indeed, some way in Munch even lets the pace slacken, which should be a bad thing but somehow comes off! The distant trumpets are very remote indeed— as they are in Giulini's recent recording— and I should have said that the remoteness was artificially produced; but I must be careful, for, when I reviewed Giulini's record for the BBC and made that comment, I was rung up immediately I got home by the Philharmonia's principal trumpet who told me that he had gone to the greatest trouble to get special mutes (American, I gather) to achieve that utmost remoteness and he swore it was all their own work and not the engineers'! The only thing that matters is whether you like them so distant that they sound as if they are at the other end of France; if I am hesitant about this, perhaps it is only that all my life I've got used to something nearer and now I am a bit square on this effect.

A small point it certainly is and I love the performance as a whole—and, indeed, all the performances on this record, especially as I have a weakness for the early piece, Printemps; immature Debussy it may be but it's just the thing to put on when you aren't feeling too critical and are in a bit of a romantic mood.

Recordings are as good as the performances, with only the very slight remark that on the stereo disc (not on the mono) some very soft passages have a faint tape background—you certainly hear the tape cut off after some pieces. Still, the general gain from stereo is as marked as usual, good as the mono is.

-- T.H., Gramophone [8/1963] Review of original LP
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Works on This Recording

1.
La mer by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903-1905; France 
Date of Recording: 12/09/1956 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Boston, USA 
Length: 22 Minutes 51 Secs. 
2.
Escales by Jacques Ibert
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922; France 
Date of Recording: 12/10/1956 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Boston, USA 
Length: 15 Minutes 25 Secs. 
3.
Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892-1894; France 
Date of Recording: 03/13/1962 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Boston, USA 
Length: 9 Minutes 06 Secs. 
4.
Printemps by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1887; France 
Date of Recording: 03/13/1962 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Boston, USA 
Length: 15 Minutes 57 Secs. 
5.
Nocturnes (3) for Orchestra: no 1, Nuages by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1897-1899; France 
Date of Recording: 03/13/1962 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Boston, USA 
Length: 7 Minutes 23 Secs. 
6.
Nocturnes (3) for Orchestra: no 2, Fêtes by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: French Impressionist 
Date of Recording: 03/13/1962 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Boston, USA 
Length: 6 Minutes 41 Secs. 

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