Anyone who has never seen Charles Münch leading an orchestra would do well to check out this DVD just for the experience. Unlike many of his more dour, stern contemporaries, Münch's affect on the podium is one of a child captivated in innocent bliss. That is to say Münch smiles, closes his eyes, and experiences the music as it flows from the orchestra, and, yes, he even occasionally shouts out when his emotions get the better of him. All of these characteristics translate directly into moving and spontaneous performances by virtually any orchestra under his baton. This DVD opens with an incomplete performance of Brahms' First Symphony with the Orchestre National de l'ORTF in Tokyo in 1966. The liner notes indicate that theRead more first movement is inexplicably missing. No matter, really; Münch's energy and the orchestra's passion in the remaining three movements more than make up for the missing opening movement. His tempos are somewhat sprightly and the recorded sound quality of the orchestra isn't fantastic, but the footage of Münch actually leading the orchestra is quite instructive. Münch and l'ORTF also perform Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe Second Suite. The low recording quality makes hearing the intricate inner voices somewhat of a challenge, but the vast array of expressions on Münch's face fills in the blanks.
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