Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by George P, May 29, 2015.
It’s my favorite piece of music. How many recordings do you have?
The sole customer review on Amazon goes into some detail:
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With the release of this box, nearly all of Charles Munch’s studio recordings are now available in three boxes from Sony, Decca (reviewed here) and Warner (to find the Warner box, enter “Munch Warner complete” in the Amazon search bar).
Charles Munch’s career divides conveniently into three parts:
--- European mono recordings, 1935-1949, in the Decca box (9 of the 14 CDs) and the Warner box (7 of the 13 CDs).
--- American recordings, 1947-1963 (Boston Symphony) in the 86 CD Sony box: Charles Munch - The Complete RCA Album Collection (19 mono, 67 stereo).
--- European stereo recordings, 1961-1968, in the Decca box (5 CDs) and the Warner box (6 CDs).
Contents of THE LEGACY OF CHARLES MUNCH on Decca:
PRE-WAR MONO on Polydor and L’Oiseau Lyre (one CD)
--- Haydn: Sinfonia Concertante in B flat major - Paris Conservatoire Orchestra 1939
--- Mozart: Adagio & Fugue in C minor K546 - Grand Symphony Orchestra 1939
--- Ravel: Piano Concerto for the left hand with Jacqueline Blancard, Orchestre de la Société Philharmonique de Paris 1938
--- Widor: Fantaisie for Piano & Orchestra with Marcelle Herrenschmidt, Orchestre de la Société Philharmonique de Paris 1938
1946-1949 POSTWAR MONO on Decca (8 CDs)
--- Beethoven: Symphony No.8 - Paris Conservatoire 1947
--- Berlioz: Benvenuto Cellini Overture - Paris Conservatoire 1946
--- Berlioz: Roméo et Juliette (excerpts) - Paris Conservatoire 1949
--- Berlioz: Les Troyens: Chasse royale et Orage - Paris Conservatoire 1949
--- Berlioz: Le Corsaire Overture - Paris Conservatoire 1948
--- Bizet: Symphony in C - London Philharmonic 1947
--- Bizet: La jolie fille de Perth: Danse Bohémienne - London Philharmonic 1947
--- Brahms: Violin Concerto with Ossy Renardy, Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orch. 1948
--- Debussy: Images for orchestra: Ibéria - Paris Conservatoire 1947
--- Debussy: Berceuse héroïque - Paris Conservatoire 1947
--- Faure: Pelléas et Mélisande Suite - London Philharmonic 1947
--- Faure: Pavane - Paris Conservatoire 1946
--- Franck: Symphonic Variations for Piano & Orchestra with Eileen Joyce, Paris Conservatoire 1946
--- Franck: Symphony in D minor - Paris Conservatoire 1946
--- d’Indy: Fervaal: Prelude to Act 1 - Paris Conservatoire 1947
--- Mendelssohn: Symphony No.5 'Reformation' - Paris Conservatoire 1947
--- Prokofiev: Symphony No.1 'Classical' - Paris Conservatoire 1948
--- Ravel: Boléro - Paris Conservatoire 1946
--- Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé Suite No.1 - Paris Conservatoire 1946
--- Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé Suite No.2 - Paris Conservatoire 1946
--- Ravel: Piano Concerto with Nicole Henriot-Schweitzer, Paris Conservatoire 1949
--- Roussel: Petite Suite - Paris Conservatoire 1946
--- Rpussel: Le Festin de l'Araignée: fragments symphonique - London Philharmonic 1947
--- Roussel: Suite in F - London Philharmonic 1947
--- Saint-Saens: Danse macabre - Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orch. 1948
--- Saint-Saens: Le Rouet d'Omphale - Paris Conservatoire 1946
--- Schumann: Symphony No.4 - London Philharmonic 1948
--- Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.6 'Pathétique' - Paris Conservatoire 1948
1961-1968 STEREO (5 CDs)
--- Barraud: Symphony No.3 - Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française VEGA, 1961
--- Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique - Hungarian Radio & Television Orchestra HUNGARITON / PHILIPS, 1966
--- Berlioz: Grande Messe des Morts (Requiem) with Peter Schreier tenor, Bavarian Radio Orchestra DG, 1968
--- Bizet: L'Arlésienne Suite - New Philharmonia Orchestra DECCA PHASE 4, 1967
--- Bizet: Carmen Suite - New Philharmonia Orchestra DECCA PHASE 4, 1967
--- Offenbach: Gaîté Parisienne - New Philharmonia Orchestra DECCA PHASE 4, 1965
--- Respighi: Pines of Rome - New Philharmonia Orchestra DECCA PHASE 4, 1967
--- Respighi: Fountains of Rome - New Philharmonia Orchestra DECCA PHASE 4, 1967
--- Roussel: Bacchus et Ariane Suite No.2 - Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française VEGA, 1961
It’s interesting to compare the mono recordings in the Decca and Warner boxes.
The seven Warner (actually HMV) monos were mostly recorded during World War II with the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra.
Hit-and-miss playing, recorded under harsh conditions, but of great historical interest (see my review of the Warner box).
8 of the 9 Decca monos were recorded after the War using Decca’s new “ffrr” (full-frequency range recording) process.
Not just the Paris Conservatoire, but also the London Philharmonic and Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra.
The Paris Conservatoire used to have a distinctive sound (narrow-bore French vs. wide-bore German horns, or so I’m told), that was lost with the homogenization of orchestral sound in the 1970s.
The postwar monos are better played and better recorded than the wartime monos.
Fortunately there is very little overlap between the two.
It was the success of these Decca recordings that first brought Charles Munch to the attention of the Boston Symphony board of trustees.
All the mono recordings in the new Decca box have been remastered by the reliable Mark Obert-Thorn.
High quality transfers.
Stereo: After retiring from Boston, Munch returned to Europe, where he was signed by EMI and Erato (both in the Warner box), and by Decca and Deutsche Grammophon (both in the Decca box).
Decca recorded Munch in London with the New Philharmonia Orchestra:
Three “Phase 4” stereo LPs were of repertoire new to his discography: Bizet’s Carmen & L'Arlésienne Suites, Offenbach’s Gaîté Parisienne, and Respighi’s Pines & Fountain’s of Rome.
These LPs were tremendous sellers.
The gimmicky “Phase 4” recordings were marketed to a non-classical crossover audience that wanted something classy to show off their home hi-fi systems.
They were among my first classical music purchases as a teenager, and I am still fond of them.
They sound better than ever in these new CD remasterings by Chris Bernauer of Eloquence.
Number of bits not specified.
14 CDs in modified “original jacket” format (original artwork on the front, track listings on the back), with a 32 page booklet.
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I look forward to those. A Paul Paray set is something I have been wishing for.
the quest to find the finest 960 continues.....this is the latest favorite. I thought it came pretty close to the ideal a few times but the last time I heard it not as much. I guess it's a "set and setting" kind of thing.
A quick check turns up seven:
2 versions with Schaller
I know I’m just getting started...
Get the one Wand recorded in a cathedral with the NDR. Also try Celibidache/MPO and Jochum/BPO. And Rattle’s version for the 4th movement.
MOZART: Don Giovanni - Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Colin Davis conducting (US Philips Complete Mozart Edition CD)
Now enjoying a first listen to this wonderful 2 SACD set. The sound quality is superb, you hear every line, every texture, along with the room it was recorded in. And the dynamics are terrific! Tempos are perfect, neither rushed nor dragging. They play this music with incredible precision and joyful enthusiasm.
Here's a review: Mozart Symphonies - SCO & Sir Charles Mackerras - The Berkshire Review | Linn Records
Now enjoying some Mozart in the morning.
French Piano Concertos
I listened to disc 4 which includes works by Lalo, Chaminade, Roussel, & Francaix.
I guess it is common knowledge, but I noticed that Jarre has used a theme from the Lalo Concerto as a main theme in his score for Lawrence of Arabia.
Now enjoying this 2CD set.
Michel Dalberto, piano (Steinway)
Schubert: Complete Piano Sonatas; Piano Works
Listening to disc 1
Recorded Feb 1989; Salle de Chatonneyre, Corseaux, Switzerland
Sonata in A minor: op.42, D845
Sonata in E major: D157
Valses Sentimentales op. 50; D770 (extracts)
Showing my inexperience again. I’ve listened to quite a bit of the genre in recent weeks. And I’m loving Baroque. Yesterday I heard a compilation of Baroque sonatas which included some by JS Bach for oboe and violin and I was mesmerised.
With that in mind, can anyone recommend some albums that I should try please (cd preferably).
Apologies for being so vague. Still learning but enjoying!
String quartet 14 in D minor
Death and the Maiden
Now enjoying this great work. The performance is expressive, dynamic and the sound is superb!
Just as a general matter, it's hard to go wrong with anything performed by the group Musica Antiqua Koln, one of the pillars of the DG Archiv label some years back. You might start with some of the group's recordings of Telemann; they more or less rescued that composer from relegation to bland, dutiful run-throughs that were the status quo norm and showed him to be the colorful master he was (he and J.S. Bach were sufficiently close that Bach named Telemann godfather for one of his children). MAK's recording of Heinichen's so-called "Dresden Concerti" is another stimulating set, well worth knowing.
Well, OK, let me qualify: in my opinion it's hard to go wrong with MAK. The group was not entirely uncontroversial. Some, like Richard Taruskin, hailed them as innovative musicians who were bringing this old music back to life for modern audiences; others, particularly the Penguin People, were put off by the generally fast tempos. As always, you can reach your own conclusions after assessing their work for yourself.
David's suggestion is a good one (as always). I might add that performances of Baroque music by Trevor Pinnock & The English Concert for the Archiv label are also quite good--beautifully recorded and well-regarded for authenticity and spirit of playing.
A couple of albums I particularly enjoy:
--Bach keyboard concertos (or sometimes called Harpsichord Concertos) -- album covers vary from what I'm showing below.
... and Handel's Concerti Grossi, Op. 6. (This is Vol.1... there are two more volumes if you find it to your liking.)
I believe you already own Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, but I highly recommend the set by Pinnock... it's my absolute favorite among many.
Hi David. Again wonderful information. Thank you so much. I will certainly investigate your recommendations.
Im currently listening to a playlist of JS Bach’s cello suites by Yo-Yo Ma. And yet again I’ve found something new to me that I love! Enjoying the journey immensely
Hi Wes. Now those look very interesting indeed. I do own The Brandenburg Concertos and am a big fan. I’ve not heard that recording though, but I will soon.
Handel is another composer who, given the little of his works I’ve played, I definitely like and want to hear more. So many thanks for the recommendation
I enjoyed the excellent playing of these works which are new to me. 3 of the 5 works would be new to most people, since they are first recordings.
Apotheose & Fantasies on French Operas
Mark Viner, piano
Piano Classics, 2019
Thanks for the tip o' the hat, Wes. Good suggestions, which I'll amplify just slightly: Trevor Pinnock and Christopher Hogwood (with his group The Academy of Ancient Music) in their day more or less competed for title of principal "mainstream" practitioners of historically informed performance practice (aka "HIP") on period instruments. MAK was more radical. As I noted, some liked that approach, some didn't. I do. If you prefer modern instruments, the "middle of the road" champs were Sir Neville Marriner with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, aka "ASMF." I don't mean "middle of the road" as an insult but rather purely as a description; I heard the group once, shortly after Marriner left it, and the ensemble and sense of give-and-take were uncanny. Just don't look for any "out of the box" interpretive approaches, at least not as a rule; an exception would be the earlier ASMF traversal of the Brandenburg Cti., which drew on a then-cutting edge edition of the scores by Thurston Dart. Eventually, the HIPsters pretty much swept the field, pushing Marriner to abandon Baroque literature for later repertory.
As to the Bach hpd. cti., in a number of cases Bach wrote those by transcribing cti. for other instruments (primarily violin) by himself or other composers, particularly Vivaldi; the concerto for 4 harpsichords is one example of a Vivaldi-derived work. As an example of Bach transcribing his own work, the E Major violin cto. was the source of the harpsichord cto. in D, BWV 1054. (Both are favorites of mine, by the by.) If you like the Bach takes, you might want to check out the Vivaldi originals, too. Occasionally, someone tries to "reconstruct" a missing presumed source concerto from a surviving harpsichord concerto; these efforts I tend to find a bit less convincing. One exception, which I love despite its being something of a monstrosity from the perspective of "authenticity," is a cello concerto transcribed by one Keleman from Bach's organ concerto usually included with those "after Vivaldi" but actually from a violin cto. by Johann Ernst of Saxe-Weimar. Perhaps much of my fondness has to do with the big-hearted, committed performance it received from Antonio Janigro in this recording (with his group I Solisti di Zagreb, another fine "middle of the road" modern instruments ensemble that, notwithstanding the provenance of this particular record, recorded primarily--and copiously--for Vanguard; image from Amazon):
Now enjoying some Mozart piano concertos by Kempff/Leitner.
Just listened to parts of MAK's Brandenburg Concerto 1, BWV 1046, again and it's not half as fast as I remembered. Others are only a bit slower, while, for instance, Siegfried Rampe with his group Stravaganza take the first movement at breakneck speed, which, in my opinion, makes it almost unlistenable. The MAK recording, which dates from 1986, sounds remarkably fresh and tight. An underrated group, at least by some.
The thing to bear in mind is that the MAK Brandenburgs were much, much faster than what was "normal" at the time of the recordings. I think they set something of a new standard for tempos; thereafter, I have the impression things picked up noticeably from the earlier average. Compare the MAK set with, say, the then much-admired Benjamin Britten set, for example, or with the Aston Magna Festival orchestra on Smithsonian (which, if memory serves, claimed to be the first period instruments traversal of the scores) or, going back to an earlier generation, with the initial "free the Baroque from the Romantic" efforts of Cortot (Ecole Normale Chamber Or.) or Adolf Busch (Busch Chamber Players). None comes close to as fast as MAK. As so often happens, what started out as "radical" has ended up as something like "standard." The Horowitz-style approach to piano tone and tempo or the Toscanini-style approach to symphonic interpretation are other examples. Unfortunately, in the latter two cases what we got was a lot of people trying to imitate the inimitable with boring results. (Oddly enough, though, if you listen to Toscanini's broadcast recording of the Brandenburg #2, as far as I know his sole foray into that literature, at least on records, it isn't all that different in outline from what would eventually become the "historically informed" approach--Toscanini achieving by musical instinct something akin to what later musicians would develop through scholarship.)
Re: Speed-metal Brandenburgs, I started listening to them a lot differently after I became familiar with Bach's Cantatas. I used to think the fast renditions were that much more exciting, but after hearing the cantatas, I started to hear the Brandenburgs as inhabiting that same sound world (some of the movements actually originated in cantatas too). Now I feel if you couldn't imagine an SATB chorus on top of an allegro, or as a sinfonia to a cantata, maybe it's just a little too fast. Harnoncourt with the Concentus Musicus is good example of that for me, and I love the Britten recording.
This morning early as usual. Rozhdestvensky conducting Stravinsky. Suite from “The Firebird” and music from”Apollon Musagete”. USSR Radio and TV Large Symphony Orchestra. Yedang Classics CD. From the box set entitled “Legendary Soviet Recordings”. These are live recordings and feature a large roster of some of the greats. The sound quality is extremely good. This box is getting very hard to find.
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