C1183. CHARLES MUNCH Cond. NYPO.: Symphonie Liturgique Symphony #3 (Honegger), Live Performance, 26 Jan., 1947 (from a rare existing copy, albeit with numerous technical flaws); Munch Cond. Paris Conservatoire Orch.: Daphnis et Chloé - Suites Nos.1 & 2 (Ravel), recorded 9 Oct., 1946, Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-166. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"Composed in the aftermath of World War II, the Symphonie Liturgique is one of Honegger's best-known works. It is in three movements, each of which (following the symphony's subtitle) is named after part of the Requiem Mass. The first movement, Dies irae, is marked allegro marcato, and has an aggressive, storm-like quality. The slow movement, De profundis clamavi, is in contrast meditative and lyrical. The finale, Dona nobis pacem, is more episodic, with an insistent, brutal marching rhythm building to a dissonant climax, before a long, lyrical coda concludes the work. A melody resembling the robin song from JEANNE D'ARC AU BUCHER, can be heard towards the end of each movement. Honegger himself wrote an extensive commentary on the work, making explicit the music's connection with the horrors of the War, and the desire for peace.
Written in 1945-46 on a commission from the Foundation Pro Helvetia, Honegger's Third Symphony was first performed in Zurich on 17 August 1946 with Charles Munch conducting the Suisse Romande Orchestra."
"It's difficult to articulate what makes Munch's conducting special - or indeed if there even is anything identifiably unique about it. A lesser talent would simply turn out generic, cookie-cutter performances; but Munch was anything but generic. He was one of the most musical of conductors; in so many of his performances, everything simply sounds 'right'. Certainly, his experience as an orchestral musician gave him a lot of practical insight into the mechanics of directing orchestra traffic. But a classic Munch interpretation never sounds calculated. Spontaneity was one of his hallmarks, sometimes to the surprise and discomfort of the musicians playing under him. From one night to the next, a Munch performance of the same piece might be very different, depending on his mood of the moment - yet it would always sound like Munch."
- Lawrence Hansen, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Nov. /Dec., 2012
"When you played a concert with Charles Munch or attended one of his performances as a listener, it was not just a concert - It was an event. He never used the same palette twice. As a player, you had to give 110% of yourself, or be left out of the music."
-Vic Firth, percussionist, Boston Symphony Orchestra
"Each of these disks, from Canadian engineer Yves St Laurent [feature] St Laurent's natural transfer - made without filtering, like all his dubbings - it is easy to listen to, despite the surface noise."
- Tully Potter, CLASSICAL RECORD QUARTERLY, Summer, 2011