C1390. CHARLES MUNCH Cond. Boston S.O.: Romeo et Juliette - Suites for Orchestra, Nos.1 & 2 - Excerpts; w.NICOLE HENRIOT-SCHWEITZER: Piano Concerto #2 in g (both Prokofiev); w.JORGE BOLET: Piano Concerto #1 'In Time of War' (John Maynard la Montaine; Played by the Creator, Bolet). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-301, Live Performances, 1957 & 1959, Symphony Hall, Boston. [Live performances beautifully displaying the splendor of the Symphony Hall acoustic.] [Never previously issued.] Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"Jorge Bolet was a throwback to an earlier era. The pianists he admired most were Hofmann, Rachmaninoff, and Cortot. At his best, Bolet displayed an improvisatory freedom that sounded as if the music was being made up on the spot, but that never distorted the music beyond its structural boundaries."
- Henry Fogel, FANFARE
"Nicole Henriot-Schweitzer studied music at the Conservatoire de Paris in the class of Marguerite Long. She married Vice-Admiral Jean-Jacques Schweitzer, former Major General of the Navy, also one of the nephews of the theologian Albert Schweitzer and the uncle of the officer Louis Schweitzer. The conductors Fritz and Charles Munch were her uncles by marriage, and she was a frequent soloist under Munch during his Boston years with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In 1970 she became a piano teacher at the conservatories of Liège and then Brussels.
John La Montaine became a prolific and much-performed composer, as well as a member of an exclusive club among American composers: in 1959 he received the Pulitzer Prize in Music for Piano Concerto #1, 'In Time of War', which was premiered by the virtuoso Jorge Bolet."
"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