C1550. PIERRE MONTEUX Cond. London S.O.: Symphony #8 in F (Beethoven); Symphony #2 in D (Brahms); Fetes, #2 - Nocturne (Debussy). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-496, Live Performance, 15 April, 1963, Festival Hall, Osaka. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"Pierre Monteux conducted the infamous first performance of LE SACRE DU PRINTEMPS. The BSO players seem to be playing on the edge of their seats with commitment. Over the years, LE SACRE (The Rite of Spring) of 1913 has remained Stravinsky's best known work. This is due, in part, to the fact that in addition to its musical uniqueness, LE SACRE serves as a virtual compendium of the early twentieth century music vocabulary. More specifically, as a result of the work's seemingly unromantic, asymmetrical, and violent nature, LE SACRE DU PRINTEMPS is often classified as the prime example of musical primitivism.
Monteux served as principal violist in the Opera-Comique, and was also assistant conductor and concertmaster of the Concerts Colonne. In 1894 he joined the Quatuor Geloso as a violist and was privileged to participate in the performance of a Brahms quartet in the composer's presence. In 1908 he became conductor of the Orchestre du Casino in Dieppe and in 1911 founded a series called the Concerts Berlioz. In the same year, he began an historic association when he was hired by Diaghilev to conduct his Ballets Russes. He led the premieres of Ravel's DAPHNIS ET CHLOE, Debussy's JEUX, and Stravinsky's PETRUSHKA and LE SACRE DU PRINTEMPS, the last of which caused a notorious audience riot.
In 1914, when war broke out, he was called to military service. He received a discharge in 1916 and travelled to the United States, where he obtained a conducting post at the Metropolitan Opera that lasted until 1919. At that point he was engaged to conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Taking up the post in 1920, he walked into a labor dispute, with his musicians on strike; by the time the strike was settled, the concertmaster and 30 other musicians had left. Monteux had to rebuild the orchestra - a difficult task, but an opportunity for Monteux to mold the orchestra according to his own taste. Ever since then, the Boston Symphony Orchestra has been known for its French sound and its expertise in French and Russian repertoire. He remained in Boston through 1924, gaining a reputation as a supporter of modern music. He brought to America not only Stravinsky and the French composers, but such others as Respighi, Vaughan Williams, and Honegger."
- Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com