C1411. CHARLES MUNCH Cond. Boston S.O., Harvard Glee Club, Radcliffe Choral Society, Adele Addison, Eleanor Davis, Richard Gilley & Donald Gramm: Regina coeli, K.108; Vesperae de dominica, K.321 (both Mozart); Réquiem (Fauré). (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-308, Live Performance, 9 March, 1955, Symphony Hall, Boston. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"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
"Soprano Adele Addison is best known as the singing voice of Bess, portrayed on-screen by Dorothy Dandridge, in the 1959 film version of PORGY AND BESS. Addison made her NYC recital debut in 1952 and began studying at Juilliard, debuting with the New York City Opera as Mimi in LA BOHEME in 1955. Though offered operatic roles, Addison chose to perform primarily in recital and concert, and developed a collaborative relationship with Leonard Bernstein, singing under his baton at the 1962 opening of Lincoln Center's Philharmonic Hall. Addison taught voice at SUNY Stony Brook, Eastman School of Music, Aspen Music Festival and the Manhattan School of Music, where she also served as chair of the voice department."
- OPERA NEWS, 16 Feb., 2013
"Donald Gramm, a distinguished, aristocratic American bass-baritone, was unusual for an American singer because [his career] was concentrated almost entirely in this country. His work was divided between opera and concert appearances. He sang with the Metropolitan and New York City Operas, as well with opera companies, symphony orchestras and chamber series all over the country.
His voice ranged from the lowest bass notes into the upper baritone reaches. He had an unusually rich, noble tone, and although its volume may not have been large, it penetrated even the biggest theaters easily. Technically, he could handle bel-canto ornamentation fluently. But his real strengths lay in his aristocratic musicianship (impeccable phrasing that he polished by accompanying himself at the piano, and an easy command of five languages) and his instinctive acting.
Mr. Gramm's reviews were a litany of raves. In 1974, Harold C. Schonberg said in The New York Times that Mr. Gramm 'could not be faulted' as Sancho Panza in a Boston staging of Massenet's DON QUICHOTTE, and added that 'he never gives a bad performance'. In 1977, Donal Henahan of The Times called Mr. Gramm 'the premiere American male singer of art songs, an important artist at his peak'.
Following his New York City Opera debut as Colline in Puccini's LA BOHEME in 1952, Mr. Gramm sang with the City Opera nearly every season for more than 30 years. He made his debut at the Met on 10 Jan., 1964, as Truffaldino in Richard Strauss' ARIADNE AUF NAXOS....His principal bases for major roles became Sarah Caldwell's Opera Company of Boston and John Crosby's Santa Fe Opera, where he often sang unusual or contemporary repertory. Eventually, he assumed major parts at the Met as well, including the Doctor in Berg's WOZZECK, Papageno and Leporello in Mozart's DON GIOVANNI, Alfonso in COSI and Waldner in Richard Strauss' ARABELLA. In Europe, he sang at festivals in Spoleto, Aix-en-Provence and Glyndebourne.
Miss Caldwell remained his most stalwart champion. 'Donald's high level of musicianship and intelligence and his beautiful voice are attributes which make him the logical choice of a conductor', she told The Times in 1975. 'His remarkable ability for physical characterization and his deep interest in its development make him the logical choice of a stage director. This fusion of musical and dramatic abilities sets him apart as one of the most extraordinary singing actors of our time'."
- John Rockwell, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 3 June, 1983