C1439. CHARLES MUNCH Cond. Boston S.O.: Leonore - Overture #2 (Beethoven); Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (Debussy), Live Performance, 21 Jan., 1956; MATTHEUS PASSION - O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden (Bach) [preceded by Munch's spoken introduction]; Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta (Bartok), Live Performance, 14 March, 1958 (both Symphony Hall, Boston). [Live performances beautifully displaying the splendor of the Symphony Hall acoustic] (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-342. 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