C1660. CHARLES MUNCH Cond. RDF S.O.: Symphony #5 in G - World Premiere) (Guy Ropartz); Symphonie Liturgique, French Premiere (Honegger); The Gambler - Suite (Prokofiev). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-616, Live Performance, 14 Nov., 1946, Theatre des Champs-Elysees, UNESCO concert. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“The Fifth Symphony by Ropartz was written amid the Nazi Occupation during the composer’s retirement to his native Breton village of Lanloup. Its first and second movements comprise a lively Allegro assai which launches with a real crash and an exuberant Presto romp. We then get a Ropartz hallmark Largo - a piece of really touching writing which, while holding onto its dignity, has a melancholy elegiac loveliness. This, the longest movement is carried by the strings but there are some notable noble statements from solo horn and woodwind. A brief Allegro moderato has the clean euphoric classical lines of Moeran’s Sinfonietta but with a Franckian-Breton accent.
The Fifth Symphony was given its first performance at a UNESCO concert on 14 November 1946 alongside Honegger’s Third Symphony. The conductor was Charles Munch who has also presided over a festival of Ropartz works in Occupied France in 1943."
- Rob Barnett, Musicweb-International.com
"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