C1799. CHARLES MUNCH Cond. Boston S.O.: Symphony #2 in D for Strings & Trumpet (Honegger); Bostoniana (Ibert); Les Troyens - Chasse royale et orage (Berlioz); w.Berj Zamkochian (Organ): Symphony #3 in c (Saint-Saëns). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-941, Live performance, 26 Jan., 1963, brilliantly displaying the splendor of the Symphony Hall acoustic! [This splendid concert thrillingly presents the glorious BSO at its peak! The sound is amazing!] Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“Berj Zamkochian studied at the New England Conservatory of Music and eventually joined the faculty. In 1957, at the age of 27, he was appointed organist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops Orchestra. His recordings of Saint-Saëns' Organ Symphony and Poulenc's Organ Concerto with Charles Munch and the Boston Symphony Orchestra are regarded as classics. He performed for six American presidents, the Pope, the British Royal Family and the Imperial Family of Japan. Zamkochian also founded the Gomidas Organ fund, which donates organs to Armenia and Armenian churches in various parts of the world. He also performed at the funeral service for John F. Kennedy.”
“Charles Munch had an ideal tenure with the Boston Symphony in the 1950s, in stark contrast to the orchestra’s previous French conductor, Pierre Monteux, who arrived in 1919 and faced a musicians’ strike, including an onstage walkout by some players during a concert. Management wouldn’t tolerate such rebelliousness, and musicians had yet to be unionized (the BSO was the last major U.S. orchestra to take that step). By replacing 30 musicians, Monteux was responsible for creating the ‘French’ sound that became the orchestra’s trademark for decades."
- Huntley Dent, FANFARE
"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