C1824. CHARLES MUNCH Cond. Boston S.O.: Octet in E-flat (Mendelssohn); w.FRANCIS POULENC & EVELYNE CROCHET: Concerto in d for Two Pianos; w.ADELE ADDISON: Gloria [World Premiere] (both Poulenc). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-978, Live performance, 21 Jan., 1961, brilliantly displaying the splendor of the Symphony Hall acoustic! Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“Francis Poulenc was the leading composer of Les Six, the French group devoted to turning music away from Impressionism, formality, and intellectualism. He wrote in a direct and tuneful manner, often juxtaposing the witty and ironic with the sentimental or melancholy. He heavily favored diatonic and modal textures over chromatic writing. His music also shows many elements of pandiatonicism, introduced around 1920 by Stravinsky, whose influence can be heard in some of Poulenc's compositions, such as the religious choral work, GLORIA. Poulenc is regarded as one of the most important twentieth century composers of religious music, and in the realm of the French art song he is also a major voice of his time. Poulenc was also a pianist of considerable ability. In the period 1953-1956, Poulenc produced his most ambitious work, the opera Dialogue of The Carmelites, considered by many the greatest French opera of the twentieth century. Poulenc finished his last opera in 1958, LA VOIX HUMAINE, a work whose lone character talks (sings) on the phone to her deserting lover for the work's 45-minute length. Notable also in this period is his GLORIA (1959), a work shorn of sanctimony and rich in communicative simplicity and fervent religiosity.”
- Robert Cummings, Allmusic.com
"Francis Poulenc’s music is eminently tuneful – his major strength. I regard him as a melodist fit to keep company with Franz Schubert and Wolfgang Mozart. As a French songwriter, he is the great successor to Fauré. Like most French composers of his generation, he fell under the influences of Stravinsky and Satie. Yet he doesn't imitate either. You can identify a Poulenc composition immediately with its bright colors, strong, clear rhythms, and gorgeous and novel diatonic harmonies. He is warmer and less intellectual than Stravinsky, more passionate and musically more refined than Satie….Poulenc's own brand of classicism, recalling eighteenth-century France rather than Mozart's realm….Some composers, like Beethoven, aim at a Titanic profundity. They rage and storm and consider the universe. Others, like Delius and Ravel, dream of worlds more beautiful than this one. Poulenc, like Haydn and Schubert, is one of the few great composers not only content with, but modestly amazed at being human. The music doesn't strive for the extraordinary, not even the religious music. What's in us is extraordinary enough. There's a sincere simplicity of effect….this, in spite of the fact that his music doesn't really develop in the Brahmsian sense of the word. Generally, Poulenc just strings together one great tune after another. Poulenc never really cottoned to the symphony and wrote few orchestral works not tied to the theater….. His final period contains at least four masterworks: STABAT MATER (to me the best thing he ever wrote), DIALOGUES OF THE CARMELITES, the sonata for two pianos (decidedly influenced by Stravinsky), and a beautiful GLORIA."
- Steve Schwartz, ClassicalNet
"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
"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