Charles Munch, Vol. XL - Boston Symphony Hall; Leonid Kogan   (2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-1271)
Item# C1995
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Charles Munch, Vol. XL - Boston Symphony Hall; Leonid Kogan   (2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-1271)
C1995. CHARLES MUNCH Cond. Boston S.O.: Pelléas et Mélisande (Fauré); Symphony #2 (Florent Schmitt) ["Complex cross-rhythms, unusual instrumental combinations, and a battery of percussion keep things moving. Contemporaries writing at the premiere of the work talk about its exuberance and youthful energy." - Ralph Graves]; w. LEONID KOGAN: Violin Concerto in D (Beethoven). (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-1271, Live Performance, 19 Nov.. 1960, Symphony Hall. [Live performance brilliantly displaying the splendor of the Symphony Hall acoustic; another most treasurable Munch broadcast!] Transfers by Yves St Laurent.

CRITIC REVIEWS:

"One of the twentieth century's greatest violinists, Leonid Kogan was less widely known than his somewhat older contemporary David Oistrakh, but no less a first-tier artist. More concentrated in tonal focus and with a quicker vibrato than Oistrakh and others of the Russian school, Kogan was avowedly a man of his time. His espousal of the four-octave scale for exercises assured the infallibility of his technique by strengthening his fingering hand in the upper positions. Although he died at age 58, he had amassed a discography that remains as a commanding legacy. Although his were not especially musical parents, Kogan conceived a fascination for the violin by age three. At six, he began lessons with Philip Yampolsky, a pupil of Leopold Auer. When Kogan's family moved to Moscow when he was ten, he began studies with Abram Yampolsky (no relation to Philip, but another Auer disciple). Kogan progressed through the Central School of Music, then the Moscow Conservatory, where he trained from 1943 to 1948. Postgraduate studies at the conservatory occupied him from 1948 until 1951. At age 12, Kogan was heard by violinist Jacques Thibaud, who predicted a great career for him. Although his parents resisted exploiting their son as a prodigy, Kogan made his debut at 17 and performed in many Soviet venues while still a student. Wider recognition came when Kogan shared first prize at the 1947 Prague World Youth Festival. In 1951, he won first prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. Oistrakh, who was a member of the jury (along with Thibaud), thereafter came to regard Kogan as a colleague, while Kogan closely observed his elder associate during the latter's evening classes for other students. After teaching at the Moscow Conservatory and playing a busy schedule of concerts in the Soviet Union over the next few years, Kogan made his first appearances in Paris and London in 1955, following those with a tour of South America in 1956 and another of the United States in 1958. Less gregarious than Oistrakh, Kogan was not as aggressively promoted abroad by the Soviet government. After being named People's Artist in 1964, Kogan received the Lenin Prize in 1965.

On 10 January, 1958 Kogan made an auspicious American debut playing the Brahms Violin Concerto with Pierre Monteux and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Kogan had a repertoire of over 18 concerti and a number of concerti by modern composers were dedicated to him.

Leonid Kogan is considered to have been one of the greatest representatives of the Soviet School of violin playing, an emotionally romantic elan and melodious filigree of technical detail. A brilliant and compelling violinist, he shunned publicity.

Leonid Kogan married Elizabeth Gilels (sister of pianist Emil Gilels), also a concert violinist. His son, Pavel Kogan became a famous violinist and conductor; his daughter, Nina Kogan, is a concert pianist and became the accompanist and sonata partner of her father at an early age. Kogan died of a heart attack in the city of Mytishchi, while travelling by train between Moscow and Yaroslavl to a concert he was to perform with his son. Two days before, he had played the Beethoven Violin Concerto in Vienna.

Kogan used two Guarneri del Gesu violins: the 1726 ex-Colin and the 1733 ex-Burmester. He used French bows by Dominique Peccatte."

- Erik Eriksson, allmusic.com





“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