This celebrated collection was originally issued by RCA as one of their Living
Stereo LPs. The performances date from the late 1950s.
Charles Munch was a widely cultured conductor and was famed particularly
for his interpretations of the music of France and Germany, inspired by his
Alsatian heritage. Born in 1891 in Strasbourg, Munch commenced his career
as a violinist, serving for several years as concertmaster of the Leipzig
Gewandhaus Orchestra under Wilhelm Furtwängler. He rose to become director
of the orchestra of the Paris Conservatoire. After appearing as guest conductor
in Europe, the Near East, South America and the United States, he became
music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra on the retirement of
Koussevitzky. In 1967 he became music director of the Orchestre de Paris
created especially for him. He died while he was touring with that orchestra
on November 6th 1968.
The Boston Symphony Orchestra was famed for its virtuoso players and fine
ensemble playing. The performances, of these well-known orchestral showpieces
crackle with vitality. They are striking evidence of the orchestra's well-drilled
The Sorcerer's Apprentice has seldom sounded so thrilling; every detail is
as sharply defined as a knats-kneecap; the visualisation of water slopping
everywhere and buckets and brooms going berserk is so vivid. The wit and
characterisation of this favourite fantasy is splendidly realised too, listen
to how cowed and contrite the apprentice sounds in the final bars, for instance.
The sound of the Boston strings in excellent ensemble through the tortuous
spinning rhythms of Omphale's's Spinning Wheel is a joy and Ravel's magic
is splendidly conveyed in this Mother Goose interpretation. Munch luxuriates
in all the oriental splendour of Laideronette yet his Fairy Garden and the
beginning of Beauty and the Beast is delicate, dreamy, fragrant. César
Franck's Accursed Huntsman is hair-raisingly exciting with horn calls that
reach right out of the speakers at you.
The RCA sound which was great in its day is enhanced further in this new