Ravel: Ma Mere L'Oye Suite; Debussy: La Mer / Munch/Boston SO [DVD]

Album Summary

>Ravel, Maurice : Ma mère l'oye
>Debussy, Claude : Ibéria, for orchestra, L. 122/2
>Debussy, Claude : La mer
Conductor Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Access to the publicly broadcast BSO concerts from this era has been extremely difficult even for researchers. This series of DVDs will make these performances available for the first time since they were broadcast. This material represents some of the earliest televised concerts with the Boston Symphony, and has been restored using state-of-the-art techniques. A number of the recordings he made with the BSO have sold steadily for more than 50 years and remain a permanent standard of reference. Munch is best known for his performances of French music, Debussy and Ravel in particular, and introduced the United States to a great deal of French repertoire, which was the cornerstone of his tenure with the BSO.

American Record Guide
The performances are typical Munch-Boston - dramatic, with fast fasts and slow slows... There is nothing spoken and no screen information except for work titles. The notes by former Boston Globe music critic, Richard Dyer, provide some interesting history of the Munch-BSO partnership.

Fanfare
Charles Munch, originally a violinist, did not begin his conducting career until he was 41 - then, as now, an extraordinarily late start to a career that would bring him international fame. He often cited Toscanini as his principal inspiration to conduct, but there were several differences in their approach to and style of conducting. Both preferred quick tempos, both knew how to build excitement from the softest pianissimo to the most thunderous forte, but whereas Toscanini was fastidious to a fault regarding orchestral clarity and exactitude of note values, Munch believed in under-rehearsing so as not to lose a feeling of spontaneity at a concert. He also preserved a very French sound in his orchestra: blended, somewhat fuzzy string tone and what one critic who lived through his era at Boston described to me as "blowsy" winds. Both conductors could create a surging feeling at fast tempos that was exhilarating, but with Toscanini the clarity was never lost; with Munch, the blowsy French sound rose up like a mushroom cloud. He conducted but one concert, at Toscanini's invitation, with the NBC Symphony, a performance of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, whipped up to the point of frenzy like his early (mono) recording with the BSO. Toscanini was not pleased. "Is easy to make exciting at double tempo," he said later - strange words from a conductor who, though he did not conduct at double tempo, often pushed the tempo up several metronome marks.

Notes & Reviews:

Run Time: 68 min.
Region: All
Picture Format: NTSC, 4:3
Sound Format(s): LPCM Mono,



Reviews

Live Munch and the Boston SO
In a word: thrilling. Neither the mono sound (well balanced and detailed as it is) nor the vintage black and white video imagery can detract from the significance of this release. The rare opportunity to experience visually as well as sonically the great Boston Symphony Orchestra under Charles Munch, one of its finest music directors, trumps any shortcomings. The 1958-1961 footage features Ravel’s Ma Mere L’Oye Suite as well as Debussy’s Iberia and La Mer. Munch’s profound empathy for this repertoire is everywhere matched by the superb playing of this great orchestra. Witness the masterful maneuvering of the complex and challenging transition to the last movement of Iberia (Le Matin d’un jour de fete). The subtle dynamic shading and rhythmic plasticity produced by the strings in movement II (Petit Poucet) of Ma Mere L’Oye is extraordinary. The exaltation at the conclusion of La Mer is palpable. The list goes on and on. Refinement and excitement in perfect equilibrium. 68 minutes of pure joy. Annotations are excellent.
Submitted on 03/07/11 by conway 
Login or Create an Account to write a review
 

Also Purchased



Previous


Next


Works Details

>Ravel, Maurice : Ma mère l'oye :: Suite
  • Conductor: Charles Munch
  • Ensemble: Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1908-1910

>Debussy, Claude : Ibéria, for orchestra, L. 122/2
  • Conductor: Charles Munch
  • Ensemble: Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1905-1908

>Debussy, Claude : La mer
  • Conductor: Charles Munch
  • Ensemble: Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1903-1905