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Détails sur le produit

  • Chef d'orchestre: Charles Munch
  • CD (21 mars 2011)
  • Nombre de disques: 8
  • Label: Rca Red Seal
  • ASIN : B004H6P2LK
  • Autres versions : Téléchargement MP3
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5 3 commentaires client
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 86.482 en Musique (Voir les 100 premiers en Musique)
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Liste des titres

Disque : 1

  1. Symphony no. 3 in a minor, op. 56 ("scottish") andante con moto - allegro un poco agitato - assai animato - Boston Symphony Orchestra
  2. Symphony no. 3 in a minor, op. 56 ("scottish") vivace non troppo
  3. Symphony no. 3 in a minor, op. 56 ("scottish") adagio
  4. Symphony no. 3 in a minor, op. 56 ("scottish") allegro vivacissimo - allegro maestoso assai
  5. Violin concerto in e minor, op. 64 I. allegro molto appassionato - Boston Symphony Orchestra
  6. Violin concerto in e minor, op. 64 II. andante
  7. Violin concerto in e minor, op. 64 III. allegretto non troppo - allegro molto vivace
  8. Capriccio brillant, op. 22 - Boston Symphony Orchestra
  9. I. andante con moto - allegro un poco agitato
  10. II. vivace non troppo
  11. III. adagio
  12. IV. allegro vivacissimo - allegro maestoso assai

Disque : 2

  1. Symphony no. 4 in a major, op. 90, "italian" I. allegro vivace - Boston Symphony Orchestra
  2. Symphony no. 4 in a major, op. 90, "italian" II. andante con moto
  3. Symphony no. 4 in a major, op. 90, "italian" III. con moto moderato
  4. Symphony no. 4 in a major, op. 90, "italian" IV. saltarello: presto
  5. Symphony no. 5 in d minor, op. 107 "reformation" I. andante - allegro con fuoco - Boston Symphony Orchestra
  6. Symphony no. 5 in d minor, op. 107 "reformation" II. allegro vivace
  7. Symphony no. 5 in d minor, op. 107 "reformation" III. andante
  8. Symphony no. 5 in d minor, op. 107 "reformation" IV. chorale ("ein' feste burg ist unser gott"): andante con moto - allegro vivace
  9. Octet in e-flat, op. 20 - III. scherzo: allegro leggierissimo - Boston Symphony Orchestra
  10. IV. saltarello - presto
  11. IV. chorale ("ein' feste burg ist unser gott") - andante con moto - allegro vivace
  12. Octet in e-flat major, op. 20: III. scherzo - allegro leggierissimo

Disque : 3

  1. Symphony no. 1 in c minor, op. 68 un poco sostenuto - allegro - Boston Symphony Orchestra
  2. Symphony no. 1 in c minor, op. 68 andante sostenuto
  3. Symphony no. 1 in c minor, op. 68 un poco allegretto e grazioso
  4. Symphony no. 1 in c minor, op. 68 adagio - allegro non troppo ma con brio
  5. Tragic overture - Boston Symphony Orchestra

Disque : 4

  1. Symphony no.2 in d major, op. 73 allegro non troppo - Boston Symphony Orchestra
  2. Symphony no.2 in d major, op. 73 adagio non troppo
  3. Symphony no.2 in d major, op. 73 allegretto grazioso
  4. Symphony no.2 in d major, op. 73 allegro con spirito
  5. Symphony no. 4 in e minor, op. 98 allegro non troppo - Boston Symphony Orchestra
  6. Symphony no. 4 in e minor, op. 98 andante moderato
  7. Symphony no. 4 in e minor, op. 98 allegro giocoso
  8. Symphony no. 4 in e minor, op. 98 allegro energico e passionato
  9. I. allegro non troppo
  10. II. adagio non troppo
  11. III. allegretto grazioso
  12. IV. allegro con spirito

Disque : 5

  1. Symphony no. 2 in b-flat major, d. 125 I. largo - allegro vivace - Boston Symphony Orchestra
  2. Symphony no. 2 in b-flat major, d. 125 II. andante
  3. Symphony no. 2 in b-flat major, d. 125 III. menuetto. allegro vivace
  4. Symphony no. 2 in b-flat major, d. 125 IV. allegro vivace
  5. Piano concerto no. 1 in d minor, op. 15 I. maestoso - Boston Symphony Orchestra
  6. Piano concerto no. 1 in d minor, op. 15 II. adagio
  7. Piano concerto no. 1 in d minor, op. 15 III. allegro non troppo
  8. III. menuetto - allegro vivace

Disque : 6

  1. Symphony no. 8 in b minor, d. 759 ("unfinished") allegro moderato - Boston Symphony Orchestra
  2. Symphony no. 8 in b minor, d. 759 ("unfinished") andante con moto
  3. Symphony no. 9 in c major, d. 944 ("the great"), I. andante - allegro ma non troppo - Boston Symphony Orchestra
  4. Symphony no. 9 in c major, d. 944 ("the great"), II. andante con moto
  5. Symphony no. 9 in c major, d. 944 ("the great"), III. scherzo - allegro vivace
  6. Symphony no. 9 in c major, d. 944 ("the great"), IV. finale - allegro vivace
  7. I. allegro moderato
  8. II. andante con moto

Disque : 7

  1. Symphony no. 1 in b-flat, op.38 ("spring") andante un poco maestoso - allegro molto vivace - Boston Symphony Orchestra
  2. Symphony no. 1 in b-flat, op.38 ("spring") larghetto (attacca)
  3. Symphony no. 1 in b-flat, op.38 ("spring") scherzo. molto vivace
  4. Symphony no. 1 in b-flat, op.38 ("spring") allegro animato e grazioso
  5. Manfred overture, op. 115 - Boston Symphony Orchestra
  6. I. andante un poco maestoso. allegro molto vivace
  7. II. larghetto
  8. III. scherzo - molto vivace
  9. IV. allegro animato e grazioso

Disque : 8

  1. Genoveva overture, op. 81 - Boston Symphony Orchestra
  2. Concerto no. 2, op. 83 in b-flat major allegro non troppo - Boston Symphony Orchestra
  3. Concerto no. 2, op. 83 in b-flat major allegro appassionato
  4. Concerto no. 2, op. 83 in b-flat major andante
  5. Concerto no. 2, op. 83 in b-flat major allegretto grazioso
  6. I. allegro non troppo
  7. II. allegro appassionato
  8. I. andante
  9. IV. allegretto grazioso

Descriptions du produit

NEU in der Serie Sony Classical Masters // Boxen
Charles Münch dirigiert romantische Meisterwerke
CD1: Mendelssohn: Sinfonie Nr.3, Violinkonzert e-Moll
CD2: Mendelssohn: Sinfonie Nr.4 und 5
CD3: Brahms: Sinfonie Nr.1
CD4: Brahms: Sinfonien Nr.2 und 4
CD5: Schubert: Sinfonie Nr.2, Brahms: Klavierkonzert Nr.1
CD6: Schubert: Sinfonien Nr.8 und 9
CD7: Schumann: Sinfonie Nr.1, Manfred Ouvertüre
CD8: Schumann: Ouvertüre Nr.81, Klavierkonzert Nr.2 (A.
Rubinstein)
Die Edition mit Romantischen Meisterwerken, dirigiert von
Charles Münch, stellt eine Premiere dar. Noch nie waren
seine Aufnahmen von Mendelssohn-, Brahms-, Schubertund
Schumann-Werken, die zuvor zum Teil auf SACD
erschienen waren, in einer Kollektion versammelt.
Charles Münch, Sohn eines Kirchenmusikdirektors und
zunächst Geiger im Leipziger Gewandhausorchester, gab
1946 sein Debüt in den USA als Gastdirigent des Boston
Symphony Orchestra. 1949 wurde er zu dessen
Musikdirektor ernannt. Auf dem Podium verkörperte er die
seltene Mischung aus Liebenswürdigkeit und Intellekt, aus
Musikalität und Sachverstand.
ADD, remastered


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Format: CD
Brahms:

Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68
Tragic Overture, Op. 81
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73
Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98
Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15
--Gary Graffman (piano)
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 83
--Arthur Rubinstein (piano)

Mendelssohn:

Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 56 'Scottish'
Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64
Capriccio Brillant in B minor Op. 22
--Gary Graffman (piano)
Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90 'Italian'
Symphony No. 5 in D major, Op. 107 'Reformation'
Octet in E flat major, Op. 20

Schubert:

Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, D125
Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D759 'Unfinished'
Symphony No. 9 in C major, D944 'The Great'

Schumann:

Symphony No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 38 'Spring'
Manfred Overture, Op. 115
Genoveva Overture
Remarque sur ce commentaire 25 personnes ont trouvé cela utile. Avez-vous trouvé ce commentaire utile ? Oui Non Commentaire en cours d'envoi...
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Format: CD Achat vérifié
des interprétations parfois un peu sages (Schumann ,Tchaikovski) dans un son un peu rudimentaire (un comble pour Charles Münch et Boston ). Je n'ai pas tout écouté mais mon jugement rejoint la critique formulée par l'amateur précité.
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Ce n'est pas le meilleur Munch (comme dans Debussy et Ravel), mais sa fougue (même si elle est encore plus forte en concert), sa vitalité emportent tout.
L'orchestre est parfois un peu acide, tout n'est pas de 1er niveau, mais franchement pour l'histoire, pour le prix, ne vous privez pas.
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Amazon.com: HASH(0x99087f84) étoiles sur 5 11 commentaires
62 internautes sur 63 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9a5e89e4) étoiles sur 5 Wonderfully Passionate Music Making! 16 avril 2011
Par T. Beers - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD Achat vérifié
Charles Munch (d. 1968) was one of the most esteemed French conductors of the 20th century, particularly noted for his interpretations of Berlioz (whose music was a life-long cause), Debussy and other French masters. He was Music Director of the Boston Symphony from 1949 to 1962 and during his Boston tenure he championed music of all sorts, including American composers. Munch never got the respect he deserved as a conductor of German music, so this marvelous collection of mainstream German Romantic masterpieces is a most welcome reminder how persuasive he could be conducting the likes of Schumann, Schubert, Mendelssohn and (especially) Brahms. Although a Frenchman through and through, Munch was born in Alsace during its long period of German occupation which only ended with Germany's defeat in 1918. I think his Franco-German background explains a lot about Munch the conductor who, throughout his distinguished career, championed German music that most of his French contemporaries avoided like the plague. And Munch got his real start as a musician playing first violin for Wilhelm Furtwaengler during that great conductor's tenure as conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestra .... not a bad way to learn the German repertory!

Notwithstanding this pedigree, Munch's performance style seems to me to owe more to the example of Furtwaengler's great rival Toscanini: tempi are quick (sometimes almost breathless), articulation is brilliant, accents are strong, and rhythms are sharply projected. Certainly this is distinguished music-making and very, very exciting. (For example, if you think the Brahms First Piano Concerto is a massive, somewhat stodgy essay in musical gloom, wait till you hear Munch and the young Gary Graffman tear through it. Their incredibly thrilling performance will instantly remind you that Brahms was a very young man when he wrote that concerto!)

Sony/RCA by-and-large have produced sonically handsome CD transfers of recordings that date back, in most cases, to the late 1950s. All are stereo except for one fine-sounding mono CD that contains cherishable performances of Schumann's Genoveva Overture and Brahms's Second Piano Concerto (with the great Arthur Rubinstein, no less). In fact, the only disappointing recording in the set is a harsh-sounding 1960ish stereo recording of Schubert's Second Symphony. I recall that Lp versions of that performance also sounded rough, so I suppose the problem lies with RCA's master tape. All the other recordings in this fabulous set are quite enjoyable technically; remarkable, considering that the originals date back 50 years and more. These few technical quibbles shouldn't keep anyone who is serious about music from purchasing this set. The only real problem I have is bitter disappointment that no one .... and I mean NO ONE .... today conducts with the kind of burning conviction that Munch brings to bear in these amazing, life-enhancing performances. Too bad that Sony/RCA offer no program notes, but that's a small disappointment as the price for this set is very reasonable, ridiculously cheap really. If this kind of music stirs your soul, run, don't walk, to buy this set!

Contents:
CD 1/Mendelssohn Scottish Symphony; Violin Concerto (Jascha Heifetz); Capriccio Brilliante (Gary Graffman)
CD 2/Mendelssohn Italian & Reformation Symphonies; Scherzo from Octet for Strings
CD 3/Brahms Symphony No. 1/Tragic Overture
CD 4/Brahms Symphony No. 2 and Symphony No. 4
CD 5/Schubert Symphony No, 2/Brahms First Piano Concerto (Gary Graffman)
CD 6/Schubert Symphony No. 8 ('Unfinished') and Symphony No. 9 ('Great' C Major Symphony)
CD 7/Schumann Spring Symphony and 'Manfred' Overture
CD 8/Schumann 'Genoveva' Overture/Brahms Second Piano Concerto (Arthur Rubinstein)
21 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9a5e8c30) étoiles sur 5 great collection but... 1 juillet 2011
Par Wade Lewis - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD Achat vérifié
I have no overall complaints about the collection, though I wish more of the recording particulars (producer/engineer) had been specified. One specific complaint is that a couple of the discs are very short. There definitely was room to also include the Graffman-Munch Chopin first piano concerto which would I believe have completed the set of Graffman-Munch collaborations and is certainly a romantic masterwork as much as the Mendelssohn Capriccio, plus that recording has not been released in the US on CD. The other is that the Mendelssohn 4 & 5 disc and the Schubert 8 & 9 duplicate other BMG discs and are still in print as hybrid SACDs so there could have been better use of that disc space to hold other Munch/Boston recordings.
17 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9a5e8bf4) étoiles sur 5 The Great Charles Munch on RCA 1 septembre 2011
Par L. Stein - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD Achat vérifié
Charles Munch has always been one of very favorite conductors, and his control of the great Boston Symphony is phenomenal. His recordings that came out as RCA SACD recordings are the finest, I have them all. Believe it or not I purchased this set because of two of the CD's. The Schumann Symphony #1 & Manfred Overture and the Mendelson Scotch symphony. Both of these came out as Bargain CD's in the 1980's and the sound was not up to the quality of the RCA records and were somewhat of a dissappointment. Since these are supposedly remastered here I had hoped they would be much better. The improvement is not as much as I had hoped, however. Still no one plays these symphonies like Munch. The Schumann Spring is so bursting with energy that you can almost see the trees blooming, the flowers growing and grass coming to life before your eyes. The Brahms here is excellent, but some reservation needs to be made about the sound quality. I have not had the time to listen to the entirety of this 8CD set. The Schubert symphonies here did come out on Living Stereo and SACD so I suspect these are the same remastered recordings. But I will state absolutely that no-one interested in these particular pieces of music should miss this set at less than $3 a disk including shipping at Amazon.com. The interpretations of Munch are breathtaking and they should not be missed! Many of Munch's recording are indeed to be included in the greatest interpretations of the century. Thank You Charles!
9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9a5e8ee8) étoiles sur 5 Indispensible Collection form an Underappreciated Conductor 31 janvier 2012
Par Johann Sebastian Bach - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD Achat vérifié
The new CD collection "Charles Munch Conducts Romantic Masterworks" is a must have for the power of the interpretations and the
peerless, magnificent playing of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO). Most classical music lovers know of Munch as one of the great-
est exponents of the French orchestral repertoire and justifiably so. But many either forget or do not know that he was born in
Alsace (Strasbourg, to be exact) in the late 20th century when that region was part of Germany and did not become part of France until after WWII and began his career as a violinist, even becoming concertmaster of the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig for several
years, where he met Furtwangler among others. Munch's sympathies political and otherwise would remain French to the core for his entire life; however, his upbringing did immerse him in the German orchestral repertoire from Bach up to the 20th century - and the selections in the present box set attest to his persuasiveness in this field. The performances are for the most part utterly con-
vincing and committed and stand up to comparisons with better known recordings by the "superstar" conductors such as Karajan, Szell,
Klemperer,etc. So even if you have other recordings of these works, you will not regret having this set in your CD library. As this is a reissue, some of this music has been originally issued with othr couplings, but duplication is kept to a bare minimum as far as I can tell. I will now review each CD seperately giving concise critiques of each work.

CD 1: The Mendelssohn Symphony No.3 is probably the weakest intepretation in the set due to the excessive tempo fluctuations in the two outer movements which are eccentric to say the least - the two middle movements are fine, however. The Mendelssohn Violin Con-
certo is a true classic of interpretation largely due to Heifetz' unbelievably accurate and at the same time searching performance-
that the first movement is a bit rushed can be forgiven in light of the sucess of the whole - the last movement must be heard to be believed. The BSO and Munch accompany Heifetz with great force and featherweight elfin delicay when needed. The Capriccio Brilliant for Piano and Orchestra is not frequently recorded, so it is good to have this wonderful account with Gary Graffman a most con- vincing soloist. Note- the Mendelssohn concerto was originally isued with the Heifetz/Reiner account of the Beethoven Violin Concerto.

CD 2: More Medelssohn here. The Fourth and Fifth Symphonies are virtually perfect througout, and should please all listeners even with the stiff competition. If Szell/Cleveland is lighter and leaner in the Fourth, then the BSO's more robust approach works as well, giving this marvelous work an equally joyful, extroverted and technically accurate account while giving the somber second
movement its due as well. The Fifth Symphony is one of,if not the best performance of this work I have heard. Most conductors take
this symphony either too slow or too fast, especially in the outer movements. Not Munch - he maintains a perfect balance between
the extroverted and the sublime; just listen to the last movement and you will see what I mean. Lastly, this CD is rounded off by an
absolutely delightful account of the Scherzo from the Octet in E-Flat Major, a Munch specialty with the BSO. A splendid encore
indeed.

CD 3: The Brahms First Symphony which begins this disc is 3/4 convincing.The last movement however is compromised by the opening, where the "chorale" whcih begins it is taken much too slowly thus making the subsequent accelerando sound sudden and unnatural.
Brahms was a Classically influenced composer, therefore the less the initial tempi are tampered with the better. The performance of the Tragic Oveture though is a breath of fresh air - Munch starts out like a racehorse at full gait and does not let up, the urgency
of this work superbly maintained. You are rightly out of breath at the conclusion. A magnificent account, one of the best.

CD 4: More Brahms, this time the Second and Fourth Symphonies. Here there is none of the eccentricity of tempi that marred the per-
formance of the Brahms First. In both symphonies on the present disc, Munch lets the music speak for itself as well it should. As a
result we have one of the sunniest and most lyrical accounts of the Second ever made, with a final movement that will blow you away
with its whirlwind-like impetus, The Fourth is just as convincing, with tempi that are taut and controlled, yet with just enough
flexibility to let the music breathe - none of the emotional excess that oftem mars this symphony. The final movement Passacaglia
(set of Variations) is most convincing, leading to a shattering conclusion that will leave you speechless. Both these interpreta- tations merit comparison with Karajan,Klemperer Szell and Carlos Kleiber - they really are that good!

CD 5: Schubert's Symphony No. 2 is one of his more lyrical and easygoing symphonies and is here given a suitably relaxed and genial
account which nevertheless keeps a jaunty spring in its step throughout the proceedings. The Bramhs Piano Concerto No.1 is the perfect foil to the Schubert. Interpretively, this is probably the finest account of this work currently available, and given the
competition this is saying something. Right from the very beginning of the openoing movement all involved give a truly explosive performance, releasing all their energy with volcanic fury and not letting up. The long middle movement is given a suitably tender
account, distracting us from what is to come, namely the last movement. And when it does, it is truly a wake-up call of the first
order, with playing from both orchestra and soloist that keep the tension going right to the exultant, fiery conclusion. Kudos to Munch, the BSO and soloist Gary Graffman for this titanic performance - even better than the Szell/Cleveland account with Rudolf
Serkin due to the more full-bodied and refined playing of the BSO. Graffman's magisterial playing is easily an equal to Serkin.

CD 6: More Schubert, here in the form of the compoesr's two most popular symphonies, the immortal Eighth(Unfinished) and the Ninth,
known for its "heavenly length" at almost one hour. Both of these works are given fully persuasive performances by Munch and the
BSO. The tempi in the Eighth are absolutely perfect and let the music flow naturally to each movements' respective conclusions - the BSO's otherworldly playing seals the deal here. No comparisons are necessary or needed. The performance of the Ninth is equal-
ly persuasive - all the movements are done as convincingly as can be humanly done. You just need to listen to be convinced. Yes, we
have the legendary recordings of this work by Furtwangler, Szell and Bohm, but Munch desrved to stand right next to them and he does!

CD 7 : On to Robert Schumann now and two his most popular works, the Symphony No.1 (Spring) and the Manfred Overture. The symphony
is here given by Munch and the BSO the most extroverted and sunniest version on recordings, the first movement goes right out of the gate and simply bubbles with irrepressible joie de vivre. The slow movement is suitably relaxed, the third movemment scherzo
stern but animated, and the last movement as happily unbuttoned an account as you will ever find. The Manfred Overture is given yet
another peerless reading - a suitably urgent, whirlwind account that recalls Bernstein's 1943 debut with the New York Philharmonic. Munch's account is equally persuasive with even better playing from the BSO and is a perfect foil to the "Spring" Symphony. Ano-
ther glorious disc!

CD 8 : The last disc in the set is yet another winner. A bracing, urgent performance of Schumann's Genoveva Overture precedes what must be the definitive performance of the Brahms Second Piano Concerto. With Arthur Rubinstein a peerless, fiery soloist and the usual peerless playing of the BSO (listen to the rapid passagework in the first movement); what more can I say. A fitting conclu- sion to a set that should be grabbed up by any true aficionado of orchestral and solo playing and a perfect document to the artis- try of Charles Munch, a conductor who reputation should be enhanced with the release of this set and the companion set Late Roman- tic Masterworks (to be reviewed soon).

My only complaint with this set is the bare-bones pakaging typical of so many budget releases these days. There are no liner notes of any kind, not even a bio, however brief, of Mr. Munch who was such a driving force with the BSO. Still, most of you may be familiar enough with the music within that this will hopefully not be a deterrent to buying this set. Do not hesitate - buy this before it goes out of print (which hnopefully it won't if Sony is smart)! You will not regret the purchase, especially at the low budget price.

P.S. Oxford University press has just released a brilliant biography of Charles Munch called, you guessed it Charles Munch written and edited by D. Kern Holoman. This is a perfect and timely complement to these recordings. Buy it! It is available on Amazon.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9a5e8f48) étoiles sur 5 An embarassment of riches 29 novembre 2011
Par Prescott Cunningham Moore - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD Achat vérifié
What an embarrassment of riches. Munch's discography for RCA is filled with miracles - from his dazzling Symphonie Fantastique to his miraculous La Mer. But gun to my head, I would have to say Munch's best recording is his Schubert 9th from Boston. It is a true gem and desert island disc from start to finish. The allegro bubbles with beauty, the scherzo must be heard to be believed, and the finale is all unbridled enthusiasm, all the stops out. There have been many fantastic performances of the "Great" symphony, from Szell, Wand, Harnoncourt, Karajan, but Munch and his Boston players have them all beat. It is worth the price of this set alone. Of course, if Munch's "Unfinished" and Second Symphony do not quite reach the same level of ecclesiastical splendor of the "Great," they are still fabulous performances in their own right. Schubert's wind writing shines through while Munch and company find delight throughout both works.

To follow the Schubert with Munch's "almost" cycle of the Brahms symphonies shows Munch's ability to effortlessly shape large-scale sonata movements. No where is this more evident than in his wonderfully coherent Second. Munch customarily omits the first movements repeats, but it hardly matters with playing of this caliber, especially in the coda of the Second's first movement, where Munch masterfully hands the accelerando. The same symphony's finale is spectacular while the Fourth's passagalia is a truly gruesome affair. Munch occasional vulgarity makes a welcome appearance in the Fourth's scherzo and the First's outer movements, and they are none the worse for wear. Munch proves himself a fine accompanist in the two concertos, even if the soloists themselves are not at their best; his D minor is particularly dark although the Szell/Fleisher pair still takes the cake in this department.

The merits of Munch's "Italian" and "Reformation" symphonies are well known to collectors, having been rereleased in SACD, but his difficult-to-find "Scottish" makes a welcome return to the catalogue, filled with Munch's trademark brilliance. One also gets an opportunity to marvel at the level of execution from the Boston players, such as in the "Scottish's" second movement or Munch's wildly over-the-top saltarello finale to the "Italian." You will not find playing of this level from most modern orchestras. Of course, nothing needs to be said about the Munch/Heifetz concerto - it has been a reference account for half a century now, forever young.

Munch's Schumann is the only real letdown of the set, although it is a fine performance none-the-less. Schumann's clogged orchestral writing is at odds with the dark timbre of the Boston players while Munch's middle of the road interpretation cannot compete with the classical sets from Szell, Dohnanyi, and Sawallish or the more romantic Schumann from Barenboim and Bernstein.

But one can, and should, easily overlook this performance when weighing the merits of this set. It is certainly the most important and most consistently excellent of RCA/Sony's box sets. Those familiar with Munch will find many old friends here while newcomers to this conductor will be shocked by the brilliance of these recordings. To bill Munch, as RCA often did, as a French specialist belies his considerable talent in the standard German repertoire. It is excellent to see he is getting the billing he deserves. Emphatically recommended.
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