The Music Treasury 27 October 27 2019 — Charles Munch
This week’s installment of The Music Treasury will feature the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Charles Munch.
The show will feature a collection of historic recordings over the years, hosted by Dr Gary Lemco. The show airs from 19:00 to 21:00 PDT from Stanford’s KZSU, as well as concurrent streaming from kzsu.stanford.edu. The following notes adapted from Wikipedia.
Charles Munch and the BSO perform rare items
Charles Munch (1891-1968) made his début with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on 27 December 1946. He was its Music Director from 1949 to 1962. Munch was also Director of the Berkshire Music Festival and Berkshire Music Center (Tanglewood) from 1951 through 1962. He led relaxed rehearsals which orchestra members appreciated after the authoritarian Serge Koussevitzky. Munch also received honorary degrees from Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis University, Harvard University, and the New England Conservatory of Music.
He excelled in the modern French repertoire, especially Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, and was considered to be an authoritative performer of Hector Berlioz. However, Munch’s programs also regularly featured works by composers such as Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, and Wagner. His thirteen-year tenure in Boston included 39 world premieres and 58 American first performances and offered audiences 168 contemporary works. Fourteen of these premieres were works commissioned by the Boston Symphony and the Koussevitzky Music Foundation to celebrate the Orchestra’s 75th Anniversary in 1956. (A 15th commission was never completed.)
Munch invited former Boston Symphony music director Pierre Monteux to guest conduct, record, and tour with the orchestra after an absence of more than 25 years. Under Munch, guest conductors became an integral part of the Boston Symphony’s programming, both in Boston and at Tanglewood.
Munch led the Boston Symphony on its first transcontinental tour of the United States in 1953. He became the first conductor to take them on tour overseas: Europe in 1952 and 1956, and East Asia and Australia in 1960. During the 1956 tour, the Boston Symphony was the first American orchestra to perform in the Soviet Union.
Selections from Boston Symphony rehearsals under Leonard Bernstein, Koussevitzky, and Munch were broadcast nationally on the NBC Radio Network from 1948-1951. NBC carried portions of the Orchestra’s performances from 1954-1957. Beginning in 1951, the BSO was broadcast over local radio stations in the Boston area. Starting in 1957, Boston Symphony performances under Munch and guest conductors were disseminated regionally, nationally, and internationally through the Boston Symphony Transcription Trust. Under Munch, the Boston Symphony appeared on television. The first BSO television broadcast was under Bernstein in 1949 at Carnegie Hall.
Wagner: Eine Faust Overture
Brahms: Variations on a Theme of Haydn, Op. 56
Auber: La Muette de Portici – Overture
Roussel: Piano Concerto (w/A. Borovsky)
Ibert: Concerto for Flute and Orchestra (w/D. Anthony)
Nielsen: Symphony No. 5, Op. 50