Search - Hector Berlioz, Camille Saint-Saens, Charles Münch :: Berlioz: Overtures; Queen Mab Scherzo

Berlioz: Overtures; Queen Mab Scherzo
Hector Berlioz, Camille Saint-Saens, Charles Münch
Berlioz: Overtures; Queen Mab Scherzo
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (7) - Disc #1

Munch and Berlioz are like chocolate and peanut butter--they go great together. This disc is the finest collection of Berlioz overtures and short works available, and possibly the best ever recorded. Berlioz was music's ...  more »

     
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Amazon.com essential recording
Munch and Berlioz are like chocolate and peanut butter--they go great together. This disc is the finest collection of Berlioz overtures and short works available, and possibly the best ever recorded. Berlioz was music's ultimate neurotic: his music is quite simply hyper. It jumps, fidgets, and explodes with bursts of passion, all of it uniquely tuneful and magnificently scored. Charles Munch could lose himself in music like this; here he surrenders to the excitement of the moment and positively revels in the passages where all hell breaks loose. The Boston Symphony plays as if their lives depended on it, and the early-1960s sound hasn't dated a bit. --David Hurwitz

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CD Reviews

As good as it gets!
Hiram Gomez Pardo | Valencia, Venezuela | 07/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"These Berlioz overtures will never find a best performer than Munch: This Alsatian conductor had that sublime taste, eloquence, absolute domain of the thematic material, presence and hard to find conviction as any other conductor previous or later.
Besides, if you have an Orchestra of such level as the Boston Symphony in those ages, how can you loose?.
Magnificent performances and the best made rendition for Berlioz music.
"
A desert island disc, unsurpassed
Bruce H. Jensen | San Lorenzo, CA United States | 03/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Reviewer David Hurwitz has it on the nose - there have never been recorded performances of Berlioz's popular short pieces of music to match these. The overtures, which contain infectious melodies that beg replay, explode with life under Munch's baton, and the magnificient BSO plays them to the hilt. Roman Carnival erupts with sizzling joy, almost making the listener stand up and cheer while listening to it; in Beatrice and Benedict, one can sense the tangible presence of Shakespeare's comic lovers duking it out with reckless hilarious abandon. The Royal Hunt and Storm from Les Troyens is the most evocative version ever placed on disc, and the other two lollipops are no less splendid. The sound is bright, sparkling, fully present and clear to match the performances. Make no mistake, folks, it gets no better than this."
An essential disc of Berlioz overtures, white-hot in Munch's
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 03/07/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Any lover of Berlioz probably knows already that this RCA compilation contains the total output of overtures recorded by Munch and the BSO. There's nothing remotely out of the way, no Waverley or King Lear, no Francs Juges or Rob Roy. More's the pity, since Munch's white-hot readings are a shot in the arm after so many cautious, routine performances, including those by Dutoit on Decca and the latter-day Colin Davis on RCA. The only serious competition comes from a CD, now out of print, made by Davis as a younger conductor for Philips; that collection has now been absorbed into one of the box sets assembled by Philips, and it does include more unusual selections.

Berlioz was the greatest writer of concert overtures after Beethoven, on a par with Weber, and I'm baffled why we don't have a raft of competing versions. Be that as it may, fanciers of his output know that they can seek out single performances (such as Beecham's stereo Le corsaire or his mono Les francs juges) that equal or surpass Munch. There's also the sad fact that without remastering, the sound on this disc is a bit thin and scrappy. One also has to admit that Munch didn't exactly have the BSO playing in top form, so there's more than a little sloppiness in the strings and some careless wind solos. What counts most is here, however-- the conductor's total conviction. By comparison, contemporary conductors sound almost placid."