Magnificent Munch at a Budget Price
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 01/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While I am a big fan of other label's classical budget lines (Sony Essential Classics, EMI Seraphim and Encore, etc.), I have generally steered clear of RCA's recent Red Seal bargain discs because the performances they have chosen to issue have been less than appealing. That all changed with the release of this title, which couples the Dvorak 8th Symphony & Cello Concerto as performed by the great Charles Munch and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Sure the 1960 recording of the Concerto, with Gregor Piatigorsky, is still available in the "Living Stereo" series, but this breathtaking 8th from 1961 has been out-of-print for years and recently has been fetching some unheard of prices in the Amazon Marketplace. Thankfully, equilibrium has been restored with this reissue, even if you have to buy it just for the 8th."
Piatigorsky is stately in the concerto, Munch is mediocre in
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 06/19/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This RCA reissue doesn't do justice to Gregor Piatigorsky, a giant among cellists, who sounds a bit old and tired here late in his career. Munch gives him slow tempos in the first and last movments, perhaps out of consideration--or maybe the cellist sees the Dvorak concerto as a stately work. He certainly plays it that way, with a soulful, rich tone and plenty of rubato.
The pairing is a mediocre Dvorak Eighth under Munch, who simply conducts one bar after the other. He seems to evince little interest in Dvorak's Czech style, and there's almost no attempt at expression. The BSO sensed when Munch was on autopilot, and here they play carelessly, not always in tune and with nothing like their famous refinement. This recording was better left in the vault."