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Munch is known for his incredible orchestral colors and dynamic nuances and i find this performance very flat - not Munch-like at all. Recording quality also seems a bit off with mild compression at various times. I tried both DSD and FLAC and both seem similarly limited. It is not a bad recording, just one I have a hard time embracing with passion.
The 50/60's Philadelphians, like every other band he conducted, loved Munch and played beyond even themselves for him. And this music ran in his blood. Clearly, everyone was having a ball, and the solo wind playing, which is particularly prominent in the ravel and Faure, is wondrous. Unfortunately, the engineers seem to have set up as many mikes as they possibly could, as close as they could get to the players, and left us with a glassy, one dimensional x-ray of some amazing music making. For comparison, listen to the gloriously natural, minimally miked RCA's from the BSO, and in comparison to Decca/London's contemporaneous sessions with Monteux/LSO, this is infuriating. The 15ips source tape and HDTT's flawless transfer make all of this way too apparent. However, If you love this music and can "listen through" the recording (perhaps with a substantial treble cut), there are delights galore in the music-making.
The Faure is Munch at his very best - phrases that breathe and seem to never end, deeply felt and full of atmosphere. The Philadelphia Orchestra is wonderful.
Title: Ravel - Valses Nobles Et Sentimentales
Fauré - Pelléas Et Mélisande Suite
Berlioz - Damnation Of Faust (Excerpts)
Artist(s): Conductor - Charles Munch
Orchestra - The Philadelphia Orchestra
Recording Info: Released by Columbia Records 1963
Producer - Thomas Frost
1 - Valses Nobles Et Sentimentales 18:22
Pelléas Et Mélisande Suite
2 Prelude 6:50
3 Fileuse 2:33
4 Sicilienne 3:46
5 Death Of Mélisande 5:28
Damnation Of Faust (Excerpts)
6 Minuet Of The Will-o'-the-Wisps 2:29
7 Dance Of The Sylphs 6:01
8 Rákóczy March 3:42