WARNER CLASSICS 573813 (13 disks)

This important historic release offers the famed conductor's reocordings for labels other than RCA, were made 1935 - 1968. It is intriguing in that it ontains Munch's only recordings of a number of works. Unfortunately these were made with French orchestras. Often orchestral playing is substandard, and audio usually dim and restricted—even in the later stereo recordings. Three orchestras are identified: the Paris Conservatory Orchestra (PCO), the French National Radio Orchestra (FNRO), the Orchestra of Paris (OP), and the Lamoureuxx Orchestra (LO).

There are some unusual works new to Munch's discography,particularly those by Gustave Samazeuilh ( Le Cercle des Heures). André Jolivet's Les Trois Complaintes du Soldat, Louis Auber's Habernera, Marcel Delannoy (La Pantoufle de vair / Serenade Concertante for Violin and Orchestra), Ernesto Halffter (Rapsodia portuguese), Ernest Bloch (Violin Concerto), and Chopin arr. Auber (La nuit ensorcekée). The most important are the two with legendary pianist Alfred Cortot, at the end of his caree but still a major virtuoso. The Bloch violin concerto with Josepoh Szigeti is another winner. The Tchaikovsky concerto with Kostia Konstantinov and Liszt Concerto with Joseph Benvenuti don't amount to much. and Marguerite Lond's Emperor isn't very regal. Both recordings of Sinfonie fantastique are inferior to Munch's Boston recordings. Below is a list of all of irepertory, with orchestras and soloist identification, and recording dates.

BACH: Cantata BWV 189 (Pierre Bernac, baritone / Chamber O / 1941)
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5 (Marguerite Long / PCO / 1944)
BERLIOZ: Symphonie fanastique (OP / 1967)
BERLIOZ: Symphonie fanastique ( ( FNRO / 1949)
BLOCH: Violin Concerto (Joseph Szigeti / PCO / 1939
BRAHMS: Symphony No. 1 (OP/ 1968)
CHOPIN-AUBER: La Nuit ensorcelée (PCO / 1944)
DEBUSSY: La Mer ( (PCO / 1942)
DELANNOY: La pantoufle de vair ballet (PCO / 1941)
DELLANNOY: Serenade for Violin & Orchestra (Henry Merckel / PCO / 1941)
DUTILLEUX: Symphony No. 2 “Le double” (LO / 1965)
DUTILLEUX: Melodies (LO / 1965)
FAURÉ: Serenade for Violin and Orch. (Denise Soriano / POC / 1939)
HALFFTER: Rapsodia portuguesa (Marguerite Long / PCO /1941)
HONEGGER: Symphony No. 2 for Strings & Trumpet (OP / 1967)
HONEGGER: Symphony No 4 Deliciae Basiliensis (LO / 1967)
JOLIVET: Les Trois Complaintes du Soldat (Pierre Bernac, baritone / PCO 1943
LALO: Cello Concerto in D minor (Navarra/LO/ rec. 1965
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 20 (Jean Doyen / PCO / 1941)
MOZART: Violin Concerto No. 5 in A (Jacques Thibaud / PCO 1841
MOZART: Violin Concerto No. 7, K .271a (SDenise Soriano / PCO / 1939
HONEGGER: La Danse des mortes (Soloists / Chorus/ PCO / 1941)
RAVEL: Daphnis and Chloe Suite No. 2 OIrchestra of Paris / 1967)
RAVEL: Concerto for the Left Hand (Alfred Cortot / PCO / 1939)
RAVEL: Concerto for the Left Hand (Jacques Féevrier / PCO / 1942)
RAVEL: La Valse (PCO / 1942)
RAVEL: Pavane pour une infante defunte (PCO / 1942)
RAVEL: Pavane pour une infante defunte (OP / 1968)
RAVEL: Rapsodie esopagnole (OP / 1968)
RAVEL: Piano Concerto in G (Nicole Henriot-Schweitzer / OP / 1968)
RAVEL: Bolero (OP / 1968)
ROUSSEL: Suite in F (Lamoureux O / 1965
ROUSSEL: Symphony No. 3 (LO / 1965)
ROUSSEL: Symphony No. 4 (LO / 1965)
SAINT-SAËNS: Cello Concerto No. 1 (Navarra / LO / 1965)
SAINT-SAËNS: Piano Concerto No. 4 (Alfred Cortot / Orchestra / 1935)
SAMAZEUILCH: Le Cercle des Heures (Eliette Schenneberg, ms. / PCO / 1943)
TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 1 (Kostia Konstantinov,/ PCO / 1941)
VIVALDI: Violin Concerto in D Op. 3 No. 9 ( Denise Soriano / PCO / 1939)

Admirers of Munch shold seek the EMI 2-disk set that contains many other non-Boston recordings (REVIEW).

This is an important set for collectors for resons stated bove, prticularly welcome as it is budget-priced. Thank You, Warner Classics!

R.E.B . (November 2018)