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Posted January 10, 2012
This DVD is part of the ICA Classics Legacy series, and features some of the televised concerts by Charles Munch and the Boston Symphony Orchestra on WGBH, Boston’s public television channel. And if any of the other entries in this series are as good as this, then I will likely end up with a whole shelf of them.
The featured pieces are: Orchestral excerpts from Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger” (beautifully performed by the orchestra), Franck’s Symphony in D minor (the 3rd movement is spectacular, and the solo work is just amazing), and finally Faure’s Pelleas et Melisande Suite (it just doesn’t get any better than this!!!). Mr. Munch conducts cleanly and from the heart, and his depth of feeling of the music seems to channel straight through to his musicians and from there to the audience. I have to wonder if season ticket sales for the BSO went through the roof after some of this footage was broadcast – it’s that good. According to the informative liner notes, Mr. Munch returned a second time to acknowledge the applause for the Franck, and the announcer (William Pierce) exclaimed, “[This] is turning out to be an ovation.” I felt the same way, as it was difficult to resist the urge to applaud.
Of course, the video quality is not quite up to Blu-ray standards owing to the time period in which it was recorded, but it is certainly good enough to see what Mr. Munch and the BSO are doing – and what really matters is the music, which comes through loud and clear. This DVD is wonderful, and I am pleased to have it in my collection.