Mae­stro Munch and the Mu­nich Phil

This month’s round-up also takes in a cello mas­ter and Mozart op­eras

BBC Music Magazine - - Brief Notes -

The aus­tere de­sign of Warner’s 13-disc Charles Munch box (Warner Clas­sics 90295611989) per­haps re­flects the fact that many of the record­ings in­side were made in oc­cu­pied Paris in the 1940s. There are ear­lier record­ings – one from 1935, early in Munch’s con­duct­ing ca­reer – and much later ones. In­deed, Munch’s fi­nal years on the podium are cov­ered, some made mere months be­fore his death in 1968. The pro­gramme is var­ied, fea­tur­ing works by Lalo, Honeg­ger, Bloch and Jo­livet along­side the ex­pected big hit­ters.

Munch also fea­tures in Gre­gor Pi­atig­orsky – The Art of the Cello (Sony 19075832132), which is more Aladdin’s Cave than box set. Lift­ing the lid re­veals 36 discs of mainly cham­ber record­ings from the last 32 years of the cel­list’s ca­reer, many with Jascha Heifetz and Ar­tur Ru­bin­stein. Munch pre­sides over the Bos­ton Sym­phony on two record­ings, in­clud­ing Richard Strauss’s Don Quixote (which Pi­atig­orsky once per­formed un­der the com­poser’s own ba­ton). Orig­i­nal LP art­work is a wel­come touch and one that Sony can be re­lied upon to do well – this has all the bench­marks of a high-qual­ity re­lease.

To mark 40 years (in 2019) of its cre­ative part­ner­ship with René Jacobs, Har­mo­nia Mundi brings to­gether three Mozart op­eras he recorded be­tween 1998 and 2006. The Da Ponte Tril­ogy (Har­mo­nia Mundi HMX 2908801.09) takes in op­eras with li­bretti by Lorenzo da Ponte – The Mar­riage of Fi­garo, Don Gio­vanni and

Così fan tutte. Pre­sented across nine discs, this is very much about Jacobs; his face adorns ev­ery sepia-toned cover, from the ex­haus­tive book­let to the bonus disc of li­bret­tos.

Cel­e­brat­ing 125 years is the Mu­nich Phil­har­monic, which presents 125 (Müncher Phil­har­moniker MPHIL0011). The 17-disc col­lec­tion takes in the high­lights of some 65 years of record­ings from 1953 to 2018. The gran­ite­like colour­ing of the outer box opens to re­veal a rain­bow of colour, which is re­flected in the mu­sic as well. Un­der the ba­ton of con­duc­tors such as Eu­gen Jochum, Zu­bin Me­hta, James Levine, Chris­tian Thiele­mann and Valery Gergiev, we are treated to big works by the big names – a Beethoven sym­phony here, a Mozart opera there.

The Pi­atig­orsky box has all the bench­marks of a high-qual­ity re­lease

Awe­some three­some:Gre­gor Pi­atig­orsky (right) with Jascha Heifetz (left) andAr­tur Ru­bin­stein, 1949

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