Charles Munch

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Munch, Charles


Born Sept. 26, 1891, in Strasbourg, France; died Nov. 6, 1968, in Richmond, Va. French conductor and violinist.

Munch became the leader of the Strasbourg Orchestra in 1919 and of the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig in 1923. In 1932 he settled in Paris, where he made his debut as a conductor. From 1935 to 1938 he directed the Paris Philharmonic Orchestra and from 1937 to 1946, the Paris Conservatory Orchestra. Munch was the first to perform Honegger’s Song of Liberation (1944) and Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony (1945) in Paris after its liberation from the fascist German occupation. In 1946, Munch made his debut in the USA; from 1949 to 1962 he conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In the following years he was very active as a guest conductor; in 1956 and again in 1965 he appeared in the USSR. In 1967, Munch became head of the newly created Paris Orchestra.

A vivid emotional quality, profound intellect, strict taste, and exceptionally precise conducting made Munch an outstanding interpreter of many musical works. He brought public attention to contemporary French composers (A. Honegger, A. Roussel, H. Dutilleux, J. Guy-Ropartz), whose works he was the first to conduct.


In Russian translation:
Ia—dirizher. Moscow, 1960.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Disc 1: Charles Munch. Maurice Ravel, Ma Mere VOye (Suite), (February, 1958); Claude Debussy, Iberia (October, 1961), La Mer (October, 1958).
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Best known for his luminous paintings showcasing images of people and animals, Charles Munch began his twenty-five year career as an American artist in a poetic realism tradition and gradually evolved to paint the elegant semi-abstractions for which he is acclaimed today.
Still, it's the Saint-Saens that most people will probably want, and here one might do better with Louis Fremaux and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra on a mid-priced EMI or Charles Munch and the Boston Symphony on an RCA SACD or an expensive but worthwhile JVC XRCD.
I listened to this twice straight through, but have to confess to switching off after a few minutes of the Bloch Violin Concerto, written for Szigeti and given here with the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra under Charles Munch in a recording made in 1939.
The fifth volume (February 27, 1963) features the Alsatian conductor Charles Munch in an all-French program offering the most adventurous program of the videos so far released.
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8 "Unfinished." Charles Munch, Boston Symphony Orchestra.
We also relish all three string concertos: Jascha Heifetz soloist in the Violin Concerto, Walton conducting the Philharmonia; Yuri Bashmet joining Previn and the LSO for the Viola Concerto; Gregor Piatigorsky a grainy, eloquent soloist in the wonderful Cello Concerto, recorded with Charles Munch and the Boston Symphony Orchestra soon after they premiered the work in 1957.