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Pierre Monteux Live

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This item will be released on 21 June, 2024.
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SOMM Recordings is thrilled to announce Pierre Monteux Live, a two-CD set comprised entirely of first releases including never-before-issued performances led by the legendary conductor. Among these is a spectacular 50th Anniversary performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring with the composer in attendance, given a half-century to the day after Monteux himself conducted the storied Paris world premiere! This recording captures an extraordinary moment of historical continuity: between 1913 and 1963 five decades elapsed in the evolution of 20th-century music, in the taste and understanding of the public and in the lives of both creator and pioneering interpreter. The concert was broadcast live on the BBC from the Royal Albert Hall and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra who referred to Monteux affectionately as their “Maître”. Both the devoted playing and the emotional audience acclaim are preserved in vividly present sound.

This set also commemorates the revered conductor – on the 60th anniversary of his death and ahead of the 150th anniversary of his birth – with moving testimony from LSO musicians involved in the landmark Stravinsky concert. These interviews were recorded between 1992 and 1995 by this set’s producer, Jon Tolansky, co-founder of Music Preserved and the author of documentary features on composers and performers. Monteux is also heard speaking on tape here, in a 1955 interview and a 1959 rehearsal of the LSO in Dvořák’s Seventh Symphony, providing a window onto the man’s intellect, work ethic and rapport with fellow musicians.

Rounding out this set are still more never-before-issued recordings of Monteux conducting the BBC Northern Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in music by Haydn, Weber and Beethoven, as well as works by Ravel, who, like Stravinsky, was a composer Monteux knew personally. To the highly discriminating players of the RPO of 1960, Monteux was a favourite guest conductor. As with The Rite of Spring, he represented a direct link to the origins of Daphnis and Chloé, another Ballets Russes production that Monteux led in its world premiere. The RPO’s Principal Clarinet, Jack Brymer, remembered “this wonderfully energetic and meticulous little man” who “even in his eighties … had the touch of elegance, the humour, the exquisite good taste” and “could produce a sudden sforzato second to none by a tiny stab of his baton.”

The recordings of the performances in this album, all made privately off-air from various sources, have been fastidiously polished by Restoration Engineer Paul Baily. Jon Tolansky and Paul Baily’s collaboration on the recent Sir Adrian Boult Conducts (ARIADNE 5024-2) was honoured with the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Records Critics’ Award) in the Historical Recordings category.

On This Recording

Disc 1
Carl Maria von Weber
  1. Jubilee Overture, Op. 59 (8:17)a
Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 “Pastoral”a
  1. I. Erwachen heiterer Empfindungen bei der Ankunft auf dem Lande (9:45)
  2. II. Szene am Bach (11:22)
  3. III. Lustiges Zusammensein der Landleute (5:07)
  4. IV. Gewitter, Sturm (3:25)
  5. V. Hirtengesang. Frohe und dankbare Gefühle nach dem Sturm (8:52)
Maurice Ravel Rapsodie espagnole, M. 54a
  1. I. Prélude à la nuit (4:07)
  2. II. Malagueña (2:18)
  3. III. Habanera (2:31)
  4. IV. Feria (6:28)
  5. Daphnis and Chloé Suite No. 2, M. 57bb
Disc 2
Joseph Haydn Symphony No. 104 in D Major, Hob. 1:104b
  1. I. Andante – Allegro (6:54)
  2. II. Andante (6:46)
  3. III. Menuetto and Trio. Allegro (5:05)
  4. IV. Finale. Spiritoso (4:52)
Igor Stravinsky The Rite of Spring, K015 Pt. I “The Adoration of the Earth”c
  1. I. Introduction (3:10)
  2. II. The Augurs of Spring, Dance of the Young Girls (3:34)
  3. III. Ritual of Abduction (1:29)
  4. IV. Procession of the Sage (3:24)
  5. V. Ritual of the Rival Tribes (1:52)
  6. VI. Procession of the Sage (1:17)
  7. VII. Dance of the Earth (1:34)
Pt. 2 “The Sacrifice”
  1. I. Introduction (4:23)
  2. II. Mystic Circles of the Young Girls (3:10)
  3. III. Glorification of the Chosen One (1:45)
  4. IV. Evocation of the Ancestors (0:42)
  5. V. Ritual Action of the Ancestors (3:17)
  6. VI. Sacrificial Dance (The Chosen One) (4:52)
  7. Applause – Announcement by Alvar Lidell (1:16)
Recollections in Interviewsd
  1. LSO Members recall the 50th Anniversary Performance of the Rite of Spring (2:23)
  2. About Pierre Monteaux’s appointment as Principal Conductor of the LSO (1:37)
  3. Personal recollections of Pierre Monteux in the LSO (5:15)
  4. Pierre Monteux’s achievements in the LSO (0:42)
  5. Personal recollections of Pierre Monteux in the LSO (0:52)
  6. Personal recollections of Pierre Monteux in the LSO (2:53)
  7. Personal recollections of Pierre Monteux at the Pierre Monteux School (2:19)
  8. Discovery and championship of the Willem Pijper’s Symphony No. 3 (1:15)
Antonín Dvořák Symphony No. 7 in D Minor, Op. 70c
  1. I. Allegro Maestoso (excerpts) [Rehearsal Recording] (1:43)
  2. II. Poco Adagio (excerpts) [Rehearsal Recording] (1:12)
aBBC Northern Orchestra
bRoyal Philharmonic Orchestra
cLondon Symphony Orchestra
Pierre Monteux, conductor
dJon Tolansky, interviewer