MUNCH conducts Auber, Britten & Nielsen

This Charles Munch release follows that of last month, where we showcased music by Sibelius and Richard Strauss (PASC568). There's more twentieth century interest here too, with the superb Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge by Britten [right] drawn from a 1956 concert broadcast, and also from the Danish composer Nielsen, whose spectacular Symphony No. 5 was exceptionally well received when played by Munch with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in a concert in 1953, especially for one player:

"Nielsen, much admired in his native Denmark and virtually unknown across the Atlantic, must have been both an academic musician and an artist with a demonic side, witness the long, loud and ferocious improvisation for a snare drum which cuts across the singing tissue of a striking part of the first movement. Harold Karherman played this improvisation brilliantly. Indeed, being kept busy much of the afternoon, he was perhaps the most spectacular player involved in this program." - Boston Globe

We slip back to the 19th century Paris opera for the opening number - the overture to Daniel Auber's La Muette de Portici, carried off with aplomb by the Boston orchestra from another 1953 concert broadcast.