NBC Radio – Boston Symphony In Rehearsal – Pierre Monteux, guest Conductor – February 3, 1951 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Continuing with historic recordings of The Boston Symphony in rehearsal. This week it’s then-Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Pierre Monteux leading the orchestra in a rehearsal of the Wagner Flying Dutchman overture and the Brahms Symphony Number 3.
Another well liked and highly respected conductor, Pierre Monteux was legendary for a lot of reasons; not the least being his landmark performance of the debut of Stravinsky‘s Rite Of Spring in 1913 – the performance that heralded a new era in Classical music and a riot to boot.
Monteux appeared as guest conductor with many orchestras; he commented in 1955, “I regret they don’t have symphony orchestras all over the world so I could see Burma and Samarkand”. His successor with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Serge Koussevitzky, invited many guest conductors during his twenty-five years in charge. In 1949 Koussevitzky was succeeded by Charles Munch, whose early career had been boosted by an invitation from Monteux to conduct the Orchestre Symphonique de Paris in 1933. Munch invited Monteux to Boston as a guest conductor in the 1951 season. The engagement was greeted with enthusiasm by the critics and the public, and Munch invited Monteux to join him the following year in heading the orchestra’s first European tour. The high point of the tour was a performance under Monteux of The Rite of Spring at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, in the presence of the composer. Monteux returned annually to Boston every year until his death.
Not as revolutionary in this rehearsal from February 3rd 1951, he still gets the best out of the orchestra and it offers further proof that not all famous conductors were tyrants, and not all conductors were screamers.
Sometimes these rumors just get started.
Again, as before, this isn’t the complete concert, only the rehearsal and a half-hours worth. It’s a way of giving insight as to how a performance is shaped and what goes into the rehearsal process.
Enjoy and take notes.
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