Charles Munch

Great Conductors of the 20th Century

This two-CD set, part of a series from EMI, is marvelous. The remarkably clear sound is 1950s mono, but you really won’t notice because the music is played so well. The highlight of the set is the vibrant and pulsating Fantaisies symphoniques or Symphony No. 6 by Bohuslav Martinu. It was written for Charles Munch and the Boston Symphony, and they recorded it much more convincingly than any group has since. Tumbling forward with one incredible melody or shimmering effect after another, it’s an exciting experience. And then there is a superb Beethoven Ninth Symphony, a Symphony in C by Georges Bizet and Sergei Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet suites, all done supremely well. This is how classical music is supposed to sound.