Charles Munch (英語) ハードカバー – 2012/1/19
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A mesmerizing figure in concert, Charles Munch was celebrated for his electrifying public performances. He was a pioneer in many arenas of classical music―establishing Berlioz in the canon, perfecting the orchestral work of Debussy and Ravel, and leading the world to Roussel, Honegger, and Dutilleux. A pivotal figure, his accomplishments put him on a par with Arturo Toscanini and Leonard Bernstein.
In Charles Munch, D. Kern Holoman provides the first full biography of this giant of twentieth-century music, tracing his dramatic survival in occupied Paris, his triumphant arrival at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and his later years, when he was a leading cultural figure in the United States, a man known and admired by Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy. He turned to conducting only in middle age, after two decades as a violinist and concertmaster, a background which gave him special insight into the relationship between conductor and orchestra. At the podium, his bond with his musicians unleashed something in them and in himself. "A certain magic took wing that amounts to the very essence of music in concert," the author writes, as if "public performance loosed the facets of character and artistry and poetry otherwise muffled by his timidity and simple disinclination to say much." In concert, Munch was arresting, even seductive, sweeping his baton in an enormous arch from above his head down to his knee. Yet as Holoman shows, he remained a lonely, even sad figure, a widower with no children, a man who fled admirers and avoided reporters.
With groundbreaking research and sensitive, lyrical writing, Holoman penetrates the enigma to capture this elusive musical titan.
meticulous and sympathetic (David Matthews, Times Literary Supplement)
Holoman writes with enormous sensitivity ... he is especially articulate in connecting Munch's elusive and enigmatic personal life to a noticeably more extroverted approach to music making ... Holoman's admirably elegant interrogation of the dichotomy of Munch's on- and off-stage personality is sympathetically handled and proves to be both insightful and informative. (Michael Quinn, Classical Music Magazine)
A book such as this has been needed for quite a while ... I enjoyed this book very much ... This book is very strongly recommended: it is a masterly study. (Robert Matthew-Walker, Musical Opinion)
this is a fascinating book, supplemented by an invaluable online discography (BBC Music Magazine)
Not only does Holoman weave the events of Munch's life into an interesting, elegantly written narrative, he penetrates the man's psychology (no easy task for one so reclusive and private) and shows us how that impacted on his performances ... I cannot recommend it too highly. (John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune)
Holoman, a professor of music and conductor at the University of California Davis, provides not just a colorful and warmly affectionate account of the life and career of le beau Charles, but also brings context to the major institutional changes that took place during his tenure, a pivotal period in American orchestral life. (Jeremy Eichler, The Boston Globe)
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The sadness and loneliness that Munch experienced are not explained and the author admits as much. Nor does he do more than describe the outward aspects of Munch's marriage to a rich, intelligent, somewhat older but infirm woman who helped finance the early portion of his conducting career, but with whom Munch might never have consummated the marriage. Apparently the conductor had numerous extra-marital affairs, some long lasting, making the conductor's personal life look a little bit like that of Don Draper, the protagonist in "Mad Men."
Perhaps more importantly, Munch's ability to achieve hair-raising musical results is not really explained. Within the body of the text there is little critical analysis of Munch's recordings. For myself, many of these recordings paled in comparison with Munch's electric renditions in the concert hall. The best explanation I ever heard of this had to do with the conductor's spontaneity: since multiple "takes" were required in the studio, Munch supposedly had to rein himself in during recording sessions so that he could produce consistent results in terms of tempo, etc. In a public concert, by contrast, Munch was unpredictable, with no two performances being quite the same.
Despite multiple heart attacks and other illnesses going back many years, Munch pushed himself to do his work to the end of his life. To some extent, perhaps, it was a "mission," to some extent an "addiction" (suggested at one point by Holoman); perhaps in part it was simply doing something he loved and in which he lost himself. Whatever it was, his capacity to communicate from the stage was second to no one I heard in a lifetime of concert going that included virtually all the great conductors from 1964 to the present.
Until and unless someone else takes on the job of writing Munch's biography, we must be grateful to Mr. Holoman for what he was able to accomplish here. Perhaps what he could not express was due to the elusiveness of his subject. In the meantime, we have the recordings and especially the growing list of DVDs, to tell us in music and images, not words, what made Munch special. To the good, discographical material and many video clips are present on a companion website.
There are a few errors. Leinsdorf, Munch's successor with the Boston Symphony, lasted more than the five years Holoman gives him credit for. Does Roussel's Bacchus & Ariadne have a chorus? If so, I've never heard a recording or performance that includes it, as the author indicates. (Please see Mr. Holoman's comment below for more information on this question). Nor was Kurt Sanderling a member of the Leningrad Philharmonic, but one of its chief conductors. One pet irritation: Holoman frequently uses French phrases without translating them.
charles munch is greatest of all conductors.
his very unusual life is amazing.
bio helps understanding of music.