Munch/BSO: Daphnis et Chloe (rec. 1955, with Andy Warhol drawings): RCA LM-1893
Album EX / LP EX / US pressing
This beautiful deluxe gatefold album – with its famous artwork by Andy Warhol – from RCA (LM-1893, US pressing, plum shaded dog, mono) features Charles Munch and the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s sumptuous account of the complete ballet music to Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe, recorded in the rich acoustics of Symphony Hall, Boston, on 23 January 1955.
“Le Beau Charles” and the BSO were joined on this memorable occasion by the New England Conservatory Chorus and Alumni Chorus (Director: Robert Shaw / Associate Director: Lorna Cooke de Varon).
The production values for this set are quite extraordinary, the album consisting of two heavy outer cardboard sleeves, the front panel laminated with the lovely cover photo. The interior panels contain the following:
“Choreography of a Symphony” – essay by John N. Burk, Program Annotator for tbe BSO
“The Score” – essay by John F. Rowbotham, from his book History of Music
“The Greek Source” – essay by John N. Burk
Two full-size black-and-white photographs from notable productions of the ballet by Frederic Ashton
5 Warhol drawings
Four full-size drawings by Andy Warhol, as well as one smaller sketch
All of these pages are printed on heavy art stock paper – the album is a work of art in itself.
In reviewing the RCA “Living Stereo” CD re-issue of this performance, the wonderful critic and author David Hurwitz wrote for ClassicsTosay:
“I may be alone in preferring Charles Munch's later recording of Daphnis, from the 1960s, to this classic 1955 version. The remake (last available on Japanese RCA) has even better playing, as well as more modern sound--not that this disc is all that much inferior. In fact, it's still a terrific feat of audio engineering, and Munch's interpretation is just as powerful and committed (and perhaps a bit swifter in the Bacchanal) as it would be later. Given the unavailability of his second effort, you certainly can purchase this with total confidence, and the two-channel SACD brings a touch more vividness to what already was a very fine remastering job. Let's face it: Munch was well nigh unbeatable in this music, and there's no point in quibbling over tiny details. If you don't have this, then by all means don't hesitate. If you do own it, I don't think this latest remastering offers enough obvious differences to warrant trading in the previous release.”
This set is quite heavy – even with minimal packaging, prepared for shipping it will weigh over 600 kg. This means that outside of Europe the cost for shipping is about $30 USD, and that is just for standard airmail. Certified airmail (with a tracking number) costs $33 USD. Those in doubt can visit the Spanish postal website (Correos.com), which is available in English. Although this listing states “free” shipping, it is not really free, of course. I have to pay for shipping like everyone else. Anyway, all this to say that those who feel the price is high need to take the cost of shipping into account. If you have any questions or doubts, feel free to write and I will be happy to help. Thank you.
The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of the jacket is EXCELLENT. There is bumping at corners and mild discoloration to the front panel, but that is all. There are no seamsplits, bends, owners' markings, or other defects, and the whole remains solid, bright, glossy, and highly attractive – overall, an excellent collector's copy.
The condition of the LP itself is EXCELLENT. Though there is light surface noise throughout, in general the playback remains enjoyable. If you must have flawless or near-MINT surfaces, then please do not buy this LP. Overall, this rates as an excellent collector's copy.