The recordings of Pierre Monteux (1875-1964) have been important to me since I was in my early 20s (which was a long time ago). In fact, they had something to do with me becoming a music critic. The French maestro gave the premieres of “The Rite of Spring,” “Petrushka,” “Daphnis and Chloe” and “Jeux,” among many other works. He had a long career, made recordings from 1903-1964, served as music director of the Boston Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, the London Symphony, and guest conducted the world over. He is celebrated especially in the French and Russian repertoire, but I like his work in everything I’ve heard, which is most of what he put on record from about 1940 on. The list below is a starting point. Some of them are out of print, but with a little effort can be found for sale online. But if you have a little cash on hand there’s no reason not to get this new release.
1. Stravinsky: “The Rite of Spring.” Boston Symphony. RCA.
2. Franck: Symphony in D minor. Chicago Symphony. RCA.
3. Tchaikovsky: “The Sleeping Beauty,” highlights. London Symphony. Australian Eloquence.
4. Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos. 4-6. Boston Symphony. RCA.
5. Debussy: “La Mer.” Boston Symphony. RCA.
6. Berlioz: “Symphonie Fantastique.” San Francisco Symphony. RCA.
7. Beethoven: Symphony No. 8. Vienna Philharmonic. Decca.
8. Ravel: “Daphnis et Chloe.” London Symphony; Royal Opera House Chorus. Decca.
9. Rimsky-Korsakov: “Scheherazade.” San Francisco Symphony. RCA.
10. Chausson: Symphony in B-flat. San Francisco Symphony. RCA.
Bonus record: Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 35 and 39. NDR Symphony Orchestra of Hamburg. Preludio.