Fritz Münch conducts Bach: BWV 248 Christmas oratorio - Cantata II
Born: June 2, 1890 - Strasbourg, France The French choir-master and professor of music, Fritz Münch, was the son of Ernest Münch, founder of the Chœur Saint-Guillaume, and a critically important figure in the Bach revival in Alsace. His younger brother was the eminent conductor Charles Munch. Fritz Münch first studied music in his native town, later in Leipzig, Berlin and Paris. He succeeded his father as director of the Chœur Saint-Guillaume, and rapidly made a name for himself, both in Strasbourg and elsewhere. Because Albert Schweitzer was for several years the regular organist at Ernst Münch's Bach concerts, Fritz may well provide insight, through his Bach recordings, into where Albert Schweitzer was coming from in his analysis of the choral works of J.S. Bach. For many years Fritz Münch has been director of the Municipal Conservatoire in Strasbourg and lecturer in the history of music at Strasbourg University.
Hugues-Adhémar Cuénod (born 26 June 1902) is a Swiss tenor born in Corseaux-sur-Vevey. Hugues Cuénod received his training at the Ribaupierre Institute in Lausanne, at the conservatories in Geneva and Basel, and also in Vienna. He started his career as a concert singer. In 1928, he made his stage debut in Ernst Krenek's Jonny spielt auf in Paris, and in 1929 he sang for the first time in the U.S. in Noël Coward's Bitter Sweet. From 1930 to 1933 he was active in Geneva, and then in Paris from 1934 to 1937. During the 1937-1939 seasons, he made an extensive concert tour of North America. From 1940 to 1946 he taught at the Geneva Conservatory. In 1943 he resumed his operatic career singing in Johann Strauss II's Die Fledermaus in Geneva. He subsequently sang at Milan’s La Scala (1951), the Glyndebourne Festival (from 1954 on) and London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (1954, 1956 and 1958). Hugues Cuénod is a singer who has sung everything from Guillaume de Machaut to Igor Stravinsky. Among his finest roles were Basilio in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, the Astrologer in Rimsky-Korsakov's The Golden Cockerel, and Sellem in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress. In pre-war Vienna and Paris, he frequented aristocratic salons and worked with Nadia Boulanger, and after the war, the new early-music boom relied heavily on his light, unmannered, natural sound. An outstanding sight-reader, with a flair for the unusual, he made some pioneering LPs and left a recording heritage of the finest order, especially noted for his interpretation of French mélodies (he knew and worked with Honegger, Auric, Roussel, Poulenc and others), Bach, Elizabethan song, Couperin and Stravinsky again. He holds the record as the oldest person to make a debut at the Metropolitan Opera, singing the Emperor Altoum from Puccini's Turandot in 1987, aged 84. Cuénod resides with his life partner, Alfred Augustin (41 years his junior), in the Vaud region of Switzerland, in the Château de Lully, an 18th-century castle that belonged to his ancestors. In January 2007, at the age of 104, Cuénod and Augustin signed a civil union after the changes in Swiss law which gave same-sex couples many legal benefits of marriage. On 26 June 2009, Hugues Cuénod reached the age of 107.