Although I know Pierre Monteux (1875-1964) was a musician to his fingertips, I tend to find him less than probing of whatever he’s conducting, and consequently I cannot share the enthusiasm that is often found for his recordings of, say, Elgar’s Enigma Variations (LSO/Decca), Franck’s Symphony (Chicago/RCA) or, again LSO/Decca, Ravel’s complete Daphnis (not when contemporaneous versions by Ansermet, Cluytens and Munch, twice, have more to offer). However, Somm has put together a generous collection of previously unpublished Monteux performances, mostly with the BBC Northern Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic in variable mono sound, although Paul Baily has done a superb balancing act between digitising the source materials and not eating into true tones. I can admire Monteux’s conducting of a Weber overture, Beethoven’s ‘Pastoral’ Symphony (robust, song-like, nice touches, if without the first-movement repeat, regrettably) and two Ravel pieces (one set in Spain, the other in Ancient Greece) but fear my involvement was limited. Not so on disc two, Haydn 104 (the last of the twelve ‘London’ Symphonies) is an enjoyably virile performance, if somewhat compromised by no repeats in the outer movements, and a fiftieth-anniversary account of The Rite of Spring (1963, Royal Albert Hall, Stravinsky present) – Monteux had been in the pit for the riot-inducing Parisian first night – that is instructive in terms of tempo and detailing, albeit the LSO, however dedicated, does have a few collective and individual lapses, and there are some textural oddities (depends on the edition being used, and maybe the composer was at rehearsals and effected some changes). The follows a series of interesting Monteux reminiscences, and a few minutes of Monteux rehearsing Dvořák Seven. Monteux’s many admirers needn’t hesitate. Somm Ariadne 5028-2 (2 CDs).