Sunday, December 11, 2011

More Symphonies from Philadelphia

Two American symphonies, one about America which is among the most well-known in the symphonic repertoire, and one by an American which should be far better known, are the subjects of today's post.  Both originate from Philadelphia, and are conducted by the indefatigable Eugene Ormandy:

Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 ("From the New World")
Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy
Recorded December 18, 1944, and January 12, 1946
Columbia Masterworks MM-570, five 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 93.78 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 50.23 MB)

William Schuman: Symphony No. 3 (1941)
Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy
Recorded March 11, 1951
Columbia Masterworks ML-4413, one LP record
Link (FLAC files, 80.74 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 36.02 MB)

This was the first recording of William Schuman's Third Symphony, one of his finest works, and was recorded under the auspices of the Walter W. Naumberg Foundation, which awarded the symphony its American Composition Award in 1950.  It was released just a little too late to be issued as a 78 set, though eight 78-rpm matrices (XCO 45351 through 45358) were assigned to it.  Ormandy's recording is far less known than the one Leonard Bernstein did about ten years later, which it complements nicely.  I first offered it as an upload in May, 2007; the Dvořák, however, is new.  Ormandy, though content to play the "New World" straight for the most part, nevertheless indulges in adding, in the finale, two additional cymbal crashes to the one which Dvořák actually wrote. (In fairness to Ormandy, these were probably an inheritance from his Philadelphia predecessor Stokowski.)


  1. Thank you for posting these great old recordings.

  2. Thanks, especially for the William Schuman!

  3. Bryan - thanks for the very interesting William Schuman posting. More Ormandy please, especially if you have access to any of the pre-war Minneapolis recordings which seem to have no hope of ever appearing on CD such as;
    Hary Janos Suite
    Eine Kleine Nachtsmusik
    Alborado del Gracioso
    Beethoven Symphony 4
    Honneger Concertino
    Sibelius Symphony 1
    Bartered Bride excerpts
    All contributions gratefully received here in the UK!!

    Eddie S
    Suffolk UK

  4. Well, now that you've posted--bless your soul--Ormandy's reading of WIlliam Schuman's 3rd, please post "Credendum." Have I thanked you lately for all the marvelous things you are making available to starved souls like myself? If not, shame on me!

  5. Eddie - I just won the Minneapolis "Hary Janos" in an Ebay auction, so assuming it arrives safely, that's something I'll be posting in the near future. Don't have any other Ormandy-Minneapolis sets, but I do have more Philly Victors including Ein Heldenleben and Tchaikovsky 5 - any interest? Also 40s Columbias like Beethoven 9, Brahms 3 and Franck D minor.

    David - regrettably I don't have "Credendum" but I notice a YouTuber does - at

  6. Bryan - thanks for the good news about Hary Janos. I have a set of this and also the Minneapolis Sibelius 1, Scherzo Capriccioso and the Fritz Kreisler "Kreisleriana" orchestrations. What I don't have any longer is a turntable to play them on!!
    Await the Heldenleben and Tchaikowsky 5 (which I didn't even know existed) with pleasurable anticipation.
    Any chance of the Victor Beethoven Symphony 1, Les Preludes or Bach-Caillet arrangements.
    Thanks for all your great work and best wishes for 2012

    Eddie S

  7. Hi Eddie, I'm still waiting for the Hary Janos but I have just put up the Tchaik 5 and Heldenleben as you probably saw. Alas don't have Beethoven 1 or the others you name. As for the records you can't play you might consider contacting Damian there in the UK to do transfers - he does fine ones - I don't know how close or far you are from him geographically but it's certainly closer than me!

  8. I have been looking for a good copy of the Ormandy Schuman 3rd for many, many years. I wore out my own LP long ago. I had given up ever finding it. I believe this is by far the finest recorded performance of this, including Bernstein. I am more grateful for your post than I can possibly tell you.

  9. I have managed to collect most performances of Schuman's 3rd except this. Thanks for an excellent transfer.
    Ray Pratt