Monday, January 2, 2012

A Fifth of Ormandy

This happens to be the fifth post I have offered devoted to Eugene Ormandy (1899-1985), and so I devote it, in part, to a Fifth Symphony - Tchaikovsky's.  This is the first of five recordings he was to make of the work, with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and it's a fine one - Ormandy seldom, if ever, turned out a dull performance of Russian music:

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64
Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy
Recorded March 15, 1941
Victor Musical Masterpiece Set M-828, five 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 113.89 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 60 MB)

The other offering here is his 1939 recording of Richard Strauss' "Ein Heldenleben," the first of four he was to make in Philadelphia, with concertmaster Alexander Hilsberg as the violin soloist.  This was intended to replace Mengelberg's pioneering 1928 version with the New York Philharmonic in the Victor catalogue, and, therefore, was not much appreciated at the time! Heard on its own terms, what emerges is an exciting, beautifully-played account of the score:

Strauss: Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life), Op. 40
Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy
Recorded April 30, 1939
Victor Musical Masterpiece Set DM-610, five 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC file, 97.41 MB)
Link (MP3 file, 48.92 MB)


  1. The Ormandy Tchaikovsky 5th was one of the very few Ormandy recordings that never made it to LP and I have always wanted to hear it. The tempo shifts in the first movement are more pronounced here than in Ormandy's first LP recording - though thankfully not as pronounced as Stock's. Great transfer. God bless you Shellackophile!

  2. Bryan - thanks for these latest interesting Ormandy recordings. Shame you couldn't help with the others I asked you about but, hey, that's record collecting for you.
    May do as you suggest and see if Damian can help - his transfers are terrific as you say.

    Eddie S

  3. I have acquired 4 of the 5 78 rpms from this recording. Happy to send it to any of you for free.