Friday, January 20, 2012

More from Ormandy

Two more vintage Ormandy recordings, one of them a request.  The request happens to be for the first-issued album set to bear Ormandy's name, his Minneapolis Symphony recording of Kodály's Háry János Suite.  Due to a loophole in the Minneapolis Symphony players' contracts, which allowed the orchestra's management to use them to make records for no additional payments, RCA Victor, within a relatively short time (a few weeks in the Januaries of 1934 and 1935), waxed an astounding 170-odd sides with the orchestra.  Among these were many first recordings, including first American recordings of Mahler and Bruckner symphonies, and this one of the Kodály suite:

Kodály: Háry János - Orchestral Suite
Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy
Recorded January 17, 1934
Victor Musical Masterpiece Set DM-197, three 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 72.69 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 39.62 MB)

Ormandy also recorded the Sibelius First Symphony in Minneapolis, but that isn't the version I have.  What I have is the remake he did in Philadelphia six years later, a set sent to me by Ken Halperin of Collecting Record Covers:

Sibelius: Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 39
Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy
Recorded October 25, 1941
Victor Musical Masterpiece Set DM-881, four 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 104.2 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 58.64 MB)

Both these works share the following facts in Ormandy's discography: he recorded each four times, first in Minneapolis, then one mono and two stereo Philadelphia versions.  And of the two stereo versions, one was for Columbia and one for RCA.


  1. What a very beautiful cover! Of course the music will be very good as well - can't wait hearing it :-) Thanks again!

  2. So VERY cool to be able to hear these. Keep up the great work!

  3. Very nice offerings here, Bryan! I've got the earlier recording of Ormandy's Sibelius 1st on Victor Gold labels set M-290. I unfortunately could not locate the pamphlet that usually accompanies sets of this vintage...what else do you expect from your local Salvation Army??? Nevertheless, it's a recording worth listening to and is unavailable except for the LYS issue on CD from a few years back. Again, I follow and love your posts regularly and thanks always go out to you & your blog!

  4. Bryan - many thanks for the Hary Janos in such good sound.
    Three cheers to E-Bay for coming up trumps!

    Eddie S

  5. Just discovered your blog, Bryan (thanks to Fred at Random Classics) and am overwhelmed. Beautiful work, for which many thanks.

  6. That Sibelius is astonishing: the depth of the string sound is just astonishing, and the brass too. Ormandy's interpretation ain't bad either :-) What a great transfer, thank you Bryan!

  7. Do you have RCA Victor WDM-262? This was reportedly recorded 10-14 January 1935. I can send you a cover shot if you like.

    1. I'm sure I must have it somewhere as a 45 set. It was a very big seller, was still on the Billboad classical album charts as late as '53, and was in fact the only Ormandy-Minneapolis recording to make the transistion to 45 or LP.