Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ormandy: Two Prokofiev Premières

Cover design by Alex Steinweiss

Eugene Ormandy had a natural affinity for 20th-century music, and he also had an affinity for Russian music.  When the two intersected, as in the works of Prokofiev and Shostakovich, the results were usually memorable.  Here are two recordings of major Prokofiev scores, in each case a first recording:

Prokofiev: Alexander Nevsky - Cantata, Op. 78
Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy
with the Westminster Choir, and Jennie Tourel, mezzo-soprano
Recorded May 21, 1945
Columbia Masterworks ML-4247, one vinyl LP record
Link (FLAC files, 102 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 54.53 MB)

Prokofiev: Symphony No. 6 in E-Flat minor, Op. 111
Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy
Recorded January 15, 1950
Columbia Masterworks ML-4328, one vinyl LP record
Link (FLAC files, 107.28 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 52.55 MB)

Both recordings also appeared as 78-rpm sets, the Symphony concurrently, the "Alexander Nevsky" four years previously.  Ormandy re-recorded both works in stereo, the Symphony for Columbia in 1961, and "Alexander Nevsky" for RCA in 1975.

5 comments:

  1. Thank you so much, Bryan, for all the wonderful old Ormandy recordings you've posted here. I really love them and appreciate the scans you provide with them as well. Too bad that Ormandy didn't remain as fine a conductor in old age as he was in his younger days. It's great to be able to enjoy once again his early recordings.

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  2. Bryan - thanks for the Nevsky. I've always been curious to hear it. Your transfer, as always, is superb!

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  3. Bryan, You've spared me the trouble of uploading my adorable french 10" of the 6th Symphony! I'll bet the 78s are fun to hear - downloading now. Thanks!

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    1. Squirrel, I think you should upload it anyway, for the sake of comparison. Anyway, how the heck do they squeeze it onto a 10" disc? The piece is over 40 minutes long!

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  4. Ormandy's old 78 set of Nevsky is utterly magnificent. And, though the 1950 recording technique used in the 6th is not quite as good as one would have hoped for, the performance is, again, gripping and fully worthwhile (what modern one is actually *better*? A good question...)

    S. - retired recording engineer

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