Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Cover design by Alex Steinweiss
Two early Ormandy recordings with a nautical theme this week.  The first one is, perhaps, the more obvious - Ormandy's "arrangement" of a suite from Handel's "Water Music."  Actually, the orchestration sounds to me identical with the more famous arrangement by Sir Hamilton Harty; however, Ormandy has rearranged the order of the movements to more closely align with Handel's original.  In any case, here's the first of three recordings Ormandy was to conduct of the arrangement:

Handel (arr. Ormandy): Water Music Suite
Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy
Recorded January 12, 1946
Columbia Masterworks set MX-279, two 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC file, 47.08 MB)
Link (MP3 file, 23.6 MB)

The second recording here spotlights Edna Phillips (1907-2003), harpist of the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1930 to 1946, and the first female member of the orchestra.  She commissioned a number of important works for the harp, the best-known of which is Alberto Ginastera's Concerto.  Paul White (1895-1973) wrote this gem of a miniature harp concerto, based on sea shanties, for her in 1942.  It can be played either with string orchestra or solo strings, as here:

Paul White: Sea Chanty, for harp and strings
Edna Phillips, harp, with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra
under the direction of Eugene Ormandy
Recorded October 24, 1945
Columbia Masterworks set MX-259, two 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC file, 38.96 MB)
Link (MP3 file, 22.12 MB)

Cover design by Alex Steinweiss

My thanks again to Ken Halperin of Collecting Record Covers for these two sets.


  1. Thanks for the Ormandy, Bryan - can't wait to hear the Sea Chanty.

  2. Bryan, thank you for posting these Ormandy / Philadelphia 78s. They have all been very enjoyable.

  3. I second David's comments. Many thanks, Bryan.

  4. The Sea Chanty is not only the finest record of Edna Phillips's artistry, it also records her creativity in writing the cadenzas so well.