Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Peer Gynt and L'Arlesienne Suites (Ormandy)

Cover photo by Adrian Siegal
Another one by Ormandy and his "Fabulous Philadelphians" is the offering this week, and it doesn't feature offbeat repertoire or even anything particularly exciting, perhaps - just enjoyable music superbly played. Except for the first Peer Gynt Suite, which he had recorded in 1947, these recordings represent Ormandy's first of these works, which make an odd but satisfying coupling:

Grieg: Peer Gynt Suites Nos. 1 and 2
Bizet: L'Arlesienne Suites Nos. 1 and 2
Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy
Recorded May 14, 1955
Columbia ML-5035, one LP record
Link (FLAC files, 144.59 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 96.47 MB)

On a personal note, this was my introduction to Bizet's L'Arlesienne music; when I was 11, I obtained the EP version of this recording of Suite No. 1, which, incidentally, had the same cover photo. I haven't had that 45 for at least thirty years, but I remember that the turnover occurred in the middle of the Minuetto - even though neither the cover nor labels for A-2038 bothered to identify the movements!

This was another of Columbia's 1950s LPs to be reissued with a different cover; around 1958-59 this nature scene replaced Ormandy's visage above (photo borrowed from


  1. Purchased this one in the 1950s and still have the original LP--but rather worn from heavy use. Like you, my introduction to these pieces. Looking forward to hearing your transfer.
    Ray Pratt, Bozeman, Montana.

  2. thanks so much Bryan, these late mono-period Ormandy's are really interesting to explore. Do you have the Ilya Mourametz? the expanded Albeniz Iberia?

  3. I totally agree with Rootie: I like very much listening to Ormandy's recordings but the mono ones have sthg special , such as a fantastic Dvorak 9.

  4. Thanks so much for this, Bryan. You did a great job, so much so that now I won't have to transfer my copy. I was wondering if you had Ormandy's album ML 4308, a coupling of Ravel and Kodaly - it has one of the Steinweiss covers. I used to have a copy and would love to hear it again. Thanks!

  5. Correction: The recording mentioned above is ML 4306.

  6. Speaking of Ormandy of this vintage, how about the Saint-Saens Symphony 3 by Ormandy and Biggs. I always thought the monaural LP sounded better than the later stereo. What do you think?
    Ray Pratt
    Bozeman, MT