A Centennial Celebration
Curated by Marjorie
The Recorded Legacy
The Philadelphia Orchestra made its first recording with Leopold Stokowski in 1917 for the Victor Talking Machine Company, but it was not until the 1940s, with Ormandy on the podium, that revenue from the medium supplied a major portion of the Orchestra's income. Between 1944 and 1968 Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra served as the foundation of Columbia Records' orchestral catalog, producing more than three hundred different recordings and establishing the Orchestra's long-standing international reputation. Ormandy enjoyed recording, and as Herbert Kupferberg remarked in Those Fabulous Philadelphians, his "versatility and adaptability, along with his ability to work at high speed with no impairment of his musicianship, combined to produce recordings unmatched by any other conductor in their range and variety."
A move to the RCA label in 1968 did not diminish the pace with which Ormandy and the Orchestra recorded. Instead, it offered the opportunity to work with those soloists who were exclusive RCA artists--including Van Cliburn and Artur Rubinstein. His first release with RCA was Tchaikovsky's Symphony no. 6. Ormandy chose this piece for "sentimental reasons," as it was the first work that he recorded with the Philadelphia Orchestra as co-conductor in 1936 [Biddulph WHL 046]. The late 1970s saw a move to the Angel label, and in 1979 brought Ormandy--at the age of 80--the last of his numerous Grammy nominations for his recording of Jean Sibelius' Kalevala.
Columbia Records, recorded 1965
RCA Records, recorded 1969
Last update: Thursday, 16-Jun-2011 13:59:42 EDT