Eugene Ormandy: The Columbia Legacy / Ormandy, The Philadelphia Orchestra

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Granting a long-held wish of many record collectors, Sony Classical is issuing the complete monaural American Columbia discography of Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra in a vast box set of 120 CDs, all in new remasterings. Almost all of this material will be appearing for the first time on CD on Sony Classical. Indeed, 152 of these recordings have never been released at all on CD before now.

Ormandy took over the Philadelphia’s music directorship from Leopold Stokowski in 1938 and held the position for 42 years. During that time – in which his name and the orchestra’s became inseparable – he cultivated and further developed the voluptuous sound that originated with his predecessor. “Any conductor reflects clearly the instrument he played,” the Budapest-born Ormandy (1899-1985) once said. “My sound is what it is because I was a violinist.” The American composer and critic Virgil Thomson described Ormandy’s “Philadelphia sound” as “pungent and mellow like the smell of fall fruits. No other instrumental assembly has quite the quality of impersonal, almost botanical, beauty that this one possesses; and none of the other conductors who appear regularly before us has quite Eugene Ormandy's way of offering really excellent workmanship without personal insistence.”

In a recent Gramophone Ormandy discographical overview, the writer found his mono Tchaikovsky Fourth [from 1947], among other recordings, “leaner and more incisive than the conductor’s stereo accounts”. He was also referring here to the 1954 version of Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, which the original Gramophone reviewer called “perfectly stunning...Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra create amazingly rich, almost palpable, sonorities”. It is this, an overriding impression of his “Philadelphia Sound”, which many enchanted listeners will take away from this monumental Ormandy tribute.

Product Description:

  • Release Date: April 09, 2021

  • Catalog Number: 19439757482

  • UPC: 194397574821

  • Label: Sony

  • Number of Discs: 120

  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: The Philadelphia Orchestra

  • Performer: Eugene Ormandy