120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

maestrob
Posts: 11235
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by maestrob » Tue May 18, 2021 9:37 am

slofstra wrote:
Mon May 17, 2021 6:35 pm
The Ormandy box here is now over $450. CDN, almost double my purchase price. This won't mean much if I never get it. Shipping date is mid-June.
That set must have blown out the doors everywhere. Amazon USA is also taking orders for delivery after June 11 as well, but at a far more reasonable $260.

Sony must be raking it in.

It's really odd, because Ormandy was disrespected quite a bit when he was active, precisely for being so prolific, something that we now admire him for. Growing up in the very near suburbs of Philadelphia (My hometown was just 13 miles west of Center City.), Ormandy was sniffed at for making "pops" albums that sold just as well as Arthur Fiedler's, who was considered the king of that sort of repertoire. I never agreed with that, especially as Ormandy produced thrilling records of XXth century works by his contemporaries, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Bartok, and many American composers as well. His recordings of Tchaikovsky, Brahms and various French composers made during the 1950's were legendary as well.

Sony has done a magnificent job at restoring the original master tapes for this collection, and I am extremely proud and happy to own it, as I am the sets with Bernstein, Szell, Heifetz, etc. The recording industry in America & Europe really hit the mark post WWII, and with the introduction of full range equipment to recording studios west of the Iron Curtain beginning in 1954. Many, many fine performances have been preserved for posterity that should be now continually available to the public.

jserraglio
Posts: 7916
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 7:06 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by jserraglio » Wed May 19, 2021 6:55 am

A 1.5 hr. long review of the Ormandy Legacy box by an enthusiastic David Hurwitz. I always thought of Ormandy as a great conductor underrated by many echt-musical snobs, and own hundreds of his recordings on vinyl and CD.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOsUsYk0le4


maestrob
Posts: 11235
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by maestrob » Wed May 19, 2021 7:31 am

Thanks, Joe. I predict that Sony will sell out the second batch of this set rather quickly. It would be great for collectors of they would keep it in print for longer than the Szell box, which disappeared in a flash and is now selling for $1800!

slofstra
Posts: 9220
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 2:23 pm
Location: Waterloo, ON, Canada
Contact:

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by slofstra » Wed May 19, 2021 9:48 am

maestrob wrote:
Tue May 18, 2021 9:37 am
slofstra wrote:
Mon May 17, 2021 6:35 pm
The Ormandy box here is now over $450. CDN, almost double my purchase price. This won't mean much if I never get it. Shipping date is mid-June.
That set must have blown out the doors everywhere. Amazon USA is also taking orders for delivery after June 11 as well, but at a far more reasonable $260.

Sony must be raking it in.

It's really odd, because Ormandy was disrespected quite a bit when he was active, precisely for being so prolific, something that we now admire him for. Growing up in the very near suburbs of Philadelphia (My hometown was just 13 miles west of Center City.), Ormandy was sniffed at for making "pops" albums that sold just as well as Arthur Fiedler's, who was considered the king of that sort of repertoire. I never agreed with that, especially as Ormandy produced thrilling records of XXth century works by his contemporaries, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Bartok, and many American composers as well. His recordings of Tchaikovsky, Brahms and various French composers made during the 1950's were legendary as well.

Sony has done a magnificent job at restoring the original master tapes for this collection, and I am extremely proud and happy to own it, as I am the sets with Bernstein, Szell, Heifetz, etc. The recording industry in America & Europe really hit the mark post WWII, and with the introduction of full range equipment to recording studios west of the Iron Curtain beginning in 1954. Many, many fine performances have been preserved for posterity that should be now continually available to the public.
I don't want to over-generalize, but I find much of the 70s era recording quality lacking compared to what came from Decca/Abbey Road, RCA, Philips and Mercury studios and labels.
My working theory is that the recording engineers became a bit sloppy on basic acoustics and microphone placement, thinking that a 16 track tape with a board would take care of everything. This 'theory' is not without evidence.
How would you evaluate the sound quality of this set in terms of imaging and frequency range? Meant as a general question to all readers. Of course, Brian, in a way you answered this already with your comments on restoration, but I suspect they had excellent source material to work with.

maestrob
Posts: 11235
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by maestrob » Wed May 19, 2021 10:25 am

I don't want to over-generalize, but I find much of the 70s era recording quality lacking compared to what came from Decca/Abbey Road, RCA, Philips and Mercury studios and labels.
Henry, I generally agree with you here, but there are some exceptions, as with all generalizations. It's worth noting also that Dolby A was introduced to studios as early as 1969, when Vanguard recorded Stokowski leading Stravinsky's "L'Histoire du Soldat" in a double album with both English and French narrations by Martial Singher and Madeleine Milhaud. (Singher's son, Michel, became a conductor and was a judge in my competition at one point.) Also during the 1970's, Vox made a series of wonderful recordings with Skrowaczewski in Minnesota (Ravel, Stravinsky & Bartok come immediately to mind), many of which were issued briefly on DBX-encoded vinyl that sounded absolutely stunning on my system.

But you're quite right, as these were the exceptions. DGG's set of Bruckner Symphonies with von Karajan was grossly over-engineered, as just one example, and has never been successfully restored to decent sound TMK on CD.

My take on Columbia's engineering during that era is much more positive, however. Didn't buy many of RCA's Dynagroove LPs though, as they were pressed on very poor vinyl due to the petroleum shortage we went through in those years. Previn's set of Vaughan-Williams Symphonies has some annoying distortion even when restored on CD, though, I must say, yet Ozawa's early recordings in Chicago sound really fine, so take your pick! A mixed bag, then. EMI/Angel, although pressed here in the USA, sound much better on CD than RCA generally did, IMHO. I guess it depends on where the recording originally happened. Decca was consistently much better.

I really think it's so sad that Columbia & RCA are now making so few recordings of our famous orchestras, and that we must rely upon DGG to make recordings in Philadelphia. Haven't heard from Cleveland in years, and New York has issued only sporadic releases that are mostly not worth owning, IMHO. The MET at least is issuing DVDs, but again, under DGG's label. WHY?? Boston, also now on DGG. Our second-tier (but quite competitive) orchestras in Pittsburg, Detroit, Nashville & Atlanta record regularly now with stunning results, but with smaller or budget labels, not Columbia or RCA (Sony)! Breaks my heart.

Meanwhile, what's going on with Montreal, now that Dutoit is no longer there? No more regular Decca releases for them either. Toronto has an excellent orchestra and opera company, but has only sporadic releases. Don't understand why.

Oh well, I've gone on long enough. :wink:

jserraglio
Posts: 7916
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 7:06 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by jserraglio » Fri May 21, 2021 11:49 am

Gramophone Review
https://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/eug ... bia-legacy

Eugene Ormandy - The Columbia Legacy

Author: Richard Osborne

This collection is certainly a colourful affair, an old curiosity shop of a box among whose 120 CDs (selling for about £287) are 179 recordings new to CD and no fewer than 139 receiving their first authorised release. For enquiring minds tired of receiving third-hand opinions about Ormandy’s conducting, there will be much to explore.

The set’s subtitle is ‘The Columbia Legacy’, though a paper strip pasted to the box’s protective shrink-wrap reveals that these are mono recordings from the years 1944-58. Nothing from the final (stereo) decade of the orchestra’s 24-year relationship with Columbia.

A historic label dating back to Edison’s time, Columbia had been subsumed by media conglomerate CBS in 1938. Looking to be top dog there, rather than a bit player with RCA Victor, the Philadelphians had jumped ship in 1944. As we can hear, the relationship began well, thanks in part to Columbia’s securing the services of the vastly experienced former head of A&R at Victor, Charles O’Connell, a man who’d worked closely with Stokowski, Toscanini (whom he much disliked) and a 35-year-old Hungarian-born firebrand in Minneapolis, Eugene Ormandy.

After O’Connell’s departure in 1948, things began to go downhill. Lack of knowhow in dealing with Philadelphia’s acoustically challenging halls, time-pressured recording sessions and slapdash editing appear to have been one set of problems. Another was the kind of repertory CBS thought it commercially prudent to record in Philadelphia: popular classics and operatic arrangements, alongside the occasional gesture towards 20th-century American music (brilliantly articulated performances of William Schuman, less sympathetic ones of the more classically inclined Walter Piston) and a certain amount of more locally directed material.

Blessed with a young orchestra and a revered music academy, the Curtis Institute, Philadelphia offered rich pickings, not least from among the many world-renowned musicians who taught at the Institute: the likes of Rudolf Serkin and Gregor Piatigorsky, heard here in a superb, and at the time unpublished, account of Dvořák’s Cello Concerto. There were also local composers such as Richard Yardumian and orchestra manager Harl McDonald to whom Ormandy was understandably loyal.

The collection also reminds us of some exceptional though nowadays little-remembered Philadelphians. Soprano Margaret Harshaw, for instance, Helen Traubel’s successor at the Met and a notably ‘human’ Brünnhilde under Rudolf Kempe at Covent Garden in 1954, heard here in the Immolation Scene from Wagner’s Götterdämmerung.

Sony’s introductory essay, headlined ‘Creator and Creation’, perpetuates the myth (encouraged by Ormandy) that it was he who created the modern Philadelphia Orchestra. In reality, it was an orchestra he inherited and largely let be. No need, in conservative Philadelphia, to remake and renew, as Szell would do in Cleveland or Karajan in Berlin.

The orchestra contained some wonderful players. One thinks of the long-serving Principal Flute William Kincaid, or cellist Lorne Munroe, whose playing of the death of Quixote in a 1955 recording of the Richard Strauss tone poem had me hearing the epilogue twice over. Equally there are others, such as oboist Marcel Tabuteau, who joined in 1915 and left in 1954, who might best be described as an acquired taste. Not unlike those Philadelphia horns and what, on record at least, is their strangely occluded sound.

The playing, at best, can be spectacular. The 1953 recording of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is the perfect catwalk for such gifted instrumentalists, as is Stravinsky’s Rite, with Ormandy’s 1955 recording every bit as thrilling as the Stokowski that preceded it (HMV, 4/31) or the Muti that followed (HMV, 11/79).

It’s in the symphonic repertoire that things become problematic. Unlike fellow émigrés from Austria-Hungary – Reiner, Szell, Antal Dorati – Ormandy had no first-hand concert or opera-house training. A gifted violinist with a fine ear and a photographic memory, he’d found himself stranded in New York in the winter of 1921-22 during an ill-advised solo tour. He quickly landed a position in the 80-piece orchestra of a Manhattan movie palace, from where he would be catapulted into the orchestral big time on the hunch of America’s musical kingmaker, Arthur Judson.

It’s interesting to recall that Ormandy’s first appearance in Gramophone has him conducting the Eugene Ormandy Orchestra in waltzes from the films Married in Hollywood and The Gold-diggers of Broadway (Parlophone, 1/30 – nla). This, barely a year before Judson invited him to stand in for Toscanini in a series of concerts in Philadelphia. (‘Gene, there’s a vacancy in Philadelphia but it could be suicide.’)

As Ormandy’s 1944-45 recordings of Beethoven’s Seventh, Dvořák’s New World and the César Franck amply demonstrate, he was a skilled assimilator, well able to direct such pieces with vitality and rigour after the manner of his god Toscanini. He’s also difficult to pigeonhole. It’s possible to despair of his ineffectual and over-cosseted Brahms-conducting, only to be struck dumb by a 1950 recording of the First Symphony whose very directness puts to shame the doubts and insecurities of many a more admired Brahmsian.

He was, nonetheless, an unpredictable musician. Reviewing a Mozart concerto recording made with Rudolf Serkin in 1951, Andrew Porter complained of poor accompaniment: rhythm not firmly set, the phrasing of second subjects sentimentalised, a tendency to push on in orchestral ritornellos and an absurdly fast tempo in the finale. Not that this was always the case. His 1954 recording of Beethoven’s early B flat Concerto with Serkin is a minor classic. Such inconsistencies baffle.

It’s fascinating to hear his account of Chopin’s E minor Concerto with fellow Hungarian György Sándor. Their 1946 world-premiere recording of Bartók’s Third Piano Concerto is nothing special, the music as yet poorly assimilated by both men; but the Chopin is superb, not least in the way Ormandy shapes Chopin’s free recitatives in a way that both accommodates his soloist and keeps a firm grip on the moments of harmonic change.

That’s real conducting. Yet at other times he can be both careless and pointlessly interventionist. There’s a 1953 recording of the Romeo and Juliet Overture in which he wilfully alters Tchaikovsky’s phrasing of the muted strings’ response to the first statement of the love theme, yet doesn’t notice – or isn’t bothered by the fact – that at the recapitulation his wind section phrases the music exactly as Tchaikovsky suggests.

It’s a dreadful performance, with Tchaikovsky’s relatively discreet use of cymbal clashes in the fight scene ruthlessly overridden. Such rewritings were not uncommon at the time. The fact remains, though: Ormandy was a musician of strong passions and uncertain taste. His Stokowski-style Bach orchestral transcriptions have to be heard to believed. ‘For those who really know and love Bach, the spectacle is one to make angels weep’, wrote the normally reserved Alec Robertson in these columns in May 1949.

Nor was AR much enamoured of a batch of Strauss recordings – Johann and Richard – that was also under review. Ormandy could be terrific in the kind of light music he had come to know and play in New York. There’s a superb disc here of music by that great benefactor of American music (and friend of Dvořák) Victor Herbert; but Ormandy’s conducting of the music of the Strauss family tends to be brittle and hard-driven. As for his only complete opera recording, a 1950 English-language version of Die Fledermaus, here the carelessness of the conducting beggars belief.

During his early years with Columbia, Ormandy (or, perhaps, O’Connell) programmed some interesting modern rarities. Debussy’s Rossetti-inspired gem La damoiselle élue, for instance, recorded with soprano Bidù Sayão, who had made her New York debut in this very work under Toscanini in 1936. There was also an ongoing relationship with Soviet Russia. (In 1944 the Philadelphians had sent bows and reeds to their beleaguered colleagues in Leningrad.) Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky is here – crudely done in English but with Jennie Tourel in the great lament – as are Ormandy’s pioneering Western recordings of Prokofiev’s Sixth Symphony and his valedictory Seventh, the latter especially fine.

To be fair to Columbia’s new A&R director, David Oppenheim, he was not alone among international recording executives in the 1950s in shying away from Mahler (whose Second Symphony Ormandy had recorded in Minneapolis in 1935 and whose Tenth Symphony he would later record for Columbia in the Deryck Cooke completion) or from Shostakovich, six of whose symphonies had been given their American premieres by the Philadelphians. The omissions are disappointing, nonetheless.

Rather more baffling is the delay (until 1960) of a recording of Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances, a work that had been written for Ormandy and the orchestra in 1940. Yet time could be found to schedule Honegger’s oratorio Jeanne d’Arc, a gift, it turns out, from CBS executive Goddard Lieberson to his wife Vera Zorina, the German-born ex-wife of George Balanchine and a former member of the Ballets Russes, who is cast (not entirely successfully) in the Ida Rubinstein role of Speaker.

The set has some intriguing fillers, with Sony’s editors giving us a handful of recordings by the orchestra under conductors other than Ormandy: Bruno Walter in Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, Beecham in a highly entertaining rendering of music from Lord Berners’s Diaghilev ballet The Triumph of Neptune.

Slightly more mischievous is the inclusion of some of the original LP couplings made by artistic rivals at Columbia. Take disc 44, where a 1952 recording of Morton Gould’s Fall River Legend by the New York Philharmonic under Dimitri Mitropoulos – a musician Ormandy feared and Oppenheim did his best to ignore – is prefaced by Ormandy and the orchestra having a high old time in the Gottschalk-derived ballet Cakewalk, devised by legendary Philadelphia-born arranger Hershy Kay.

A flawed legacy, then, but nothing if not colourful.

David Hurwitz
Music Chat: The Ormandy Columbia Legacy--How Not To Review It

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tAb0B1_NIA

maestrob
Posts: 11235
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by maestrob » Fri May 21, 2021 12:53 pm

That's really an excellent perspective on Ormandy's legacy, Joe. I'm not quite sure why DH trashes it. Perhaps professional jealousy? :mrgreen:

My own experience is roughly parallel. Frankly, Ormandy's consistently fine performances that I attended at the Academy of Music during the 1960's & early 1970's were only occasionally marred by what I remember as weak readings of Beethoven symphonies (not the Ninth, though, which was superb), probably due to Ormandy's concentration of rehearsal time on the XXth century works also on the program. By then he was able to use a baton due to an operation on his right hand, which helped cut down on rehearsal time. Perhaps that made him a bit overconfident.

Be that as it may, his recording of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with newcomer Isaac Stern has always seemed quite lackadasical to me as compared with the electrifying Heifetz/Reiner from the same era. Who knows how that happened: perhaps Stern wanted to be the anti-Heifetz?

Nevertheless, Ormandy's skill at bringing out an infinite palette of colors from the Philadelphia strings, not to mention the overall power and presence of that great orchestra when they played full out, has more than earned him a place among the first rank of XXth century maestros. Osbourne is quite dismissive here, and that's not fair at all. That he occasionally edited scores in subtle ways (Stravinsky's Rite was completely rebarred to make his conducting easier, Shostakovich V has a subtle alteration in the third movement that takes notes away from the strings and gives them to the harp, the cuts in Rachmaninov II that he worked on with the composer but restored later in his final recording for RCA etc.) are quite understandable when taken in context of that era.

All that said, I do wish DH would learn how to pronounce CasAdesus! :wink:

barney
Posts: 5710
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by barney » Fri May 21, 2021 7:09 pm

DGG's set of Bruckner Symphonies with von Karajan was grossly over-engineered, as just one example, and has never been successfully restored to decent sound TMK on CD.
That's a very interesting remark, Brian. Can you expound a little? What happens when you over-engineer?

maestrob
Posts: 11235
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by maestrob » Sun May 23, 2021 10:12 am

Hello barney. My computer has died so I'm using teresa's cellphone so this is awkward for me.

By overengineering I mean that they used far too many microphones and relied on too much mixing to balance the final result. There's a total lack of a natural sound field that drives me mad when listening through headphones. Everything sounds horribly compressed.

barney
Posts: 5710
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by barney » Sun May 23, 2021 6:42 pm

Got it, thanks. Yes, I'm familiar with that.
Good luck with the computer. We are so reliant on them now.

slofstra
Posts: 9220
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 2:23 pm
Location: Waterloo, ON, Canada
Contact:

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by slofstra » Tue May 25, 2021 12:14 pm

maestrob wrote:
Sun May 23, 2021 10:12 am
Hello barney. My computer has died so I'm using teresa's cellphone so this is awkward for me.

By overengineering I mean that they used far too many microphones and relied on too much mixing to balance the final result. There's a total lack of a natural sound field that drives me mad when listening through headphones. Everything sounds horribly compressed.
You get pizzicato that sounds like pebbles dropping into a pond. On one recording with a close-miked oboe the key clicks are almost as audible as the notes.
The way it's done today is to hang mikes at various points in the acoustic space, high and low, and then mix to create an image similar to what one would hear in the centre of the concert hall.
Before the advent of the 16 track tape machine, engineers worked with just a few mikes and paid attention to hall and studio acoustics. The mikes and techniques of the 1930s and 1940s had poor mono fidelity, but by the mid 1950s the frequency response, signal to noise ratio and other elements were quite good. In retrospect, the 50s and 60s represent a 'sweet spot' in musical fidelity, in my opinion.
But as Brian indicates I am generalizing. But I know that Decca, Philips, Mercury and someother labels' recordings from that time are very pleasing to listen to.

maestrob
Posts: 11235
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by maestrob » Tue May 25, 2021 12:51 pm

Again there are exceptions to this. Decca's Phase 4 issues are quite awful even when Stokowski was such an enthusiastic participant. His are better than the grossly mis-engineered Leinsdorf Maher I or Bernard Hermann's poorly conducted Planets, but still...

As for Columbia, Ormandy's and Szell's records from the 1960s were consistently good, but when Ormandy switched to RCA in 1969, their team tried to switch to recording in the Academy of Music and failed miserably to capture the Philadelphia sound there, resulting in much egg on their faces when they had to acknowledge defeat and return to the very same location that Columbia had used so successfully.

Still, I agree with your thesis overall, Henry. Phillips did produce some very fine recordings during the 1970s by mostly avoiding DGG's and Decca's experimental multi miking techniques.

I do hope that Sony concentrates on a stereo Ormandy box of his Columbia recordings next. One very important reissue would be the first release on CD of his Martyre de St. Sébastien, the first commercial stereo recording of Debussy's masterwork, although Ingelbrecht's final concert performance was recorded in stereo and released on CD at the dawn of the CD era.

slofstra
Posts: 9220
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 2:23 pm
Location: Waterloo, ON, Canada
Contact:

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by slofstra » Tue May 25, 2021 5:00 pm

The wonderful part is that there are so many musicians of that era whose recordings you can purchase with complete confidence of not only their artistry, but decent sound fidelity.

maestrob
Posts: 11235
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by maestrob » Tue May 25, 2021 9:00 pm

slofstra wrote:
Tue May 25, 2021 5:00 pm
The wonderful part is that there are so many musicians of that era whose recordings you can purchase with complete confidence of not only their artistry, but decent sound fidelity.
Agreed.

From 1954 (and sometimes before if you are careful) forward most recordings fairly represent the best that music could offer.

Ormandy's Rachmaninoff II from 1951 is certainly equal to the stereo version he made for Columbia more than a decade later, as is the Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings.

For that matter, Reiner's Strauss (i. e. Tod und Verklarung) from 1954 in stereo still makes a fine demonstration disc. Hardy anyone can guess its age these days.

jserraglio
Posts: 7916
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 7:06 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by jserraglio » Thu May 27, 2021 9:05 am

maestrob wrote:
Tue May 25, 2021 12:51 pm
One very important reissue would be the first release on CD of his Martyre de St. Sébastien, the first commercial stereo recording of Debussy's masterwork,
A good-sounding vinyl rip of Columbia’s mono mastering of that recording can be streamed (or downloaded in 24-bit flac) here https://archive.org/details/lp_debussy- ... ilies).mp3. Full artwork provided.

Image

maestrob
Posts: 11235
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by maestrob » Thu May 27, 2021 12:57 pm

Yes, that's the one! Thanks for letting me know.

Ormandy was a great interpreter of obscure music. He always seemed to be able to find the perfect tempo and balance to make it work effortlessly and without fuss.

Of course I still have the stereo LPs and even a reel to reel Dolbyized transfer I made 45 years ago, neither of which I can play now.

I'm willing to bet that after the success of Sony 's mono box they' ll come to their senses and finally put together a stereo edition. Some really fine recordings there, including Hindemith, Respighi's Church Windows and many others that need to see the light of day. At least they could offer his Columbia recordings, although his RCA Planets and the uncut Rachmaninoff II, along with Shostakovich XIII, XIV and XV, which were never issued on CD in the United States would be welcome.

So many treasures yet to be revealed.

jserraglio
Posts: 7916
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 7:06 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by jserraglio » Thu May 27, 2021 1:08 pm

This is one major Ormandy recording that has eluded me, though it sounds great on archive.org, even in mono.

I like his Deutsches Requiem and Johannes-Passion stereo masterings.

jserraglio
Posts: 7916
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 7:06 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by jserraglio » Tue Jun 01, 2021 2:29 am

This note from a sharp-eared listener on RMCR:
On CD 103, Ravel's Tzigane ends 4 seconds before it is supposed to.The same disc was in last year's Stern box (CD 21) where it played OK.

maestrob
Posts: 11235
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by maestrob » Tue Jun 01, 2021 9:56 am

jserraglio wrote:
Tue Jun 01, 2021 2:29 am
This note from a sharp-eared listener on RMCR:
On CD 103, Ravel's Tzigane ends 4 seconds before it is supposed to.The same disc was in last year's Stern box (CD 21) where it played OK.
Yikes! I'll have to check that out today.

Another email to write to customer service. :roll:

jserraglio
Posts: 7916
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 7:06 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by jserraglio » Thu Jun 03, 2021 1:18 pm

Sony is all over this one. You can write to Sony at this address to get a replacement: ines.kindlmann@sonymusic.com.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6m_VnxVgYwY&t=200s

maestrob
Posts: 11235
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by maestrob » Thu Jun 03, 2021 2:21 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Thu Jun 03, 2021 1:18 pm
Sony is all over this one. You can write to Sony at this address to get a replacement: ines.kindlmann@sonymusic.com.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6m_VnxVgYwY&t=200s
Thanks, Joe! Research greatly appreciated. 8) :wink:

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 19026
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by Lance » Thu Jun 03, 2021 11:20 pm

Yes, my copy is defective, too, with an incomplete Ravel Tzigane. I wonder if there are any other problems with this set.

Speaking of replacement discs, I have not had a replacement from Decca on the Arthur Grumiaux set. Has anyone heard from Decca about this yet?

I suppose, with these mega-boxed sets, that discovering any faults would be a problem inasmuch as I would think no employee is going to sit around and listen to a set like Ormandy's 120 "Legacy" disc-by-disc. The problems will unfold as people discover them.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

barney
Posts: 5710
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by barney » Fri Jun 04, 2021 8:28 am

Lance wrote:
Thu Jun 03, 2021 11:20 pm
Yes, my copy is defective, too, with an incomplete Ravel Tzigane. I wonder if there are any other problems with this set.

Speaking of replacement discs, I have not had a replacement from Decca on the Arthur Grumiaux set. Has anyone heard from Decca about this yet?

I suppose, with these mega-boxed sets, that discovering any faults would be a problem inasmuch as I would think no employee is going to sit around and listen to a set like Ormandy's 120 "Legacy" disc-by-disc. The problems will unfold as people discover them.
I wrote to Decca more than two weeks ago. Silence. I wrote again today. Still silence in another two weeks? I will mention their slovenliness in my next review.

maestrob
Posts: 11235
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by maestrob » Fri Jun 04, 2021 12:58 pm

barney wrote:
Fri Jun 04, 2021 8:28 am
Lance wrote:
Thu Jun 03, 2021 11:20 pm
Yes, my copy is defective, too, with an incomplete Ravel Tzigane. I wonder if there are any other problems with this set.

Speaking of replacement discs, I have not had a replacement from Decca on the Arthur Grumiaux set. Has anyone heard from Decca about this yet?

I suppose, with these mega-boxed sets, that discovering any faults would be a problem inasmuch as I would think no employee is going to sit around and listen to a set like Ormandy's 120 "Legacy" disc-by-disc. The problems will unfold as people discover them.
I wrote to Decca more than two weeks ago. Silence. I wrote again today. Still silence in another two weeks? I will mention their slovenliness in my next review.
Barney, I got an email back from them roughly in two days time. Very surprised that you haven't gotten any answer at all!

premont
Posts: 676
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2005 2:15 pm

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by premont » Fri Jun 04, 2021 1:51 pm

As a child, I heard Ormandy conduct a concert with light music at Tivoli in Copenhagen. I barely remember the repertoire, but perhaps faintly remember some Strauss waltzes and Ravel's Bolero. But what I especially remember is that throughout the concert he acted as a very human person with a kind smile on his face, maybe in contrast to the official picture of him, but it may have been the repertoire, which made him more relaxed..

Wallingford
Posts: 4661
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:31 pm
Location: Brush, Colorado

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by Wallingford » Mon Jun 07, 2021 11:30 am

Here's a Gramophone review of the set which confirms the Brit critics' traditionally snotnosed approach to Ormandy:
https://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/eug ... bia-legacy
Good music is that which falls upon the ear with ease, and quits the memory with difficulty.
--Sir Thomas Beecham

maestrob
Posts: 11235
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by maestrob » Mon Jun 07, 2021 12:21 pm

A couple of odd assertions in that stood out for me. Why, for instance, would Ormandy "fear" Mitropoulos? Or, for that matter, when Ormandy re-wrote the phrasing for the violins in Romeo & Juliet, would any reviewer assume that he "didn't notice" that the repeat was different? Of COURSE it's different. I'm quite sure Ormandy, a violinist himself, redid that section PRECISELY so that the repeat would be different, excellent musician that he was! :roll:
Yet at other times he can be both careless and pointlessly interventionist. There’s a 1953 recording of the Romeo and Juliet Overture in which he willfully alters Tchaikovsky’s phrasing of the muted strings’ response to the first statement of the love theme, yet doesn’t notice – or isn’t bothered by the fact – that at the recapitulation his wind section phrases the music exactly as Tchaikovsky suggests.


Honestly, the tone of this review really sets my teeth on edge. Since he's not British, Ormandy must have been not quite up to snuff.

Balderdash!

Nobody's perfect, and with the volume of the Philadelphians' output, there were some recordings during Ormandy's tenure that I shelved in favor of others whose style appealed to me more: many still do. I just squirm at those whose noses turn up at such a successful career (No British musician has had a comparable tenure with a major orchestra to this day.).
Slightly more mischievous is the inclusion of some of the original LP couplings made by artistic rivals at Columbia. Take disc 44, where a 1952 recording of Morton Gould’s Fall River Legend by the New York Philharmonic under Dimitri Mitropoulos – a musician Ormandy feared and Oppenheim did his best to ignore – is prefaced by Ormandy and the orchestra having a high old time in the Gottschalk-derived ballet Cakewalk, devised by legendary Philadelphia-born arranger Hershy Kay.

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 19026
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by Lance » Mon Jun 07, 2021 2:10 pm

I heard yesterday from SONY. They are sending a replacement disc No. 103 for the faulty disc. It will.be coming from Germany.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

slofstra
Posts: 9220
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 2:23 pm
Location: Waterloo, ON, Canada
Contact:

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by slofstra » Mon Jun 07, 2021 2:43 pm

maestrob wrote:
Fri Jun 04, 2021 12:58 pm
barney wrote:
Fri Jun 04, 2021 8:28 am
Lance wrote:
Thu Jun 03, 2021 11:20 pm
Yes, my copy is defective, too, with an incomplete Ravel Tzigane. I wonder if there are any other problems with this set.

Speaking of replacement discs, I have not had a replacement from Decca on the Arthur Grumiaux set. Has anyone heard from Decca about this yet?

I suppose, with these mega-boxed sets, that discovering any faults would be a problem inasmuch as I would think no employee is going to sit around and listen to a set like Ormandy's 120 "Legacy" disc-by-disc. The problems will unfold as people discover them.
I wrote to Decca more than two weeks ago. Silence. I wrote again today. Still silence in another two weeks? I will mention their slovenliness in my next review.
Barney, I got an email back from them roughly in two days time. Very surprised that you haven't gotten any answer at all!
But you didn't mention their slovenliness! :lol: :lol: :lol:

jserraglio
Posts: 7916
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 7:06 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by jserraglio » Mon Jun 07, 2021 3:10 pm

Wallingford wrote:
Mon Jun 07, 2021 11:30 am
Here's a Gramophone review of the set which confirms the Brit critics' traditionally snotnosed approach to Ormandy: https://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/eug ... bia-legacy
And David Hurwitz had a few bones to pick with that Gramophone review.

David Hurwitz
Music Chat: The Ormandy Columbia Legacy--How Not To Review It
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tAb0B1_NIA


barney
Posts: 5710
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by barney » Mon Jun 07, 2021 5:56 pm

slofstra wrote:
Mon Jun 07, 2021 2:43 pm
maestrob wrote:
Fri Jun 04, 2021 12:58 pm
barney wrote:
Fri Jun 04, 2021 8:28 am
Lance wrote:
Thu Jun 03, 2021 11:20 pm
Yes, my copy is defective, too, with an incomplete Ravel Tzigane. I wonder if there are any other problems with this set.

Speaking of replacement discs, I have not had a replacement from Decca on the Arthur Grumiaux set. Has anyone heard from Decca about this yet?

I suppose, with these mega-boxed sets, that discovering any faults would be a problem inasmuch as I would think no employee is going to sit around and listen to a set like Ormandy's 120 "Legacy" disc-by-disc. The problems will unfold as people discover them.
I wrote to Decca more than two weeks ago. Silence. I wrote again today. Still silence in another two weeks? I will mention their slovenliness in my next review.
Barney, I got an email back from them roughly in two days time. Very surprised that you haven't gotten any answer at all!
But you didn't mention their slovenliness! :lol: :lol: :lol:
I haven't yet. But it's coming up!

barney
Posts: 5710
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by barney » Mon Jun 07, 2021 6:01 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Mon Jun 07, 2021 3:10 pm
Wallingford wrote:
Mon Jun 07, 2021 11:30 am
Here's a Gramophone review of the set which confirms the Brit critics' traditionally snotnosed approach to Ormandy: https://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/eug ... bia-legacy
And David Hurwitz had a few bones to pick with that Gramophone review.

David Hurwitz
Music Chat: The Ormandy Columbia Legacy--How Not To Review It
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tAb0B1_NIA

It didn't seem snot-nosed to me. It was pretty balanced between admiration and criticism. And he gave reasons for the criticisms. Surely in any legacy box of 120 CDs there are going to be some disappointments.

Wallingford
Posts: 4661
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:31 pm
Location: Brush, Colorado

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by Wallingford » Mon Jun 07, 2021 6:04 pm

maestrob wrote: Why, for instance, would Ormandy "fear" Mitropoulos?
William Trotter, in his Mitropoulos bio Priest of Music, recounts Ormandy, in the mid-40s, stewing over Mitropoulos' brillilant triumph at the Robin Hood Dell, where Mitropoulos both played and conducted Prokofiev's Third Concerto. Ormandy saw him as major competition.
Good music is that which falls upon the ear with ease, and quits the memory with difficulty.
--Sir Thomas Beecham

maestrob
Posts: 11235
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by maestrob » Mon Jun 07, 2021 10:48 pm

Wallingford wrote:
Mon Jun 07, 2021 6:04 pm
maestrob wrote: Why, for instance, would Ormandy "fear" Mitropoulos?
William Trotter, in his Mitropoulos bio Priest of Music, recounts Ormandy, in the mid-40s, stewing over Mitropoulos' brillilant triumph at the Robin Hood Dell, where Mitropoulos both played and conducted Prokofiev's Third Concerto. Ormandy saw him as major competition.
Yes, I've heard that on a cassette sent to me decades ago as a thank you for a contribution. Mitropoulos played quite well on the terribly scratchy acetate transfer (They didn't have the kind of restoration software that is extant today.), but he couldn't control the orchestra from the keyboard, and there were a few embarrassing moments when entrances and tempi didn't quite gel. Ormandy should have played the violin as a soloist in response, but his right hand was not working well then, and he couldn't even hold a baton.

While far from perfect (nobody is), I do think Ormandy was a better conductor overall. Perhaps I'm prejudiced, but there it is. :wink:

jserraglio
Posts: 7916
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 7:06 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: 120-disc Ormandy Columbia Legacy box is in the works

Post by jserraglio » Tue Jun 08, 2021 6:30 am

I am a big fan of Mitropoulos, but how many American conductors recorded any Mahler in the 1930s, let alone the Resurrection Symphony?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqkZ8It2YMI


Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider] and 80 guests