It's not as bad as it might be, but still, except as a memento of the occasion, there really isn't much reason for Eugene Ormandy's 1967 recording of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis to have been reissued. Columbia's stereo sound was distant and a little tubby and Sony's digital remastering is a little closer but still tubby. The singing is okay but nothing special: Arroyo's is probably the best, but Forrester, and especially Siepi, were showing their vocal age by 1967.
There are several reasons why the popularity of Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra has declined so steeply since their glory days in the '50s and '60s. For one thing, Ormandy hung on to his post in Philadelphia a tad too long, and recordings from the later '70s and '80s are for the most part marked by audible fatigue. For another, Columbia and RCA, now Song/BMG, have been reluctant to reissue Ormandy's classic recordings on CD and nearly as reluctant to keep them in print after the first few press runs.
Leopold Anthony Stokowski was a British conductor of Polish heritage. One of the leading conductors of the early and mid-20th Century, he is best known for his long association with the Philadelphia Orchestra and for appearing in the film Fantasia. He was especially noted for his free-hand conducting style that spurned the traditional baton and for obtaining a characteristically sumptuous sound from the orchestras he directed…
David Bowie Narrates Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf is a classical music album containing David Bowie's narration of Sergei Prokofiev's 1936 composition Peter and the Wolf. The music is performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy. The album was released in May 1978 on RCA Records. It reached number 136 on the US Pop Albums chart. Bowie was RCA's third choice to undertake the narration for Peter and the Wolf behind Alec Guinness and Peter Ustinov, who had both turned the album down. Bowie has since said that it was a Christmas present for his son, Duncan Jones, then at 7 years old.
Eugene Ormandy's disc of Nutcracker excerpts, including the entire "suite" plus a good bit of additional music (Act 1's journey through the snow and Waltz of the Snowflakes, along with some more Act 2 dances, including the Final Waltz and Apotheosis) must be one of the biggest selling records of all time… Sounding better than ever, and at a budget price, this disc deserves to sell another few million copies. [11/8/2003] –David Hurwitz
Longtime Philadelphia Orchestra conductor Eugene Ormandy developed what came to be known as the "Philadelphia Sound." (He groused that it should be called the "Ormandy Sound," even though its fundamentals had already been established during Leopold Stokowski's long tenure with the Philadelphia Orchestra.) Largely as an effort to overcome the dry acoustics of the orchestra's home, the Academy of Music, Ormandy emphasized lush string sonorities and, often, legato phrasing and rounded tone. He was lauded even by his own musicians for his ability to conduct everything from memory, even complex contemporary scores. Still, aside from the voluptuous tone, Ormandy's interpretations rarely bore an individual stamp. They were, however, highly polished, intelligently balanced, and well paced, always serving the scores honorably, and often with a dash of controlled excitement.