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.
Eugene Ormandy (November 18, 1899 – March 12, 1985) was a Hungarian-born conductor and violinist who became internationally famous as the music director and conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra. The maestro's 44-year-long association with the Philadelphia is one of the longest enjoyed by any conductor with a single orchestra. Under his baton, the Philadelphia had three gold records and won two Grammy Awards.
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…