Eugene Ormandy (1899-1985) conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra (he was its music director for four decades) in Ralph Vaughan Williams’s wonderful if poignant Third Symphony (1922), which has been described as a “requiem” for World War One – a very sympathetic centenary performance (in decent sound) given on 12 October 1972, the composer having been born on that date in 1872. Benita Valente is the off-stage soprano in the Finale.
Thanks to Leonard Slatkin for finding this rarity and sending the link through.
Wow. What a wonderful surprise. Can this be issued commercially I wonder?
I think I have the Tallis Fantasia under Ormandy but absolutely nothing else. This must be a major extension to his repertoire as it does not feature in the substantial Phili box set of performances that are essential listening .
This has just made my weekend come alive.
Thank you Colin.
Another non-UK conductor and/or orchestra to swell the invaluable RVW symphonic archive of recordings containing the likes of Berglund, Bernstein, Haitink, Mitropolous, Munch, Previn, Rozhdestvensky, Slatkin and Stokowski! Whoever said that this music was unexportable? One could argue, I suppose, that the full-fat Philadelphia sound misses some of the inwardness, the mystery of this miraculous, visionary score, but Ormandy clearly loves the piece. Bless him. And bravo to the audience, who listen to the closing pages with nary a cough or splutter. Thanks to Leonard Slatkin for unearthing this for us. Colin, I love the appropriate photo of Ormandy you’ve chosen. It could even be this symphony he’s conducting to judge by his ‘sent’ expression! Now…has anyone ever come across a third Previn recording of Symphony 5? No, not the famous RCA/LSO issue, nor the Telarc/RPO account, but an EMI CD with, I think, the USA-based Orchestra of St Luke’s. I bought it quite a few years back while working in the States, but it got broken on the journey back to the UK. I’d love to know how to get another copy (can’t find it online).
Andrew is referring to this…
A beautiful performance and the visuals are perfect. Thank you Leonard, Colin, and Richard for passing it on.
Looks not unlike John Georgiadis, leader of the LSO, with which Ormandy recorded Dvorak ‘New World’ for CBS.
I have the Curtis VW5 if anyone wants to copy it. I don’t know how being very low tech.
……e magica è la musica di R.V.W.
One thing about VW’s Pastoral has always bugged me a bit – the score says ‘for soprano (or tenor)’ – as the work is now pretty widely taken to be a requiem for World War I (in which RVW served in the Army from December 1914 to July 1919), I have never heard the wordless vocalise sung by a man – has anyone? It seems the high male voice might well be more appropriate in some ways. Has anyone ever used a tenor? A ‘first recording’ with a male soloist’ might well be revelatory in some ways.
Yes Bob, at the proms a few years ago, Andrew Davis & BBCSO, but can’t recall the tenor’s name. Sir Andrew’s Teldec recording has a soprano (Patricia Rozario). …Here you go Bob, Paul Agnew, https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/ecvzc8. Blimey, 1998!