Monday, March 1, 2010

Ormandy, Minneapolis Symphony, Schumann Symphony No. 4

First, let me say that I think this is a brilliantly successful performance. I love Schumann's symphonies, but since I find most essays of them unsuccessful, I bought this 78rpm set recently more from curiosity than a real expectation of being swept off my feet. I was though. This is a very fine performance, from 1934 -- nicely nuanced and spritely, though in no way lacking necessary heft. Although overall Ormandy has a lighter touch in this work than do Dohnanyi, Paray, or Bernstein (NY) -- who lead other performances that I think succeed nicely in Schumann's symphonies -- I rank this performance among the finest I have heard.

It is always curious to hear Ormandy conduct orchestras other than the Philadelphia Orchestra. The sound here with the Minneapolis is leaner than his later orchestra and probably a better fit for the Schumann, although the maestro was quite capable of making the Philadelphians leaner and meaner when he wanted, their famed sound being much more versatile than the legendary "gorgeous strings" appellation suggests. Still, it would be nice to be able to compare this with a later performance of Ormany, which I cannot seem to find. The Sawallisch recording with Philadelphia seems less than compelling to me.

To fill out a CD the first and wonderful (mono) recording of the Schumann First Symphony by Munch and the Boston Symphony is a very nice fit. That performance is available here at Buster's Big 10-Inch Record. Since that is how I made my own CD, putting the first symphony first, the tracks contained in the links below are numbered 05 through 08.

Link to all files


  1. Thank you for these restauration works.
    Go on, please.

  2. I have just discovered your web site. THANKS for these treasures!!! Looking much forward for other Ormandy, Dorati, Münch........and others !!!!

  3. Ipromesisposi and centuri, thanks so much for your kind comments. There is an Ormandy recording of the Enesco 1st Roumanian Rhapsody on 78, coupled with the second led by Hans Kindler, which I'll be putting up soon. Once an upgraded LP cartridge breaks in, I'll be continuing work on the Haydn Quartets -- Op. 50 is next -- by the Schneider group. Again, thanks for your encouragement.

  4. L.A. ---

    My friend DP just told me about your blog --- what a great batch of stuff so far! It's very encouraging to have yet another person putting up LPs on the 'net --- just a year ago I only knew of one or two sources, but now there are a bunch of us. I even prefer to listen to LP transfers of stuff that's available on CD ... I've never been comfortable with the sound of CDs. I look forward to listening to these (I'm going to have to catch up, having just found you!)

    I have added you to the list on my own blog, of course. Good luck and I will be back with comments as I have a chance to DL and listen.

  5. PS --- it looks like you're going to be doing the Schneider Quartet's Haydn extensively: a project well worth doing (I'm glad you're doing it and not I; I have a lot of the records, but not all of them are in good shape.)

    I see you have comment moderation on, so I will leave you the address of my own blog, where you are now listed:

    Feel free to post this postscript to my previous message if you like --- just wanted to let you know that I had linked to you and that I have abandoned my own Schneider project, glad to take the easy way out and download your transfers!