Eugene Ormandy & Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra – The Complete RCA Album Collection


11 CD 

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Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra
Eugene Ormandy (Μαέστρος)


Kodály: Háry János Suite

Zádor: Hungarian Capriccio

Enescu: Romanian Rhapsody in A major, Op. 11 No. 1

Smetana: The Bartered Bride Overture

Sowerby: The Irish Washerwoman

Dvořák: Scherzo capriccioso, Op. 66


Hungarian Dance No. 18 in D major

Hungarian Dance No. 19 in B minor

Hungarian Dance No. 20 in E minor

Hungarian Dance No. 21 in E minor

Schumann: Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120

Beethoven: Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60 & Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72b

Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4

Honegger: Concertino for Piano & Orchestra


Schön Rosmarin

Tambourin Chinois, Op. 3

Caprice Viennois, Op. 2


Schumann: Träumerei (from Kinderszenen, Op. 15)

Delibes: La Source (Excerpt), Sylvia (Excerpt) & Coppelia (Excerpt)

Wolf-Ferrari: I gioielli della Madonna (orchestral excerpts)

Gounod: Funeral March of a Marionette

Ravel: Alborada del gracioso (orchestral version)

Carpenter, J A: Adventures in a Perambulator


The Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan

Shepherd’s Hey

Country Gardens

Irish Tune from County Derry ‘Danny Boy’

Molly on the Shore

Zamachson: Chorale and Fugue in D Minor, Op. 4

trad.: When Johnny comes marching home

Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27

Tchaikovsky: Andante Cantabile (from String Quartet No. 1 in D Op. 11)

Mahler: Symphony No. 2 ‘Resurrection’

Strauss, J, II:

An der schönen, blauen Donau, Op. 314

Die Fledermaus Overture

Geschichten aus dem Wienerwald, Op. 325

Accelerationen, Op. 234

Der Zigeunerbaron Overture

Aquarellen Walzer, Op. 258

Fürstin Ninetta (Princess Ninetta): Entr’acte

Drigo: Valse Bluette

Strauss, R: Waltz Sequence No. 1 (from Der Rosenkavalier)

Strauss, J, II: Pizzicato Polka

Weinberger, J: Schwanda the Bagpiper: Polka & Fugue


Serenade No. 13 in G major, K525 ‘Eine kleine Nachtmusik’

German Dances (6), K600

German Dances (4), K602

German Dances (3), K605

Le Nozze di Figaro K492 – Sinfonia

Paganini: Moto perpetuo, Op. 11, MS 72

Bach, J S: Chorale Prelude BWV727 ‘Herzlich tut mich verlangen’

Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 in E Major

Sibelius: Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 39

Eugene Ormandy’s name is inextricably linked with Philadelphia and the orchestra he led there as music director for more than 40 years. But before Ormandy / Philadelphia there was another historic partnership – Ormandy / Minneapolis – much shorter but hardly less crucial to the Hungarian conductor’s career. After playing the violin for ten years and eventually conducting the orchestra of New York’s Capitol Theatre, the 32-year-old immigrant had his first real breakthrough in America in 1931, when the Philadelphia Orchestra hired him as a stand-in for his idol Toscanini. A second great opportunity arose when Ormandy was asked to fill in at short notice for the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra’s incapacitated principal conductor, Henri Verbrugghen. He was soon appointed to succeed the ailing Belgian maestro. A third fortuitous indisposition clinched Ormandy’s recognition: he was again filling in for Toscanini in Philadelphia when an RCA Victor executive in the audience was so taken with his performance of excerpts from Weinberger’s opera Švanda the Bagpiper that he invited him to record them.

When contractual provisions prevented Philadelphia’s participation, Ormandy proposed moving the project to Minneapolis, where he and the musicians would receive an annual salary and the recordings could be made at no additional cost. And so it came to pass that the orchestra, which Ormandy quickly elevated to the ranks of America’s most admired ensembles, recorded from January 17-23, 1934, and January 5-16, 1935, at Northrop Auditorium on the campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. These long, intense daily sessions yielded a rich harvest of recordings that encompassed a broad and adventurous repertoire that filled no fewer than 174 78-rpm sides. “Ormandy was perhaps at his best in Minneapolis and at the beginning of his long tenure in Philadelphia,” wrote a Gramophone critic in 1991, and not a few other commentators have shared that opinion.

These recordings from the mid-1930s convey the excitement of a live concert, which is not necessarily the rule with the conductor’s later studio recordings. Sony Classical is now pleased to present the complete Ormandy / Minneapolis discography in a single collection for the first time. Many of these performances have never been released on LP, let alone CD. This 11-disc set includes important symphonic works that were still rarely heard when these recordings were introduced to music lovers around the world. The groundbreaking 1935 version of Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony dominated record catalogs for nearly two decades and continues to thrill today (Gramophone, 1997: “This supple and driving reading … One is immediately struck by the excellence of orchestral playing that Ormandy ensured in a repertoire that was hardly standard fare in the 1930s”). Ormandy and the Minneapolis SO were the first in the U.S. to put Rachmaninoff’s Second (“Fervently played and magnificently recorded” – Gramophone, 1936) and Sibelius’s First (“Mr. Ormandy seems to squeeze every ounce of emotion out of it, and lovers of opulence will rejoice” – Gramophone, 1936) on disc, while their Bruckner Seventh was the first commercial American recording of a symphony by that composer. The new box also includes world premiere recordings of Kodály’s Háry-János Suite, the string orchestra version of Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, and Honegger’s Concertino for Piano and Orchestra, as well as American works such as Roy Harris’s When Johnny Comes Marching Home, Charles Tomlinson Griffes’s Pleasure-Dome of Kubla Khan, and John Alden Carpenter’s Adventures in a Perambulator. The electrifying performance of Enescu’s Romanian Rhapsody No. 1, a showpiece of Ormandy’s, was the first of this work to reach a worldwide audience, while excerpts from Weinberger’s Schwanda – Ormandy’s ticket to stardom – also made their recording debut in Minneapolis. The conductor’s only recording of Schumann’s Fourth Symphony is here, as is his first recording of Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony, plus Hungarian Dances by Brahms, dances and overtures by the Strauss family, Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik, excerpts from Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, British folk song arrangements by Percy Grainger, and more.

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