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Great Conductors of the 20th Century - Eugene Ormandy [Original recording remastered]

Eugene Ormandy Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 19.99
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Philadelphia Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Eugene Ormandy
  • Composer: Anton Webern, Dmitry Borisovich Kabalevsky, Jean Sibelius, Johannes Brahms, Richard Strauss, et al.
  • Audio CD (25 Feb 2002)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B00005V33N
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 281,357 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Symphony No.4 In E Minor, Op.98: I. Allegro Non Troppo
2. Symphony No.4 In E Minor, Op.98: II. Andante Moderato
3. Symphony No.4 In E Minor, Op.98: III. Allegro Giocoso - Poco Meno Presto - Tempo I
4. Symphony No.4 In E Minor, Op.98: IV. Allegro Energico E Passionato - Piu Allegro
5. Don Juan, Op.20: Tone-Poem After Nikolaus Lenau
6. Idyll For Large Orchestra: Im Sommerwind
Disc: 2
1. Colas Breugnon: Overture
2. Symphony No.2 In E Minor, Op.27: I. Largo - Allegro Moderato
3. Symphony No.2 In E Minor, Op.27: II. Allegro Molto
4. Symphony No.2 In E Minor, Op.27: III. Adagio
5. Symphony No.2 In E Minor, Op.27: IV. Allegro Vivace
6. Lemminkainen Suite, Op.22 (Four Legends For Orchestra): Lemminkainen's Return

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And when he was good... 9 Mar 2012
By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
The older I get, the more I hear and the less I care about received opinion, popular or critical, the more recordings by Eugene Ormandy I prize. I understand that he was at times a bland, uninspiring performer and that he was over-recorded by virtue of his one-size-fits-all facility directing a supremely polished orchestra just as Karajan fell victim to his own success, but my list of supremely satisfying Ormandy recordings grows ever longer, as rather than do a Little Jack Horner and stick in your thumb, it is quite possible to choose wisely from his vast discography and come up with a plum.

And this compilation could hardly be more successful, drawing on comparative rarities from EMI, Sony and BMG (RCA). Every piece here could be a first recommendation, starting with the two symphonies by Brahms and Rachmaninov at the centre of the collection. Although his 1959 recordings of all the Rachmaninov symphonies remain a classic, Ormandy re-recorded them in the 70's this time with the cuts sanctioned by the composer restored and this Second is certainly no less compelling than the earlier version. The excellent analogue stereo sound reflects the burnished glow and razor-sharp virtuosity of the Philadelphia Orchestra, while the Bayersischen Rundfunks orchestra covers itself in glory in its wonderfully energised, big-boned account of the Brahms.

But that's not all, it also despatches Strauss's "Don Juan" with thrilling attack and lapidary precision, despite the shrillness of the live concert ambience. It isn't superior to Maazel with the same orchestra (not least in sound), nor Karajan with the BPO, but it's a great performance nonetheless and it is, after all, just one of several bonuses, given the other two substantial items here.
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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Conductors of 20th Century = Best Reissues of the 21st 25 May 2003
By Michael B. Richman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
It's sad that the "Great Conductors of the 20th Century" reissue series has not gotten more notice on www.Amazon.com and in other places, because it has my vote for the best reissue program thus far of the 21st Century. Drawing from the archives of all the major classical labels (EMI, Sony, BMG, DG, Decca, Philips, Supraphon, etc.), EMI and IMG Artists have assembled a wonderful series of affordable two-disc sets by the leading conductors of the last century. And unlike its counterpart, "The Great Pianists of the 20th Century," which are basically compilations of material already available on other CDs, the "Great Conductors" features rare and, for the most part, previously unreleased performances!
This particular CD, Volume 13, features the great Eugene Ormandy. With so many of Ormandy's recordings available in the Sony Essential Classics series and on RCA/BMG, you would think there could not possibly anything left to release on CD. Well, guess again. Ormandy recorded a Brahms cycle in the late 60s for CBS, but to date they have only issued the first two symphonies on CD via a Sony Essential Classic "Take 2." Someone like me, who is relatively new to classical and can't go thumb through dad's old vinyl collection, has been left to dream at the prospects of Symphonies 3 & 4. Well, at least here we get number four, and it is a giant! I have nearly a dozen recordings of the Brahms 4, and Ormandy's is every bit as good as my personal favorites by Kleiber, Dorati and Szell. Speaking of Sony Essential Classics "Take 2" CDs, Ormandy also did all of Rachmaninov's Symphonies with Philadelphia during his time with CBS, but the version presented here was done for RCA in 1973, and it was Ormandy's first recording of the complete original version of the work. This set also features the world premiere recording of Anton Webern's "Im Sommerwind." But if those three items are not enough, then use this set as a rare opportunity to hear Ormandy away from the Philadelphians. Ormandy joins the Bavarian RSO for two live performances -- Struass' "Don Juan" in 1959 and Kabalevsky's "Colas Breugnon" Overture in 1965.
Whether you are a serious collector of classical music or a beginner, the "Great Conductors of the 20th Century" has something for everyone. If the prized, rare performances previously unreleased on CD (or ever!) doesn't excite you, then use this as an opportunity to check out one of the greatest conductors ever recorded. Since stores are offering increasingly homogenized classical music sections, this conductor may not be in your collection, and that would truly be a shame.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dumbest Thing Ever 3 Jan 2006
By Wayne A. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Recently I sat all my Nielsen First Symphonies all together and did a side-by-side on the first bars of the last movement. Something remarkable happens there that requires precision work to get it right and nobody (including Blomstedt) came close to Ormandy in this horse race. On recommendation I snickeringly tried Ormandy's Beethoven Fifth and it bowled me over--it's now my favorite, bar none. I'm completely at a loss to find better Shostakovich and I would love to get my hands on Ormandy's Mahler 10 recorded decades ago. What gives? What gives is that Eugene Ormandy and his over-hyped Fabulous Philadelphians were, despite everything, one of the greatest music producing engines ever. Throw your copies of Fanfare, the Goode Guide, and Penguin away, those reviewers clearly have pickles in their ears (I left out American Record Guide because, lo and behold, the editor has noticed this appalling phenomenon too). What Ormandy does, and does magnificently, is stand back and let the music speak through one of the world's finest orchestras. This lack of ego seems to bother some people, probably the same people who write reviews complaining about Berlioz's compositional skills. Elements of this somewhat feeble culture have a tendency to try to ride herd over their betters.

This is also one heck of a collection, especially for the Brahms and the Rachmaninoff (interesting that both Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff had high regards for the "mediocre" Ormandy). Just buy it!

[You'll note the same curious phenomenon with the equally reviled Leinsdorf [Mahler! Prokofiev! Dvorak!] and Van Beinum [untouchable Debussy! Brahms! Bartok! Stravinsky!]--if you tossed in Jochum and maybe Munch I could easily put together a first-class collection of the Classics without ever coming close to the usual list of razzle-dazzle superstar and wunderkind conductors. This is really making me wonder about a lot of things!)
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like everybody else is saying, get it for the Brahms 4th! 16 Nov 2005
By Joey Joe Joe Jr. Shabadoo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Great rendition of Brahms' 4th symphony, which happens to be my favorite symphony by one of my favorite composers (he runs neck in neck with Beethoven, Bach and Mozart, and the lead keeps changing hands). I've heard a bunch of Brahms 4ths, including Giulini (1970), Abbado (1992, underrated), Karajan (1978) Kleiber (1980), Solti (1978), Dorati (1961), Jochum (1978), Ozawa (1990), Bernstein (1981), Haitink (1992), Kubelik (1983), and now the Ormandy, from 1967. The Ormandy is one of the oldest, and it sounds old (my only misgiving on this recording is the muddiness when it gets loud), but it is still up near the top of the heap in terms of interpretation. I would probably rate the Dorati, Giulini and the Kleiber ahead of it, with the Abbado and Karajan trailing just behind. I have lately found myself getting into Ormandy after hearing a recording of Dvorak's 9th with Ormandy/Philadelphia from an old LP of my dad's. If you are an Ormandy fan, then this is a must have, since you can't get the Brahms 4th anywhere else.

To be honest, the rest of the disc is nice, but I bought it for the Brahms. At this price, it is still worth it.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite recording. 19 Jun 2004
By John L. Kenny - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Ormandy's Brahms 4th symphony recording from the late 60's
is my favorite recording, bar none. It has a rhythm, musicality
momentum that I don't hear in other recordings of this masterpiece. The finale is played with tremendous power, drama
and a thumping rhythm . Solos are played beautifully.
The Sibelius piece is also brilliant.
I highly recommend this CD.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And when he was good... 9 Mar 2012
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The older I get, the more I hear and the less I care about received opinion, popular or critical, the more recordings by Eugene Ormandy I prize. I understand that he was at times a bland, uninspiring performer and that he was over-recorded by virtue of his one-size-fits-all facility directing a supremely polished orchestra just as Karajan fell victim to his own success, but my list of supremely satisfying Ormandy recordings grows ever longer, as rather than do a Little Jack Horner and stick in your thumb, it is quite possible to choose wisely from his vast discography and come up with a plum.

And this compilation could hardly be more successful, drawing on comparative rarities from EMI, Sony and BMG (RCA). Every piece here could be a first recommendation, starting with the two symphonies by Brahms and Rachmaninov at the centre of the collection. Although his 1959 recordings of all the Rachmaninov symphonies remain a classic, Ormandy re-recorded them in the 70's this time with the cuts sanctioned by the composer restored and this Second is certainly no less compelling than the earlier version. The excellent analogue stereo sound reflects the burnished glow and razor-sharp virtuosity of the Philadelphia Orchestra, while the Bayersischen Rundfunks orchestra covers itself in glory in its wonderfully energised, big-boned account of the Brahms.

But that's not all, it also despatches Strauss's "Don Juan" with thrilling attack and lapidary precision, despite the shrillness of the live concert ambience. It isn't superior to Maazel with the same orchestra (not least in sound), nor Karajan with the BPO, but it's a great performance nonetheless and it is, after all, just one of several bonuses, given the other two substantial items here. Of greater interest because of their rarity, are the lovely, lush, Schoenbergian "Sommerwind" by Webern before he went all Modernist on us and the Kabalevsky overture. The Sibelius snippet reminds us of Ormandy's versatility and range.

There is no better testimony to Ormandy's gifts as an advocate of Romantic music and this issue is one of the best in this variable "Great Conductors", to be placed alongside the Reiner set featuring Gilels' earlier Brahms Second Piano Concerto.
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