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“It sounds like it was recorded in a telephone booth,” was my father’s opinion on a number of Philadelphia Orchestra recordings. For much of its history in the recording studio, the Orchestra did not always sound good on record. The difficulty with finding a good recording venue in Philadelphia was one issue, before Verizon Hall. The practice of some record companies pre-distorting recordings to sound better on cheap equipment did not help either. In this case, the CBS Columbia engineers experimented with venues that rendered the orchestra’s sound much more sympathetically, and the master tapes have been transferred without processing. The wonderful velvety string tone is there, and there is depth and weight in the bass often missing in earlier incarnations of these perfomances. I do not know how well if at all, Eugene Ormandy knew Bartók, but with their shared Budapest background, Ormandy always was a great exponent of Bartók’s music. Ormandy understands the folk rhythms underlying the music. His Columbia recordings often captured a higher level of excitement and spontaneity than some of his later ones. With this transfer it is possible to both enjoy that excitement and in some of the best mastering these recordings have ever had.
Title: Bartók - The Miraculous Mandarin - Suite, Op. 19
Two Pictures For Orchestra, Op. 10
Artist(s): Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra
Recording Info: Recorded by Columbia Records
Miraculous Mandarin - Suite recorded at Town Hall, Philadelphia, PA, November 15, 1962
Two Pictures for Orchestra recorded at Philadelphia Athletic Club, Philadelphia, PA, March 31, 1963
Transferred from a 15ips 2-track tape
1 The Miraculous Mandarin - Suite, Op. 19 (Sz 73) 19:39
Two Pictures For Orchestra, Op. 10 (Sz 46) (16:16)
2 I. In Full Flower. Poco Adagio 7:36
3 II. Village Dance. Allegro 8:40