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ClassicsOnline Home » GLIERE, R.: Symphony No. 3 (Ormandy) (1956)
Ormandy on great form
The Philadelphia Orchestra recorded this Symphony under their previous conductor Stokowski, and it was only a matter of time before Ormandy would turn his attention to a score whose Romanticism makes it ideal territory for the sumptuous playing of the "fabulous Philadelphians".
Stokowski's version is heavily cut, and Ormandy, whilst including more music, still gives us a truncated version. For a complete, modern version, you need to go to Faberman and the RPO on Unicorn, or Downes on Chandos.
The performance is full of atmosphere, and plenty of urgency where needed. Ormandy was always at home in Russian music, as his many Tchaikovsky discs confirm. The orchestra plays with great virtuosity and the recording, while hampered by mono sound, is still amazing for its age (1956). After moving back to RCA in the 60s, the orchestra recorded it again, but I feel this version has much to commend it.more....
Until the CD era recording Gliere's Symphony No.3 'Ilya Muromets' in its entirety was a challenge most record companies avoided, mainly for technical reasons. Stokowski, Rachmilovich and Ormandy all made substantial cuts to a mammoth symphonic creation that can last nearly an hour and a half.
This hour long 1972 stereo recording displays the expected lushness in the strings and vibrant attack in the horn section that characterizes the Philadelphia Sound under Ormandy. The pacing is fast but always controlled and the programmatic elements that are a feature of this work allow for a rich and expressive coloration in the story-telling that makes this one of the best interpretations of the 'shortened version'! As one might expect a 1972 recording to suffer in comparison with later versions so this disk has its shortcomings; in the tutti brass sections the sound can verge on the painfully shrill and at a few points there evolves a general tubbiness in the textures. However the effect of the whole is compelling and beautifully judged. Thus, sonically, it will inevitably suffer in comparison to more modern and complete versions; nevertheless it has myriad qualities and certainly deserves admiration and a place in the collection.more....
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GLIERE, R.: Symphony No. 3 (Ormandy) (1956)