Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ives - Holidays-Symphony-Three Places In New England - Ormandy, The Philadelphia Orchestra



Eugene Ormandy was a surprisingly dedicated Ives conductor, at least on disc, and a very good one too. This version of Three Places in New England was, if memory serves, the first of Ives' original scoring for full orchestra, and it's quite fine. As to be expected, the Philly players sound terrific, and This photo from around 1913 shows Ives in his "day job". He was the director of a successful insurance agency.Ormandy seems to be enjoying himself (he was never noted for his sense of humor). The performance of the Holidays Symphony also stands with the very best; for many years this was the only way to get all four tone poems on disc, with Thanksgiving and Forefather's Day being a particular novelty. The sound is gratifyingly clear and clean for an RCA/Philadelphia production, save for some slight congestion at the entry of the chorus in Thanksgiving. Part of the Japanese RCA Ormandy edition, and now available on demand from, this disc represented a major contribution to the Ives discography when it first came out back in the 1970s, and its qualities haven't diminished at all in the decades since.—David Hurwitz


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