1917 - 1924 Victor Acoustic Recordings of

Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra

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1917-1924 Victor Acoustic Recordings of

Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra

 

                                                Leopold Stokowski in about 1917

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Stokowski - Philadelphia acoustic recordings 1917-1924

click here to go to all Stokowski - Philadelphia acoustic recordings

Stokowski - Philadelphia electrical recordings 1925-1940 click on the date below

1925 First Electrical Recording

1925 other electricals

1926

1927 - part 1

1927 - part 2

1928

1929

1930

1931

1932

1933

1934 - part 1

1934 - part 2

1935

1936

1937

no recordings 1938

1939-1940

Listings of the Musicians of some Famous Orchestras: Click on the link below

Boston Symphony Principal Musicians
Boston Symphony List All Musicians
Chicago Symphony Principal Musicians
Chicago Symphony List All Musicians
Cleveland Orchestra Principal Musicians
Cleveland Orchestra List All Musicians
Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Musicians
Philadelphia Orchestra List All Musicians
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Musicians
Saint Louis Symphony Musicians
San Francisco Symphony Principal Musicians
San Francisco Symphony List All Musicians

 

Leopold Anthony Stokowski

1917 to 1924: Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra Acoustic Recordings

 

In this portion of the Leopold Stokowski site, devoted to his acoustic recordings with the Philadelphia Orchestra, seven different pages (linked below) offer descriptions of all the acoustic recording sessions of Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra, issued on Victor Red Seal disks, from 1917 through to the end of acoustic recordings by Victor in late 1924.

 

Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra worked intensively to record these acoustic disks at a time when the technology required uncomfortable recording conditions, and produced variable sound and results which were often difficult to predict.  Also, Stokowski would need to wait, sometimes weeks to hear the results, since playing a wax master just after recording would have destroyed the master.

 

As a result of all these difficulties, and because of Stokowski's high standards,  Edward Johnson, the eminent Stokowski scholar states in his notes to the CALA CD Stokowski First Releases, " ...Between 1917 and 1924, they made an estimated 450 acoustic recordings, but the old method of playing into a large horn gave a very poor representation of orchestral sound, and of all their acoustic discs, only 60 or so were actually issued..." 1.

 

In the Leopold Stokowski Chronological Discography of Acoustic Recordings 1917 to 1924 , I count only 69 acoustic sides released by Stokowski, which increase to 71 sides if the two sides of the first movement of the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto no 2, not then released, are included.  This 16% yield during the acoustic period indicates the difficulty faced by Stokowski and a limited number of musicians, cramped together in front of the recording horn with little comfort or ventilation, seeking to capture a musical performance.

 

Limitations to the Acoustic Recording Process

 

Another limitation associated with the acoustic process was the range of frequencies which it could record. The acoustic process range was approximately 200 to 2,400 Hertz (and sometimes less), which is only about three octaves.  Stokowski and the Philadelphians would have to wait until 1925 for the electrical recording process to arrive to take reproduction up to toward the 6,000 hertz range, another octave of reproduction.  This extra octave also provided the reduced harmonic distortion and increased transparency of the electrical process.

 

There are a pair of famous photographs showing the Victor Camden studio in Building 15 with an acoustic configuration, and the same scene with the recording configuration for the Western Electric Westrex equipment, including the famous Western Electric 1B carbon microphone - a 'before and after' set of photographs.  The Westrex configuration is shown in the web page devoted to the 1925 - Stokowski Other Philadelphia Orchestra Electrical Recordings.

The acoustic configuration is shown in the photograph below in early 1925.  From other photographs, acoustic sessions of earlier years were even more cramped.

 

 

Note the musicians on various risers, and the Stroh violins, with horns pointing toward the acoustic recording horn.  That is perhaps Rosario Bourdon, the artistic director of Victor conducting the Victor Orchestra.

 

In addition to the difficulties for the musicians, the recording engineers had a challenging task which took trial and error experience to produce better recordings.  For example, in the disk cutting chamber in the recording room, heat from incandescent bulbs were typically used to keep the wax master disks warm on the cutting turntable.  The temperature of the wax master influenced the surface noise of the groove when cut. 

 

Similarly, at the end of the recording horn, sound boxes were used with a diaphragm made of various materials that were selected to be non-resonant, such as mica.  The diaphragm was linked to the recording horn by rubber connectors, and the thickness of the diaphragm and the consistency of the rubber connector were each selected by the recording engineer to achieve the best result, again, by trial and error.

 

To read more about the development the Victor Talking Machine Company and of the "acoustic" or "mechanical" method of recording, click here.

 

These pages also contain mp3 coded reproductions of each of the Stokowski Victor acoustic recordings being described.  As primitive as these recordings may on certain occasions be, the reproductions here are intended to permit Stokowski fans to listen to these historic Stokowski recordings either from curiosity, or before purchasing one of the modern CD transcriptions of classic 78 RPM Stokowski performances.  Also, in some cases, the recordings are remarkably good, providing enduring enjoyment and inspiration.

 

1.  Stokowski Acoustic Recordings.

 

From its first recordings, Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra inaugurated a period of recording made possible by the development of the acoustic recording process, invented by Edison, and further improved by the Victor Talking Machine Company.  To explore this era, click below to go to the appropriate web page:

 

The Development of Acoustic Recording

 

1917 - 1924 The Acoustic Recordings of Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra

 

1917 - first 78 RPM Acoustic Victor recordings of Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra

 

Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Other Acoustic Recordings from 1917 and 1919

 

Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Other Acoustic Recordings of 1920 and 1921

 

Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Other Acoustic Recordings from 1922 - 1924

 

Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Acoustic Recordings of Russian Music 1919 - 1924

 

Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra French Acoustic Recordings 1920 to 1924

 

Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Wagner Acoustic Recordings of 1921 and 1924

 

Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Tchaikovsky Acoustic Recordings 1921 - 1924

 

Leopold Stokowski - Serge Rachmaninoff and the Philadelphia Orchestra - 1924

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2.  Stokowski Electrical Recordings.

 

Beginning in 1925, Stokowski and the Philadelphians made the first electrical recordings of a symphony orchestra in the United States (and, in fact, the first in the world).  Click on the links below to read about and hear these superb and historic recordings:

 

Bell Laboratories and the Development of Electrical Recording

 

Licensing the Bell - Westrex Electrical Recording System

 

1925 - First Electrical Recording - Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra

 

1925 - Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Other Electrical Recordings

 

1926 - Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Recordings

 

1927 Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra

 

More 1927 Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Recordings

 

1928 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings       1929 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings

 

1930 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings       1931 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings

 

1932 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings       1933 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings

 

1934 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings       More 1934 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings

 

1935 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings       1936 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings

 

1937 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings       1939 - 1940 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings

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3. Other Pages about Stokowski

 

In addition, there are a number of pages of information related to the recordings of Leopold Stokowski and his recordings on this site. 

 

This information is being updated frequently, and just added is an appreciation by the music scholar and Stokowski expert Edward Johnson writing about:

Leopold Stokowski and British Music

 

Click the link below to read and hear more about Stokowski and his legacy:

 

Leopold Stokowski Biography

 

Interviews with Leopold Stokowski

 

Leopold Stokowski Orchestrations

 

Leopold Stokowski, Harvey Fletcher and the Bell Laboratories Experimental Recordings

 

Masters of the Modern Restoration of Historic Disks

 

Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Chronological Discography

 

Camden Church Studio - Victor Talking Machine Recording Location

 

Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Recording in the Academy of Music Philadelphia

 

Further Material on Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra

 

CDs of Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra

 

Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Bibliography, Sources and Credits

 

Also newly added is a Fritz Reiner Discography which seeks to documennt all the commerial and private recordings of Fritz Reiner.

 

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4.  Musicians of Major American Orchestras

 

Since there seems to be a surprising lack of historical information about the principal musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and in general the principals of the other leading symphony orchestras of the United States, I have started, out of my own interest, to try to compile brief biographies of the musicians of the major orchestras listed below.  Often, it is difficult even to form an accurate historical listing of the first-chair musicians of the orchestra sections, let alone assembling brief biographical information. 

 

Below are links to the web pages covering the named orchestras.  Each orchestra is organized into two different listings:

 

-   A listing of all the Musicians of the Orchestra since its inception.

This list includes the names, country and date of birth and death, instruments, positions and dates of service of all known permanent musicians of the orchestra from its beginning.

 

-   A listing of the Principal or "solo" musicians of the Orchestra

This is a listing of all the Principal musicians of the Orchestra, chronologically during their histories, with a brief biographical sketches and photographs.

 

Listings of Orchestra Musicians: Click on the link below

Boston Symphony Principal Musicians
Boston Symphony List All Musicians
Chicago Symphony Principal Musicians
Chicago Symphony List All Musicians
Cleveland Orchestra Principal Musicians
Cleveland Orchestra List All Musicians
Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Musicians
Philadelphia Orchestra List All Musicians
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Musicians
Saint Louis Symphony Musicians
San Francisco Symphony Principal Musicians
San Francisco Symphony List All Musicians

 

Your added or corrected information on any of these musicians would be welcome simply by contacting this site as shown at the foot of this page

 


1  Johnson, Edward.  Notes to 'Stokowski First Releases'.  CALA Records CACD502.  London. 1995.


 

Note on listening to the Stokowski recordings

 

The recordings in this site are files in mp3 format (128 mbps) encoded from my recordings.  Links to the mp3 files are located in two places:

 

First - in the page covering the year of the recording.  For example, links to a 1926 recording are found in the page:   1926 - Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Recordings

 

Second - in the Chronological Discography page.  For example, links to a 1926 recording are also found in the electrical recordings chronological discography page:  Chronological Discography of Electrical Recordings    This page lists all the electrical recordings from 1925 to 1940 made by the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski and issued by Victor, including of course the 1926 recordings.

 

The mp3 files in this site are encoded at 128 mbps.  This means that the files are of different sizes, according to the length of the music.  For example, the second electrical recording, the April 29, 1925 Borodin ‘Polovetzki Dances’ is small (3.6MB).  In contrast, the 1929 Le Sacre du Printemps file is large.  Le Sacre part 1 is 14MB and Le Sacre part 2 is 16MB.

 

This means that a large file will take a longer time to download, depending on your internet connection speed.  Please keep this in mind when you click to listen to - download a particularly music file.  You may click the link to the music file, but need to wait a number of seconds or even minutes to listen to the file.

 


 

If you have any comments or questions about this Leopold Stokowski site, please e-mail me (Larry Huffman) at e-mail address: leopold.stokowski@gmail.com  

 


 

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Navigation Table - www.stokowski.org

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Navigation:

Acoustic Recordings of

Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra

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Navigation:

Electrical Recordings of

Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra

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Navigation:

Musicians of Leading US Orchestras

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Development of Acoustic Recording

Development of Electrical Recording

Boston Symphony Principal Musicians

1917-1924 Acoustic recordings

Licensing the Electrical System

Boston Symphony List All Musicians

1917 - first Acoustic Victor recordings

1925 - First Electrical Recording

Chicago Symphony Principal Musicians

1917-1919 Other Acoustic recordings

1925 - Other Electrical Recordings

Chicago Symphony List All Musicians

1920-1921 Other Acoustic recordings

1926 Recordings

Cleveland Orchestra Principal Musicians

1922-1924 Other Acoustic recordings

1927 Recordings - Part 1

Cleveland Orchestra List All Musicians

1919-1924 Russian Acoustic recordings

1927 Recordings - Part 2

Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Musicians

1920-1924 French Acoustic recordings

1928 Recordings

Philadelphia Orchestra List All Musicians

1921-1924 Wagner Acoustic recordings

1929 Recordings

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Musicians

1921-1924 Tchaikovsky Acoustic recordings

1930 Recordings

Saint Louis Symphony Musicians

1924 Rachmaninoff - Stokowski Acoustic recordings

1931 Recordings

San Francisco Symphony Musicians

Navigation: Other Stokowski Materials

(Click on the link below)

1932 Recordings

Russian Symphony Orchestra of New York Musicians

Edward Johnson:

Leopold Stokowski and British Music

1933 Recordings

Germania Orchestra Musicians

Biography of Leopold Stokowski

1934 Recordings - Part 1

Navigation: Stokowski Discographies

(Click on the link below)

Interviews with Leopold Stokowski

1934 Recordings - Part 2

Description of Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Discographies

Leopold Stokowski Orchestrations

1935 Recordings

Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Chronological Acoustic Discography

Stokowski, Dr. Harvey Fletcher and Experimental Recordings of Bell Laboratories

1936 Recordings

Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Chronological Electrical Discography

Further Material about Leopold Stokowski

1937 Recordings

Fritz Reiner Discography

Camden Church Studio and other Victor Talking Machine Recording Locations

( No Recordings in 1938 )

CDs of Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra

Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Bibliography, Sources and Credits

1939 - 1940 Recordings

Masters of Historic Disk Restoration

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L'Héritage de Stokowski - Accueil français

Victor Talking Machine Company, Eldridge Johnson, et le développement de la technologie d'enregistrement acoustique

1917 - 1924 les enregistrements acoustique Victor de Leopold Stokowski et l'Orchestre de Philadelphie

1917 -  Premiers enregistrements acoustique de Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

1917 - 1919 autres enregistrements acoustique Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

1920 - 1921 autres enregistrements acoustique Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

1922 - 1924 autres enregistrements acoustique Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

1919 - 1924 enregistrements acoustique Russe Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

1920 - 1924 enregistrements acoustique français - Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

1921 -1924 enregistrements acoustique Tchaïkovski - Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

1921 - 1924 enregistrements acoustique Wagner - Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

1924 enregistrements acoustique Rachmaninov - Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

 

Développement de l'enregistrement électrique

Permis d'exploitation du système Westrex donné à Victor et Columbia

1925 Premier enregistrement électrique Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

1925 autres enregistrements électriques Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

1926 enregistrements électriques Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

1927 enregistrements électriques Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

Encore des enregistrements 1927 électriques Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

1928 enregistrements électriques Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

1929 enregistrements électriques Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

1930 enregistrements électriques Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

1931 enregistrements électriques Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

1932 enregistrements électriques Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

1933 enregistrements électriques Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

1934 enregistrements électriques Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

Encore des enregistrements 1934 électriques Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

1935 enregistrements électriques Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

1936 enregistrements électriques Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

1937 enregistrements électriques Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

1939-1940 enregistrements électriques Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie

 

D'autres documents sur Stokowski et l'Orchestre de Philadelphie

Camden église studio - Victor Talking Machine studio d'enregistrement

Leopold Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie Enregistrement à l'Académie de musique de Philadelphie

Interviews avec Leopold Stokowski

Leopold Stokowski Orchestrations

Leopold Stokowski, Harvey Fletcher et les laboratoires Bell expérimental enregistrements

Maîtres de restauration moderne de disques historique

CDs de Stokowski et l'Orchestre de Philadelphie

Leopold Stokowski Discographies chronologique

      Leopold Stokowski Discographie chronologique - enregistrements acoustique

      Leopold Stokowski Discographie chronologique - enregistrements électriques

Leopold Stokowski - Orchestre de Philadelphie bibliographie, des sources et crédits

 

L'Orchestre symphonique de Boston - musiciens principaux

L'Orchestre symphonique de Chicago - musiciens principaux

L'Orchestre de Cleveland - musiciens principaux

L'Orchestre du Metropolitan Opera de New York - musiciens principaux

L'Orchestre philharmonique de New York - musiciens principaux

L'Orchestre de Philadelphie - musiciens principaux

L'Orchestre symphonique Russe de New York - musiciens principaux

L'Orchestre symphonique de San Francisco - musiciens principaux

L'Orchestre symphonique de St. Louis - musiciens principaux