Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Chronological Discography
This is a chronological listing of the recordings Stokowski made with the
Philadelphia Orchestra beginning in October, 1917, his first recording until
his last acoustic sessions at the end of 1924.
Not included are the numerous recordings of the many sides that Stokowski
and the Philadelphia Orchestra tried to make, but which were not successful
due to the limitations of the acoustic process 1.
Edward Johnson, the eminent Stokowski scholar states in his notes to the
Cala CD "Stokowski First Releases" (Cala CACD 0502), "...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..." 2.
In the chronological discography below, 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 released
in the 1920s, are included. This 15% yield during the acoustic period
indicates the difficulty faced by Stokowski and the Victor engineers to
record even the limited number of Philadelphia Orchestra musicians,
cramped together in front of the recording horn with little comfort or
ventilation, seeking to capture a musical performance.
The quality and detail of the listing below is totally the result of the
masterful and painstaking investigations of the Victor records by John
R. Bolig in his The Victor Red Seal Discography Volume 1: Single-Sided Series
(1903-1925) and The Victor Red Seal Discography Volume 2:
Double-Sided Series to 1930. These are amazingly
detailed and exact listings of the Victor recordings (and any errors remaining
in the Chronological Discography, below, are
therefore my own errors.)
Pristine Classical Restoration of the Stokowski Acoustic Recordings
To fully appreciate these historic Stokowski - Philadelphia recordings, we now have
a wonderful source to hear these recordings, wonderfully restored. Transfers of
these often rare acoustic recordings were made by Edward Johnson from his
collection. Andrew Rose, with his magic
(or so it seems to me) technology that has brought so many classic recordings
to new life has also stabilized and refurbished these acoustic recordings.
Two volumes of these restorations are available so far.
Visit the Pristine Classical site to download these recordings
, and while you are there, have a look at the many other treasures
by Stokowski and other greats. Thank you Edward Johnson and Andrew Rose!
* Harry O.
Sooy In his memoires states: "...December 8th, 1924: After considerable work
remodeling the 5th floor, Building #15, for an additional Recording Room for the
Laboratory, we made our first records of the Philadelphia Orchestra in this
studio on this date." 3 I have therefore assumed that the
Rachmaninoff recordings later that month were in the same location.
The Victor Red Seal records listed on this page are all
of either 10 inch or 12 inch diameter, as follows:
10 inch single sided disks:
64000, 66000 series catalogue numbers (matrix numbers
beginning with B)
10 inch double sided disks:
900, 1000 series catalogue numbers (matrix numbers
beginning with B)
12 inch single sided disks:
74000 series catalogue numbers (matrix numbers beginning
12 inch double sided disks:
6000, 8000 series catalogue numbers (matrix numbers
beginning with C)
Note on listening to the Stokowski recordings
The chronological table of Stokowski recordings, below, provides two
links for each recording:
1. The column to the right labeled "Link" will take you to
the page of this stokowski.org site which discusses the
recording. Simply click on the word "page".
2. The column to the right labeled "MP3" gives a link to the
file, in .mp3 format, of the recording. Simply click on the word "MP3"
to download and listen to the .mp3 file.
Nearly all the music files linked in the table below are in .mp3 format
(128 mbps). This means that they are of different sizes, depending
on the length of the music. Therefore, when you click on the word
"MP3" to download the music, the time required will depend on
the size of the file, and the speed of your internet connection.
However, since most of the recordings of this acoustic era are of one 78
RPM side, they are all relatively short (typically 3 MB to 4 MB), and
should download quickly in a number of seconds, again depending on your
internet connection speed.
1 An approximate idea of the
recording sessions attempted and works that were
attempted can be seen by looking at the many
acoustic sessions, from which no recordings were
approved by Stokowski. Peruse the superb
Stokowski Discography of Stokowski"s disks by Enno
Riekena. Mr. Riekena, a Stokowski expert and
scholar has carefully prepared and researched this
discography, including correct names of the works
recorded, which may often vary from the title
selected by Stokowski or by Victor for the record
label. Mr. Riekena"s discography includes
information on the acoustic recording sessions
attempted from which no recording was released.
This discography may be found at:
2 Johnson, Edward. Notes
to "Stokowski First Releases". CALA
Records CACD 0502. London. 1995. The Cala
website is at http://www.calarecords.com/
Sooy, Harry O. Memoir of my Career at Victor Talking Machine Company
1898-1925. Manuscript, not dated, but ending with events of 1925.
Another important record of the history of recording, on the David Sarnoff
Library website: http://www.davidsarnoff.org/sooyh-maintext1909.html