GLIÉRE:  Symphony No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 42 "Ilya Murometz"
Philadelphia Orch/Eugene Ormandy, cond.
LOCKED IN THE VAULT Volume 32 (B) TT:  59:13

A most welcome reissue - one of many worthy CDs of major recordings released by Locked in the Vault Reissues, historic performances of the past that have yet to surface on "commercial" CDs.  This one is of particular value as it makes available a magnificent performance of Gli╦re's masterpiece by a conductor who loved and understood the music thoroughly with an orchestra that played a prominent part in the work's recording history.  The Philadelphia Orchestra made the first recording of Ilya Murometz in 1940 with Leopold Stokowski on the podium, a performance with many cuts - but not as many as Stokowski made in his later Houston recording.  Ormandy made two superlative recordings of the work, first in 1956 for Columbia, just pre-stereo.  When the Orchestra switched to RCA, he recorded it again October 6, 1971 this time in stereo.  The Columbia version is about 54 minutes long, the RCA almost an hour.  RCA's original stereo LP issue (LSC 3246) was a disaster sonically, overcut, distorted and lacking bass.  This LITV issue was made from an RCA open reel tape (ERPA 3246-C) which has a far wider dynamic range than the LP and none of the distortion.  If you love Ilya (see feature on the work) you must have this recording.  It's only available from LITV ( I understand there is a possibility they might also reissue Ormandy's 1956 Columbia recording, which also would be welcome.

R.E.B. (July 2002)