1932 Recordings of

Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra





Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Recordings of 1932


Stokowski 1930s

  Leopold Stokowski in the early 1930s


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Stokowski Recordings with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1932


Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra Recording in the Depths of the Depression


1932 was an unusual recording year for Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra.  The "Great Depression" which many had expected to pass, such as had happened with previous economic downturns, instead became worse.  1932 was a year of economic decline, to continue until what became the bottom of the Depression in 1934.  Meanwhile, Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra continued to record with Victor, unlike such famous names as the Boston Symphony under Koussevitzky and Fritz Kreisler who were unrecorded for much of the 1930s.


Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra had few recording sessions in 1932, but one of them was extraordinary: the recording in both the usual 78 RPM format and on Victor's new 33 1/3 RPM long play 'Program Transcription' recordings of Arnold Schoenberg's massive Gurre-Lieder.  It is remarkable that Stokowski in this unfavorable economic environment was able to convince RCA Victor to record the Gurre-Lieder, which was unlikely to achieve popularity with the record-buying public (it didn't).


1932 First Recording Sessions


Stokowski's first official 1932 recording session was on Saturday 19 March 1932.  This session was prior to the Saturday evening concert of the Beethoven Symphony no 5 and Schéhérazade, so the Philadelphians had a full day.  Also, the first recordings were of symphonies by Alexander Scriabin, so not likely to be particularly popular with record buyers.  And Stokowski did not offset these less popular recordings for Victor with sure selling offerings such as a Strauss waltz or Sousa march.


1932 - Scriabin - Symphony no 4 opus 54 - 'Le poème de l'extase' 'Poem of Ecstasy'


The Poem of Ecstasy or Le poème de l'extase was completed by Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915) in about 1908 at at time when his biographers say he was actively studying Theosophy 4.  Scriabin's mysticism and philosophical explorations influenced his compositions, and he wrote extensively about his philosophical concepts in his notebooks.  Theosophy seeks to discover the wisdom underlying the world's religions, sciences, and philosophies 5



Alexander Scriabin at about the time of his composition of the The Poem of Ecstasy  

Scriabin sometimes referred to The Poem of Ecstasy as his "Fourth Symphony", although never officially, and the work is performed as one continuous movement.  However, it seem in form to be closer to the sonata form than a tone poem.  Scriabin also constructs novel chord structures, although the music is not what we would call 'atonal' today.  The work builds toward a majestic climax with the brass, lead by the trumpet d, the trumpet coming to the fore, followed by tolling of orchestral bells and percussion, with an organ underpinning the total musical sound.


This recording was the first of five commercially released Stokowski performances of the The Poem of Ecstasy.  A work of this sonority benefits from the virtuoso playing of the Philadelphia Orchestra of the early 1930s, even though the orchestra playing here is a reduced complement.  Sonically, however, this sumptuous score benefits from a dynamic and wide-ranging recording technology, not available in 1932.  Listeners would need to wait until the March, 1959 Houston Symphony recording and the later 1968, 1969 and 1972 recordings to experience the full impact of Stokowski's opulent reading of this lavish work.


The recording was made in the Camden Church Studio no 1 across the river from Philadelphia on 19 March 1932 and was issued on Victor 12 in (30 cm) discs 7515 and 7516 in M-125.  Matrices were CS 72017, CS 72018, CS 72020, CS 72021. 


It is surprising and a credit to RCA Victor that this recording, not likely to be a 'best seller' was made and released during the heart of the economic depression.


Click here to listen to (download) the 1932 Scriabin 'Le poème de l'extase'


1932 - Scriabin - Symphony no 5 opus 60 - 'Le poème de feu' 'Poem of Fire'


The Poem of Fire or Le poème de feu was completed by Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915) in 1910 when he was living in Brussels and continuing his study of Theosophy 4, as well as the relationship between colors and musical pitch.  The Poem of Fire score includes part for a machine known as a "clavier à lumières" or color keyboard which was to project colors at the same time as the music was played.


A poem Scriabin wrote 6 prior to the The Poem of Fire gives some insight into the cosmic scope he was intending to construct within his score for this kaleidoscopic work:


I am come to tell you the secret of life

The secret of death

The secret of heaven and earth.


If you think this is too intense, try this:

I am God!

I am nothing, I'm play, I am freedom, I am life.

I am the boundary, I am the peak. 


The recording was made in the Camden Church Studio no 1 on 19 March 1932 and was issued on Victor 12 in (30 cm) discs 7517, 7518 along with The Poem of Ecstasy in Musical Masterpiece album M-125.  Matrices were CS 72023, CS 72024, CS 72026, CS 72027.  It was also issued on a Victor "Program Transcription" 33 1/3 long play disc of catalogue L-11617, as part of Victor's efforts to establish its new long playing record innovation; ultimately unsuccessful.

Transcription disc

    The Victor "Program Transcription" 33 1/3 long play disc of the Poem of Fire L-11617  

As was the case for the Scriabin The Poem of Ecstasy, it is surprising and a credit to RCA Victor that this recording, not likely to be a 'best seller' also also involving the expense of a chorus was made and released during the heart of the economic depression.


Click here to listen to (download) the 1932 Scriabin 'Le poème de feu'


Stokowski and Schoenberg's Gurre-lieder


Stokowski had an early interest in the music of Arnold Schoenberg.  He gave the US premiere of Schoenberg's 1928 Variations for Orchestra opus 31 on 18 October 1929.


Oliver Daniel in his definitive biography of Stokowski wrote concerning Gurre-lieder:


Shortly after the performance of Variations, Stoki began to explore all the possibilities of a massive performance on the scale of the Symphony of a Thousand [Stokowski's impressively successful 1916 US premiere of Mahler's Symphony no 8]. Schoenberg had assigned the work [Gurre-lieder] to Universal Editions in Vienna, which was represented in the United States by Associated Music Publishers. Stoki had obtained a score and Arthur Judson negotiated the conditions for the first and subsequent performances with AMP.


On November 30, 1931, Stoki received and indignant letter from Schoenberg who was then residing in Barcelona.


"Highly esteemed Mr. Stokowski, I am still angry with you because you returned my score of 'Von Heute auf Morgen'...I was just reading that you are scheduling the Gurrelieder in New York or Philadelphia and am very surprised that neither you not U.E. [Universal Edition] let me know about it, although I had previously informed you that I reserved with the publisher the right to conduct the premiere myself..."


Obviously, Schoenberg had no understanding of the music business in America. If he had insisted on conducting the American premiere himself, years might have gone by before it would happen.


As Oliver Daniel wrote, it would seem that Stokowski hoped that Gurre-lieder might be the major success as the US premiere of the Mahler Symphony of a Thousand had been in 1916.  Perhaps this also aided Stokowski in convincing the Board of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the management of RCA Victor to cooperate with the Gurre-lieder project.

1932 - Schoenberg - Gurre-lieder - Live Performance of 11 April 1932



    Arnold Schoenberg and his Gurre-lieder score  

So, in 1932, which was one of the most depressed year of the Great Depression, Stokowski convinced the Board of the Philadelphia Orchestra to mount the monumental Gurre-lieder of Arnold Schoenberg.  Even more surprising, he convinced Victor to record the work.  The music of Schoenberg was perhaps not as widely avoided by the public as it was later to become.  Rather, it was unknown.  Yet this famous recording was artistically a great success, and over the years, economically a moderate success.  Since its issue in 1933, it has been nearly continuously available in 78, 33 1/3, and CD formats.  It is also an excellent performance which is still a reference today.  An added advantage is that it is sonically one of the most successful Philadelphia Orchestra recordings of the 1930s.  It also has the benefit of being recorded in an acoustically fine location (the old Metropolitan Opera House in Philadelphia) rather than the acoustically dead Camden Church Studio.


Having listened to this performance many times, including during restoration, I believe this recording to be perhaps the finest yet made of this massive work.  If it is any indication, I was not particularly an admirer of Gurre-lieder, but after many listenings, I have grown to enjoy and admire this work.  The presence of Stokowski's recording over so many years, and in so many formats has likely had a similar impact on many other listeners.



Victor's 1932 Recording of Gurre-lieder


This work was recorded by Victor during three performances on Friday, Saturday and Monday, 8, 9 and 11 April 1932.  Ward Marston writes of these recordings in his notes for the beautiful and superbly done Andante album 4978 containing this work.  He reports that 25 78 RPM sides were recorded during the April 8 premiere, using two cutting turntables alternating sides.  However, this April 8 recording was not complete, stopped presumably due to difficulties in the performance.  Ward Marston reports that the April 9, 1932 performance was recorded in Victor's new 33 1/3 RPM format (later issued in Victor long playing album LM-127 on 5 long-play disks).  The Victor recording of the April 11, 1932 performance was used in the eventual 78 RPM issue of this work in Victor Musical Masterpiece album M-127. 


The selection of Schoenberg's Gurrelieder by Stokowski reflects two interests of Stokowski during his career.  First is the attraction of producing a massive, new and unknown score to generate public excitement and to showcase a new work as well as the orchestra.  It was said at the time that Stokowski was seeking to reproduce the dramatic success of his 1916 US premiere of the massive Mahler Symphony no 8 , the 'Symphony of a Thousand'. 


Second was Stokowski's attraction to the lushly scored music of the late romantic era, of which Gurrelieder was one of the last examples.  This was linked also to the story of a legendary love.  Gurrelieder is based on the Danish poem by Jens Peter Jacobsen (1847-1885) recounting the tragic medieval love story of the Danish King Valdemar IV (1320-1375), with Gurrelieder having clear reflections of the love story of Wagner's 'Tristan und Isolde'.  In fact, as we see below, Stokowski did in fact also record extensive excerpts from 'Tristan und Isolde' during this month of April, 1932.

This April 11, 1932 performance, as well as the April 8 and 9 performances took place in the Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House, so as to accommodate the large forces, said to number 532 musicians, and an expanded audience.  The recording reproduced here is from the April 11, 1932 performance.  The performers were:


Jeanette Vreeland, soprano - Tove

Rose Bampton, mezzo-soprano - Waldtaube

Paul Althouse, tenor - Waldemar

Robert Bette, tenor - Klaus-Narr/Klaus the Jester
Abrasha Robofsky, bass - Bauer/Farmer

Benjamin de Loache - narrator

Princeton Glee Club, Alexander Russell, director

Fortnightly Club - Henry Gordon Thunder, director

Mendelssohn Club - Bruce Carey, director

The Chorus of the Philadelphia Orchestra - an eight part mixed chorus


A note on the choruses: Stokowski does not seem to have been as scrupulous as might be the practice today as to the quality of the singing of his choruses, even though early in his career, he was a church chorus master.  However, the chorus preparation and performances here seem, by today's standards, to verge on the amateur.  this is in contrast with the professionalism and excellence required by Stokowski from his other musicians.



This recording was issued by Victor in album M-127 on fourteen 12 inch (30 cm) Red Seal disks, 27 sides, plus one side of Stokowski's analysis.  Disks were Victor 7524, 7525, 7526, 7527, 7528, 7529, 7530, 7531, 7532, 7533, 7534, 7535, 7536 and 7537.  In other sets, the disk numbers were Victor 11-8061, 11-8062, 11-8063, 11-8064, 11-8065, 11-8066, 11-8067, 11-8068, 11-8069, 11-8070, 11-8071, 11-8072, 11-8073 and 11-8074.  In Europe, HMV issued the recording on DB 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, 1773, 1774, 1775, 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, 1780, 1781 and 1782.


The mp3 music sections of the recording are organized as follows:


Part 1


1.  Orchestral prelude


Gurrelieder opens with lyric music evocative of a peaceful, sylvan setting of stillness and repose.  This is late romantic music, with no flavor of the later twelve-tone style Schoenberg was to adopt.


Click here to listen to (download) Gurrelieder Part 1 - Prelude


2.  Waldemar and Tove:

II. Nun dampft die Dammrung jeden Ton - Now twilight muffles every sound (Waldemar)

III. O, wenn des Mondes Strahlen leise gleiten - Oh, when the moonbeams glide softly (Tove)

IV. Ross! Mein Ross! Was schleichst du so trag! - Steed! My steed! Why do you crawl so! (Waldemar)

V. Sterne jubeln, das Meer, es leuchtet - Stars rejoice, the sea gleams (Tove)

Gurrelieder opens with music of peace and repose.  'Now twilight muffles every sound' sings King Waldemar, who then goes to the Castle Gurre to visit his beloved Tove.  Waldemar urges his horse to take him more rapidly to Tove.

Click here to listen to (download) Gurrelieder Part 1 - 2. Waldemar and Tove - II, III, IV, V


3.  Waldemar and Tove:

VI. So tanzen die Engel vor Gottes Thron nicht - The angels never danced so before God's throne (Waldemar)

VII. Nun sag' ich dir zum ersten Mal - Now I say to you for the first time (Tove) 

VIII. Es ist Mitternachtszeit - It is the hour of Midnight (Waldemar)

Because of Tove's love, Waldemar sings that the world dances more beautifully than the angels dance before God, and Tove's love sings more beautifully than the harp. 


Schoenberg's rich, lyrical music here is both inspiring and accessible, so different from the later, difficult Schoenberg music which generated the public's antipathy to Schoenberg's music in general.  This antipathy, which seems not to have lessened much over the last 90 years, is a reaction to the more severe and sometimes arid dodecaphonic style Schoenberg adopted after World War 1, and for which he is knowsn.  These are Schoenberg's compositions based on tone rows of 12 unrepeated notes (for example, in the Variations for Orchestra opus 31 of 1928).


Click here to listen to (download) Gurrelieder Part 1 - 3. Waldemar and Tove - VI, VII, VIII


4.  Tove and Waldemar:

IX. Du sendest mir einen Liebesblick - You cast me a loving glance (Tove)

X. Du wunderliche Tove! - Wonderful Tove! (Waldemar)

We witness the deep and unfulfilled love between King Waldemar and Tove in this lush music.


Click here to listen to (download) Gurrelieder Part 1 - 4. Tove and Waldemar - IX, X


5.  XI. Orchestral Interlude


Click here to listen to (download) Gurrelieder Part 1 - 5. Orchestral Interlude


6.  XII. Tauben von Gurre!  Sorge qualt mich - Doves of Gurre! Full of sorrow I am - Song of the Wood Dove (Wood Dove)


The Song of the Wood Dove, one of the most famous of Schoenberg's compositions, tells Waldemar of Tove's tragic death at the orders of Waldemar’s jealous, vengeful wife Queen Helwig. 


Click here to listen to (download) Gurrelieder Part 1 - 6. Song of the Wood Dove

Stokowski 1938

Part 2


7.  XIII. Orchestral Prelude and Herrgott, weisst du, was du tatest - Lord God, do you know what you did? (Waldmar)


In this short Part 2, following an orchestral interlude which evokes a sad and pensive mood, followed by music of tragic turbulence, Waldemar condemns God for cruelty because of Tove's death.  Waldemar sings: ...Lord God, your heavenly hosts endlessly sing your praise, but you badly need somebody to tell you where you are wrong....'


Click here to listen to (download) Gurrelieder Part 2 - 7. Waldemar condemns God


Part 3


8.  Die Walde Jagd - The Wild Hunt - Part 1


In Part 3, particularly dramatic is the 'Wild Hunt'.  In death, the hunter King Waldemar is condemned to forever come from the shadows each night to awaken his vassals from the dead.  Each night, they pursue a wild hunt across the skies, terrorizing the living.  The Farmer sings of this terror, and advises all to bar their doors.  Unfortunately, the bass, Abrasha Robofsky, as the Farmer, is the weakest of Stokowski's soloists, and fails to make the most of this aria.


The score in the Wild Hunt is dramatic, with deep tubas and music evoking chains, swords and shields as the dead arise to take to the hunt.


XIV. Erwacht, König Waldemars Manne wert! - Awake, Waldemar's worthy men! (Waldemar)

XV. Deckel des Sarges klappert und klappt - The coffin lid rattles and bangs (Bauer/Farmer)

XVI. Gegrüsst, o König, an Gurre-Seestrand! - Hail, oh King, on the shores of Gurre! (Waldemar's Men)

XVII. Mit Toves Stimme flüstert der Wald - With Tove’s voice the forest whispers (Waldemar)

Click here to listen to (download) Gurrelieder Part 3 - 8. The Wild Hunt - Part 1


9.  Die Walde Jagd - The Wild Hunt - Part 2


XVIII. Ein seltsamer Vogel ist so 'n Aal - A strange bird is the eel (Klaus-Narr/Klaus-Jester)

XIX. Du strenger Richter droben - Judge, so harshly reigning above (Waldemar)

XX. Der Hahn erhebt den Kopf zur Kraht - The cock lifts his head and crows (Waldemar's Men)


Stokowski's performance fully realizes the grotesque humor of Klaus, the Jester, in his song about 'a strange bird is the eel' and his experiences with King Waldemar.  Klaus the Jester is compelled each night to rise from the dead to pursue the wild hunt across the skies.  The tenor, Robert Bette, delivers a fine performance of this macabre spectacle, inspiring many memorable performances in later years by others in this role.


Click here to listen to (download) Gurrelieder Part 3 - 9. The Wild Hunt - Part 2


10.  Des Sommerwindes wilde Jagd - The Summer Wind’s wild hunt

XXI. Orchestral prelude

XXII. Herr Gänsefuss, Frau Gänsekraut - Sir Goosefoot, dear Mother Goose (Speaker)

XXIII. Seht die Sonne - See, the sun rises (Chorus)


In this section, following the account of Waldemar's constant, unfulfilled nightly search for his beloved Tove, Gurrelieder ends with a beautifully evocative conclusion picturing the surging of the Summer Wind in the forest in the morning.  The Speaker and mixed choruses provide an ending which evokes a vision of the wild wind sweeping away at each sunrise the tragedy of the previous day.  And so concludes Gurrelieder in a wash of sound written with genius by Schoenberg, and produced with genius by Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra in this historic recording.


(Note that in section XXII - 'Herr Gänsefuss, Frau Gänsekraut', or 'Sir Goosefoot, dear Mother Goose', the narrator, Benjamin de Loache makes a mistaken early entry.  This mistake, not present in the April 9,1932 long-play recording, remains uncorrected in the mp3 reproduction, below.)


Click here to listen to (download) Gurrelieder Part 3 - 10. Des Sommerwindes wilde Jagd


For both the 78 RPM recording in M-127 and the 33 1/3 RPM long-play version in album LM-127, Stokowski recorded an analysis of Gurrelieder.  The LP version of Stokowski's analysis was of course longer, but not really more informative.  Stokowski's analysis shows not only his conviction as to the greatness of this music, but effectively provides the new listener (which was virtually everyone) with insight into the work, and encouraged the interest to listen.  Click on the link below to listen to Stokowski's stimulating analysis, with musical examples played by Sylvan Levin. 


The analysis was recorded in the Camden Church Studios (probably) on 15 April 1932.  This 78 RPM side was included on Victor disk 7524 in M-127, matrix CVE 72621-1.


Click here to listen to (download) the Gurrelieder Analysis by Stokowski

1932 - Wagner - Tristan und Isolde - Orchestral Excerpts Arranged and Transcribed by Stokowski


On April 16, 1932, Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra recorded just one work, but a lengthy one: Stokowski's 'Symphonic Synthesis' of Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde, composed between 1856 and 1859.  This recording on six 78 RPM sides also required a re-take recording session on April 23, 1932.  These recordings were made in the acoustically dead Camden Church Studio number 1, so I have added some acoustic ambience to the transcribed recording.



Stokowski's score of his orchestration - transcription of Tristan und Isolde

(note the change from 'arranged' to 'freely transcribed' made by Leopold Stokowski)  

This recording was issued on four 12 inch (30 cm) Victor Red Seal disks, numbers 7621, 7622, 7623, and 7624 in Musical Masterpiece album M-154.  In Europe, the recording was on HMV DB 1911, DB 1912, DB 1913 and DB 1914.  Matrices were: CS 72062, CS 72063, CS 72065, CS 72066, CS 72068, CS 72069, CS 72071, and CS 72075.


Click here to listen to (download) the 1933 Prelude to Act 1 of Tristan und Isolde


Click here to listen to (download) the the 1933 Potion music of Act 1 of Tristan und Isolde


Click here to listen to (download) the the 1933 Liebesnacht and Liebestod music of Tristan und Isolde (awaiting better source)

1932 - Sibelius - Symphony no 4 opus 63


Recorded 23 April 1932 in Camden Church Studio number 1, Stokowski's recording of the Sibelius - Symphony no 4 in a minor, opus 63 was the first recording of this work.  This performance is intense, brooding and beautifully played.  The recording is satisfactory, in spite of the reduced orchestra complement of less than 50 musicians and recording in the smaller, acoustically muffled Camden Church Studio number 1.


This recording was issued on four Victor 12 inch (30 cm) Red Seal records in album M-160.  Individual disks were Victor 7683, 7684, 7685, 7686, matrices CS 72076, CS 72077, CS 72079, CS 72080, CS 72081, CS 72082, CS 72083, CS 72085, CS 72086


This recording demonstrates that Stokowski was the peer of Sir Thomas Beecham and of Serge Koussevitzky, the two other leading Sibelius interpreters of the era (not to mention Sibelius's colleague Georg Schnéevoigt, 1872-1947) in performance of this music.  Have a listen to the mp3 files below to experience this pioneering recording, by clicking on the links below.


Click here to listen to (download) the 1932 Sibelius Symphony no 4 - movement 1


Click here to listen to (download) the 1932 Sibelius Symphony no 4 - movement 2


Click here to listen to (download) the 1932 Sibelius Symphony no 4 - movement 3


Click here to listen to (download) the 1932 Sibelius Symphony no 4 - movement 4

1932 - Arcady Dubensky - The Raven


Arcady Dubensky was born in Vyatka, Russia, in what is now the Republic of Tatarstan in the Russian Confederation on October 15, 1890.  He studied violin at the Moscow Conservatory beginning in about 1900, and graduated in 1909 1.  At the Moscow Conservatory, Dubensky studied violin with Jan Hrimaly (1844-1915) and counterpoint with Alexander Ilyinsky (1859-1920) 2.  Arcady Dubensky was Concertmaster of the Moscow Imperial Opera Orchestra from about 1910-1919.  Following the Russian Revolution, Dubensky went to Constantinople, Turkey.  Dubensky then made his was to the U.S. in 1921.  Arcady Dubensky joined the violin section of the New York Symphony under Walter Damrosch.  Dubensky was then a violinist in the New York Philharmonic, following the New York Symphony Society integration into the Philharmonic in 1928.  Dubensky became a US citizen in 1927.  Dubensky remained with the violin section of the New York Philharmonic until the end of the 1952-1953 season.  In the 1930s and 1940s, Dubensky concentrated on his musical compositions, which were extensive, and sometimes for unusual musical groupings (e.g. Piece for eighteen toy trumpets, Prelude and Fugue for four Bassoons) 2


Arcady Dubensky's work for speaker and orchestra, The Raven is based on the Edgar Allan Poe poem of that name, published in January 1845.  Dubensky's work was written in about 1931 and published in 1933.  The work is for speaker and symphony orchestra.  In this recording, the speaker is Benjamin deLoache (1906-1994), a singer who was one of Stokowski's favored colleagues.  In this recording, Benjamin deLoache declaims the poem as a speaker soloist with the Orchestra.  Dubensky's musical style could be described as neo-romantic and is not at all avant-garde.  The spoken performance by de Loache is somewhat histrionic, but not quite 'over the top'.


Stokowski also performed Dubensky's 'Fugue for 18 Violins' with the Philadelphia Orchestra in April, 1932 2.  Arcady Dubensky died in Tenafly, New Jersey (suburban New York City) in October, 1966.


Victor "Picture Disks"


RCA Victor launched a series of "Picture Disks" in late 1932, probably to increase sales in this depression year.  However, the venture seems to have been unsuccessful, since these picture disks are rare, indicating low sales.


Tim Brooks in his very interesting review of the book "Picture Disks of the World" 3 states that states that 30 Victor Picture Disks from the 1930s had been identified so far.  These discs are rare, all now can fetch very high prices from collectors, in the hundreds of dollars.  Apparently, one of the most valuable is the Victor Picture Disk devoted to Caruso, disk 17-3001.


The 1932 Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra recording of Dubensky's The Raven was also issued as a 'Picture Disk' in late 1932.   The format was a 10 inch (25 cm) 78 RPM disk molded from a clear plastic material, with a paper laminated inside the disk.  The laminated paper had an illustration of a raven, and the words of the Edgar Allan Poe poem.  The issue was on Victor disks number L-2000 and L-2001, laminated Picture Disks, matrices BSHQ 69483-1, BSHQ 69484-1, BSHQ 69485-1, BSHQ 69486-1.  According to Ward Marston's excellent restoration work, the original recording was made on sound film, and then transcribed to the Picture Disk format. 

The Raven

      Victor Picture Disc L-2000 and L-2001 of The Raven  

The material on which Picture Disks were stamped was inferior as to reproduction, producing a noisy surface.  As a result, the Picture Disk sound is noisier to contemporaneous 78 RPM Victor Red Seal recordings.


This recording was also issued as a Victor "Program Transcription" long playing 33 1/3 RPM disc, catalogue L-1006.  This was another in Victor's efforts in 1932 to establish its new series of long playing records and the associated playing equipment.


Raven label

  Victor "Program Transcription" 33 1/3 RPM disc catalogue L-1006  

Click here to listen to (download) the 1932 recording of 'The Raven'

Note on listening to the Stokowski recordings


The recordings in this site are files in mp3 format (128 mbps) encoded from my collection.  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 (usually) 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 du Printemps part 1 is 14MB and Le Sacre du Printemps 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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1 Page 76.  Evens, David.  The Lighter Classics in Music  Arco Publishing Company.  New York, New York.  1961.
2  page 188-190.  Howard, John Tasker.  Our Contemporary Composers - American Music in the Twentieth Century.  Pierce Press.  March, 2007.  ISBN-13: 9781406742749.
3   Lindsay, Joe with Peter Bukoski and Marc Grobman.  Picture Discs of the World. Price Guide and International Reference Book For Picture Records: 1923-1989.  BIOdisc.  Scottsdale, Arizona.  1990.  ISBN 0-9617347-2-8.
4 Samson, Jim.  Music in Transition: A Study of Tonal Expansion and Atonality, 1900–1920.  W.W. Norton & Company. New York, New York.  ISBN 0-393-02193-9.
5  pages 2-11.  Ellwood, Robert S.  Theosophy: A Modern Expression of the Wisdom of the Ages  Quest Book Series.  ISBN-13: 9780835606073.
6  pages 98-126.  Faubion Bower, Faubion.  Scriabin, a Biography.  Scriabin’s notebooks, 1905-1906.  Dover Publications.  New York, New, York.  2011.  ISBN-13: 9780486288970
7  pages 229-234.  Daniel, Oliver.  Stokowski A Counterpoint of View  Dodd, Mead & Company.  New York.  1982.  ISBN 0-396-07936-9