“The Philadelphia Sound” was developed by Eugene Ormandy, conductor of the Philadephia Orchestra from 1936 to 1980. To overcome the acoustics of the Academy of Music where the Philadelphia Orchestra performed, Mr. Ormandy developed a lush sound through legato phrasings, accentuations, and tone. “My sound is what it is because I was a violinist,” he said. “Any conductor reflects the instrument he played.”
The Philadelphia Sound is preserved for us in this 1979 performance by the Philadelphia Orchestra of Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliette”. From the 18:25 mark on (for those who may not have the time to listen to the full masterpiece) the “Philadelphia Sound” couldn’t be better represented, with the full compliment of strings arriving at the 19:26 mark. The image of two souls departing this earthly confine to their eternal home isn’t depicted more mystically or beautifully than in these couple of minutes from Tchaikovsky’s seraphic musical rendition of Romeo and Juliet, and Mr. Ormandy’s interpretation of this masterpiece.
Tchaikovsky Romeo & Juliette (Ormandy,1979)
Photo Credit: By photographer-Adrian Siegel, for the Philadelphia Orchestra (eBay item photo front photo back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons