National Philharmonic Orchestra



Active: 1972 -
Like the RCA Victor and Columbia Symphony Orchestras stateside, the National Philharmonic Orchestra (sometimes "of London," sometime not) was a nom du disque. It grew out of the eponymous RCA Orchestra based in London that producer-arranger-conductor Charles Gerhardt (1928-1999) assembled after 1960. After several years at American RCA as an engineer and editor, Gerhardt had been sent to England by George Marek, then the director of Red Seal Read more artists and repertoire, to produce recordings for the Readers Digest label, an RCA ally at the time (as was Decca/London). For these recordings, Gerhardt engaged Kenneth Wilkerson as his recording engineer, and the late Sir Thomas Beecham's Royal Philharmonic. His conductors in the early 1960s included Fritz Reiner, René Leibowitz, Sir John Barbirolli, Jascha Horenstein, Massimo Freccia, and on occasions Gerhardt himself (whom Toscanini had admired and encouraged in his last years).

For projects of lighter music, however, Gerhardt assembled freelance musicians along with players from various London orchestras -- always a plenitude in the U.K. capital, where stringent U.S. union restrictions did not apply and salaries were cheaper, with fewer permanent jobs available nationwide. Early on he called these recording orchestras the London Promenade (basically London Philharmonic personnel) or the RCASO. In addition to concert, concerto, and bon-bon repertoire, Gerhardt arranged and conducted ten stereo LPs of film music for the Digest that were released in two volumes. Their quality so impressed Marek's successor, R. Peter Munves, that he commissioned Gerhardt to make an LP of The Classic Film Scores of Erich Wolfgang Korngold for RCA's own Red Seal label. Throughout what became a series of 15 Classic Film Scores, Gerhardt's producer was the late George Korngold, son of the composer, to whom concertmaster Sidney Sax had introduced him.

Enter the ad hoc National Philharmonic...Under Gerhardt's direction they played his arrangements of motion picture music by Max Steiner (numerically the all-time champ), Bernard Herrmann, Franz Waxman, Miklos Rozsa, Dmitri Tiomkin, John Williams (all three Stars Wars scores), Alfred Newman, Victor Young, John Barry, Leonard Rosenman, and of course Korngold.

Subsequently Chesky Records leased some of the earlier Readers Digest material for a superbly remastered and custom-pressed series of discs, on one of which the name National Philharmonic first appeared, dated 1967. The actual year of origin, however, seems to have been 1972, starting with the RCA Korngold collection. That trailblazing film series was completed by 1985, although Gerhardt himself recorded a Wagner collection with the NPO for Chesky as late as 1995.

The National Philharmonic, however, ceased to be RCA's or the producer's personal orchestra...Thus, Richard Bonynge conducted the NPO extensively for Decca/London recordings of opera and ballet; so did Riccardo Chailly, Bernard Herrmann, Nicola Rescigno, Gianandrea Gavazzeni, even Sir Georg Solti. James Levine led operas and recital discs for RCA and Sony. Also for Sony, Leopold Stokowski led the NPO in final-period recordings till the day before his death in 1977, at the age of 95.

After his farewell Wagner CD, Gerhardt retired to California, where he died four years later. From the available evidence, his informal NPO also gave up the ghost after 25 years, when the classical market went soft worldwide in the later '90s, and London players with permanent posts clung to them like becalmed sailors, waiting for a breeze to rescue them from irrelevance as a professional breed. Read less

There are 249 National Philharmonic Orchestra recordings available.

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Formats & Featured


Active: 1972 -
Like the RCA Victor and Columbia Symphony Orchestras stateside, the National Philharmonic Orchestra (sometimes "of London," sometime not) was a nom du disque. It grew out of the eponymous RCA Orchestra based in London that producer-arranger-conductor Charles Gerhardt (1928-1999) assembled after 1960. After several years at American RCA as an engineer and editor, Gerhardt had been sent to England by George Marek, then the director of Red Seal Read more
Act I: Una vela!
Act I: Esultate!
Act I: Fuoco di gioia!
Act I: Roderigo, beviam!
Act I: Inaffia l'ugola!
Act I: Capitano, v'attende
Act I: Olà! Che avvien?
Act I: Già nella notte
Act I: Quando narravi
Act I: Venga la morte!
Act II: Non ti cruciar
Act II: Credo in un Dio crudel (Iago's Credo)
Act II: Eccola
Act II: Ciò m'accora
Act II: Dove guardi splendono
Act II: D'un uom che geme
Act II: Desdemona rea!
Act II: Ora e per sempre addio
Act II: Era la notte
Act II: Sì, pel ciel
Act III: Introduction
Act III: La vedetta del porto
Act III: Dio ti giocondi, o sposo
Act III: Dio! Mi potevi scagliar
Act III: Vieni, l'aula è deserta
Act III: Questa è una ragna
Act III: Come la ucciderò?
Act III: Viva il Leon di San Marco!
Act III: A terra! ... sì ... nel livido fango
Act IV: Era più calmo?
Act IV: Mia madre aveva una povera ancella (Widow Song)
Act IV: Ave Maria
Act IV: Chi è là? Otello?
Act IV: Calma come la tomba
Act IV: Niun mi tema
Feste! Pane! Feste!
E cantan su lor tombe!
L'ora non giunse ancor
Voce di donna ... a te questo rosario
Enzo Grimaldo, Principe di Santafior
Maledici? sta ben
O monumento!
Carneval! Baccanal!
Ho! he! ho! he! Fissa il timone!
Pescator, affonda l'esca
Sia gloria ai canti dei navaganti!
Cielo e mar!
Ma chi vien?...Oh! la sinistra voce!
Laggiù fra le nebbe remote
Stella del marinar!
E un anatema!
Il mio braccia t'afferra!
Sì, morir ella de'!
Là turbini e farnetichi
Qui chiamata m'avete?... Bella così, madonna
La gaia canzone fa l'eco languir
Benvenuti, messeri!
Grazie vi rendo
Dance of the Hours
Vieni! Lasciami! ohimè!
Preludio ... Nessun v'ha visto?
Ecco il velen di Laura
Ah, il cor mi si ravviva
Ora posso morir
Così mantieni il patto?
Les Toréadors. Allegro giocoso (Introduction to Act I)
Prélude. Andante moderato (Prelude to Act I)
Aragonaise. Allegro vivo (Prelude to Act IV)
Intermezzo. Andantino quasi Allegretto (Prelude to Act III)
Seguedille. Allegretto (Act I)
Les dragons d'Alcala. Allegro moderato (Prelude to Act II)
Marche des Contrebandiers. Allegro moderato (Act III)
Habanera. Allegretto quasi Andantino (Act I)
La Garde montante. Allegro (Act I)
Danse bohème. Andante quasi Allegretto (Act II)
I. Prelude. Allegro deciso (Tempo di Marcia) - Andantino
II. Minuetto. Allegro giocoso
III. Adagietto. Adagio
IV. Carillon. Allegro moderato - Andantino - Tempo I
I. Pastorale. Andante sostenuto assai - Andantino - Tempo I
III. Menuet. Andantino quasi Allegretto
IV. Farandole. Allegro deciso (Tempo di Marcia) - Allegro vivo e deciso
I. Andante, ma non troppo; Allegro energico
II. Andante (ma non troppo lento)
III. Scherzo. Allegro
IV. Finale (Quasi una Fantasia). Andante
Introduction (Prologue)
Act III: Polacca
Pas de Six (Prolgue)
Act II: Scene; Danse des Duchesses; Danse des Marquises
Act II: Farandole; Danse - Tempo di Mazurka
Act III: Pas de Quatre
Act III: Pas de Caratère - Chaperon Rouge et de Loup
Act III: Pas de Quatre
Act III: Coda - The Three Ivans
Act III: Pas de Deux
Act III: Finale - Tempo di Mazurka; Apothéose
I. Allegro vivace
II. Andante con moto
III. Con moto moderato
IV. Saltarello: Presto
I - Allegro vivo
II - Adagio
III - Allegro vivace
IV - Allegro vivace
I. Allegro non troppo
II. Adagio non troppo
III. Allegretto grazioso
IV. Allegro con spirito
Verdi: La traviata / Act 1 - Prelude
Verdi: La traviata / Act 1 - "Dell'invito trascorsa è già l'ora"
Verdi: La traviata / Act 1 - "Libiamo ne'lieti calici" (Brindisi)
Verdi: La traviata / Act 1 - "Che è ciò?"
Verdi: La traviata / Act 1 - "Un dì felice, eterea...Si ridesta in ciel l'aurora"
Verdi: La traviata / Act 1 - "E strano!" - "Ah, fors'è lui"
Verdi: La traviata / Act 1 - "Follie! Delirio vano è questo!" - "Sempre libera"
Verdi: La traviata / Act 2 - "Lunge da lei"
Verdi: La traviata / Act 2 - "De' miei bollenti spiriti...Annina, donde vieni?"
Verdi: La traviata / Act 2 - "O mio rimorso!...Alfredo?"
Verdi: La traviata / Act 2 - "Pura, siccome un angelo...Un dì, quando le veneri"
Verdi: La traviata / Act 2 - "Dite alla giovine...Non amarlo ditegli"
Verdi: La traviata / Act 2 - "Dammi tu forza, o ciel!...Ah, vive sol quel core"
Verdi: La traviata / Act 2 - "Di Provenza il mar...Né risponde d'un padre..."
Verdi: La traviata / Act 2 - "No, non udrai rimproveri"
Verdi: La traviata / Act 2 - "Avrem lieta di maschere la notte...Di Madridi"
Verdi: La traviata / Act 2 - "Alfredo! Voi!...Or tutti a me...Ogni suo aver"
Verdi: La traviata / Act 2 - "Di sprezzo degno...Alfredo, Alfredo, di questo core"
Verdi: La traviata / Act 3 - Prelude. "Annina? Comandate?
Verdi: La traviata / Act 3 - "Tenesta la promessa" - "Attendo, né a me giungon mai" - "Addio del passato"
Verdi: La traviata / Act 3 - "Largo a quadrupede"
Verdi: La traviata / Act 3 - "Signora..." "Che t'accade?"
Verdi: La traviata / Act 3 - Parigi, o cara...Ah! Gran Dio!
Verdi: La traviata / Act 3 - Ah, Violetta!...Se una pudica vergine
Puccini: Tosca / Act 1 - "Ah! Finalmente!"
Puccini: Tosca / Act 1 - "E sempre lava!" - "Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae" - "Che fai?"
Puccini: Tosca / Act 1 - "Dammi i colori!" - "Recondita armonia" (Aria)
Puccini: Tosca / Act 1 - Voi! Cavaradossi!
Puccini: Tosca / Act 1 - "Mario! Mario! Mario!" "Son qui!" - "Mia gelosa!"
Puccini: Tosca / Act 1 - "E buona la mia Tosca" - "Siam soli?"
Puccini: Tosca / Act 1 - "Sommo giubilo, Eccelenza!"
Puccini: Tosca / Act 1 - "Un tal baccano in chiesa! Bel rispetto!"
Puccini: Tosca / Act 1 - Or tutto è chiaro ... Mario? Mario?
Puccini: Tosca / Act 1 - "Tre sbirri... Una carozza... Presto" - Te Deum
Puccini: Tosca / Act 2 - "Tosca è un buon falco!"
Puccini: Tosca / Act 2 - "Ha più forte sapore" - "Spoletta è giunto"
Puccini: Tosca / Act 2 - O galantuomo, come andò la caccia?
Puccini: Tosca / Act 2 - Ov'è Angelotti? ... Ed or fra noi parliam
Puccini: Tosca / Act 2 - "Sciarrone: che dice il cavalier?"
Puccini: Tosca / Act 2 - "Orsù, Tosca, parlate." - "Mario, consenti ch'io parli?"
Puccini: Tosca / Act 2 - "Floria..." - "Amore..."
Puccini: Tosca / Act 2 - Vittoria! Vittoria!
Puccini: Tosca / Act 2 - Quanto? Quanto? Il prezzo!
Puccini: Tosca / Act 2 - "Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore"
Puccini: Tosca / Act 2 - Chi è là?
Puccini: Tosca / Act 2 - "Io tenni la promessa..." - "E qual via scegliete?" - "Tosca, finalmente mia!"
Puccini: Tosca / Act 3 - Prelude - "Io de' sospiri"
Puccini: Tosca / Act 3 - "Mario Cavaradossi?" - "A voi"
Puccini: Tosca / Act 3 - "E lucevan le stelle"
Puccini: Tosca / Act 3 - "Franchigia a Floria Tosca"
Puccini: Tosca / Act 3 - O dolci mani! ... L'ora! Son pronto!
Puccini: Tosca / Act 3 - "Come è lunga l'attesta!"
Puccini: Tosca / Act 3 - "Presto, su! Mario!"
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Prologue - Dignitaires! Guerriers!
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 1 - Roland! Roland! Comme ce nom me trouble
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 1 - Parséis! - O ma soeur
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 1 - Ah! trop malheureuse Esclarmonde!
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 1 - On vient, ma soeur!
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 1 - C'en est fait!
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 1 - Esprits de l'air! Esprits de onde!
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 1 - Roland! Roland! Roland!
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 2 - "Ah! Ah!"
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 2 - Où suis-je?
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 2 - Sois bénie, ô magie
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 2 - Voici le divin moment
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 2 - Hélas! Ma bien-aimée!
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 2 - Ecoute encor!
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 2 - O glaive, à ton aspect
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 3 - O Blois! Misérable cité!
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 3 - Kyrie eleison
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 3 - Dieu de miséricorde
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 3 - Noble héros!
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 3 - Gloire! Chantons notre victoire! A toi, Roland
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 3 - Gloire! Chantons notre victoire! Gloire à Roland!
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 3 - La nuit bientôt sera venue
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 3 - Mon fils, je te bénis!
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 3 - Je ne m'appartiens plus
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 3 - "A genoux!"
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 3 - Ah! Roland!
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 3 - Regarde-les, ces yeux plus purs
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 3 - Non! Tu ne seras pas à mes tranports ravie!
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 4 - Entendez tous
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 4 - Oui, le délai marqué s'avance
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 4 - Les temps vont s'accomplir
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 4 - Elle a voulu choisir
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 4 - D'une longue torpeur
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 4 - Où suis-je maintenant?
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 4 - Donc, pour sauver la vie
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 4 - Il vient! Ah! quel supplice!
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Act 4 - Ne plus te voir!
Massenet: Esclarmonde / Epilogue - Dignitaires! Guerriers! Sous ces augustes voûtes
O Lola chái la, di latti la cammisa
Act: Gli aranci olezzano
Act: Dite, mamma Lucia
Act: Il cavallo scalpita
Act: Beato voi, compar Alfio
Act: Regina coeli, laetare - Alleluja!
Act: Voi lo sapete
Act: Tu qui, Santuzza?
Act: Bada, Santuzza, schiavo non sono
Act: Fior die giaggiolo, gli angeli belli stanno
Act: Ah, lo vedi, che hai tu detto?
Act: Turiddu, ascolta!
Act: Oh, il Signore vi manda, compar Alfio
Act: Il ver
Act: Intermezzo sinfonico
Act: A casa, a casa, amici
Act: Intanto, amici, qua, beviamone un bicchiere
Act: A voi tutti salute!
Act: Compar Turiddu
Act: Mamma, mamma ... quel vino è generoso
I. Lento - Allegro moderato
II. Adagio ma non troppo
III. Allegro

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