National Philharmonic Orchestra

Composers

Biography

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
Puccini: Tosca / Rescigno, Freni, Pavarotti, Milnes, National Philharmonic
Release Date: 11/21/2011   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 001615202   Number of Discs: 2
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Browse 1-25 of 280 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    111 Classics for Christmas
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002179902 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Leroy Anderson,  Leopold Mozart,  Johnny Marks,  John Frederic Coots  ... 
    Performer:  Helen Donath,  Anna Reynolds,  Christa Ludwig,  Maria Teresa Garatti  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler,  Karl Richter,  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir David Willcocks  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir  ... 
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  • 2.
    Classic Duets / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002200802 Release Date: 11/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Pietro Mascagni,  Umberto Giordano,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Luciano Pavarotti,  June Anderson,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Bartoletti,  Riccardo Chailly,  Sir Georg Solti,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 3.
    Phase 4 Stereo - Stereo Concert Series
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002188302 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 41
    Composer:  John Philip Sousa,  Charles A. Zimmerman,  Francis S. Van Boskerck,  George Norton  ... 
    Performer:  Stanley Black,  David Parkhouse,  Alan Loveday,  Robert Merrill  ... 
    Conductor:  Rodney Bashford,  Stanley Black,  Bernard Herrmann,  Edward Downes  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grenadier Guards Band,  London Festival Orchestra,  London Festival Recording Ensemble  ... 
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  • 4.
    James Galway - The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 302633 Release Date: 09/16/2014   Number of Discs: 73
    Composer:  Arthur Smith,  Various,  Traditional,  Stan Lebowsky  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway,  Sylvia,  Marisa Robles,  Phillip Moll  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Scimone,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Jörg Faerber,  Eduardo Mata  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti Veneti,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Galway Pops Orchestra  ... 
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  • 5.
    I Don't Like Classical Music, But I Kinda Like This!
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 74698 Release Date: 06/17/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Carl Orff,  Richard Wagner,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Nigel Woodhouse,  Paul Meyer,  Kolja Blacher,  Eric Le Sage  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner,  Eduardo Mata,  Gustav Kuhn,  Mark Stephenson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus  ... 
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  • 6.
    Kiri Te Kanawa: The Classic Albums [6-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002013002 Release Date: 04/01/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Joseph Canteloube,  Richard Strauss,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gottfried H. Stölzel  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Sir Georg Solti,  Gabriele Fontana,  Christopher Bowers-Broadbent  ... 
    Conductor:  Jeffrey Tate,  Sir Georg Solti,  Sir Colin Davis,  Gyorgy Fischer  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 7.
    Domingo - The Verdi Opera Collection [15-CD Set]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 372279 Release Date: 01/07/2014   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Leontyne Price,  Bruce Brewer,  Edith Mathis,  Hans Sotin  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf,  James Levine,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  London Symphony Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 8.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6
    Label: Lodia Compact Discs   Catalog: 778 Release Date: 12/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Carlos Païta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 9.
    Decca Sound - The Analogue Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001934702 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 54
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Anton Bruckner,  Arnold Schoenberg,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Pascal Rogé,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Marilyn Horne,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Sir Georg Solti,  Bernard Haitink,  Horst Stein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $169.98
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  • 10.
    Pavarotti Sings Verdi [3-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001853602 Release Date: 07/09/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Riccardo Cassinelli,  Leo Nucci,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson  ... 
    Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli,  Sir Georg Solti,  Richard Bonynge,  Peter Maag  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 11.
    Ponchielli: La Gioconda / Bartoletti, Caballe, Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001820902 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Amilcare Ponchielli
    Performer:  Agnes Baltsa,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Sherrill Milnes,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Bartoletti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Finchley Children's Music Group,  London Opera Chorus,  National Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Verdi: The Complete Works
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001806202 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 75
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Maria Guleghina,  Samuel Ramey,  Violeta Urmana,  Sara Fulgoni  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Lamberto Gardelli,  James Levine,  Richard Bonynge  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  London Voices,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $236.99
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  • 13.
    Verdi: Un Ballo In Maschera Highlights / Solti, Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 425529 Release Date: 02/01/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Kathleen Battle,  Robert Lloyd,  Margaret Price,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Opera Chorus
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  • 14.
    Leopold Stokowski - The Columbia Stereo Recordings
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 197115 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Charles Ives  ... 
    Performer:  Shirley Verrett,  Fernando Valenti,  Anshel Brusilow,  William Kincaid  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski,  Gregg Smith
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  American Symphony Orchestra,  Schola Cantorum New York members  ... 
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  • 15.
    Verdi: La Traviata / Bonynge, Sutherland, Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001727602 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Matteo Manuguerra,  Della Jones,  Marjon Lambriks,  Alexander Oliver  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Opera Chorus,  National Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Voices Of Italian Opera
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 40509 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Edita Gruberova,  Margherita Carosio,  Francesco Meli  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Kurt Eichhorn,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Evelino Pidò  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Munich Radio Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 17.
    Massenet Edition [23-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001693202 Release Date: 07/03/2012   Number of Discs: 23
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Régine Crespin,  Gabriel Bacquier,  Michèle Command,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Kazimierz Kord,  Richard Bonynge,  Julius Rudel,  Enrique Diemecke  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Radio Chorus,  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $107.49
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  • 18.
    Meditation - The Beautiful Music Of Massenet
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001693302 Release Date: 07/03/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Marilyn Horne,  Luciano Pavarotti,  José Carreras,  Renée Fleming  ... 
    Conductor:  Henry Lewis,  Oliviero de Fabritiis,  Sir Colin Davis,  Yves Abel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Opera Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 19.
    Massenet: Esclarmonde / Bonynge, Sutherland, Quilico, Aragall
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001616202 Release Date: 11/21/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Robert Lloyd,  Graham Clark,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Huguette Tourangeau  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  National Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Puccini: Tosca / Rescigno, Freni, Pavarotti, Milnes, National Philharmonic
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001615202 Release Date: 11/21/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Mirella Freni,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Sherrill Milnes,  Richard Van Allan  ... 
    Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Opera Chorus,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Wandsworth School Boys' Choir
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  • 21.
    Dame Joan Sutherland - Complete Decca Studio Recitals  [23-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001619502 Release Date: 11/01/2011   Number of Discs: 23
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  George Frideric Handel,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Nadine Sautereau,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Richard Conrad,  Ambrose Gauntlett  ... 
    Conductor:  Nello Santi,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $99.98
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  • 22.
    Citizen Kane: Classic Film Scores Of Bernard Herrmann
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 81264 Release Date: 03/01/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bernard Herrmann
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Joaquín Achúcarro
    Conductor:  Charles Gerhardt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Classic Film Scores: Bette Davis
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 81272 Release Date: 03/01/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Max Steiner,  Erich Wolfgang Korngold,  Franz Waxman,  Alfred Newman
    Conductor:  Charles Gerhardt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 24.
    Giordano: Andrea Chenier / Levine, Domingo, Scotto, Milnes, National Philharmonic
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 57615 Release Date: 03/01/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Umberto Giordano
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Renata Scotto,  Sherrill Milnes
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  National Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana / Levine, Domingo, Scotto, National Philharmonic
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 57657 Release Date: 03/01/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Pietro Mascagni
    Performer:  Renata Scotto,  Placido Domingo,  Jean Kraft,  Pablo Elvira  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
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