78 Records Playlist • Leopold Stokowski Explains Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony (1927)

A music appreciation lesson, 1920s style. In early 1928, Victor released a newly remade version of their first Musical Masterpiece album — Dvorak’s Symphony No. 5, “From the New World,” by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski. The original version (using October 1925 masters recorded in Camden, New Jersey) had released on April 30, 1926.

As a bonus, the remade version included this special single-sided disc by Leopold Stokowski himself, which was never sold individually. The new recordings, other than Stokowski’s talk, were made at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. They retained the original matrix numbers (which were assigned higher take numbers), M-1 album number, and 6500-series catalog numbers; however, Red Seal catalog numbers had advanced into the 6700s by the time the new version was issued, as reflected by the number assigned to this side.

At one point, Stokowski contends that Dvorak was influenced by “Negro jazz,” confusing jazz with its predecessor, ragtime (seminal examples of had just begun making their way into print at the time Dvorak was composing this symphony in 1893) — not an uncommon error, even at that late date.


LEOPOLD STOKOWSKI (speech and piano): Symphony No. 5, “From the New World” (Dvorak, Op. 95) — Outline of Themes with Piano

Camden, NJ: October 6, 1927
Victor 6743 (mx. CVE 40401 – 2)
Included in version 2 of Victor Musical Masterpiece Album M-1 (released January 27, 1928)

Note: Victor also recorded a Spanish translation of Stokowski’s talk by José Tablada, with piano by Rosario Bourdon, for the Latin American market (issued on single-sided Victor 6750).


Discographical data from the original Victor files (courtesy of John R. Bolig) and Victor’s May 1926 Talking Machine World listing.