|From 1950 to 1962 Leroy Anderson had a recording
contract with Decca Records of New York City (not to be confused with the then Decca
Records of England). Decca Records was one of the most popular record labels of the 1950's
with such artists as Jascha Heifetz, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Bing Crosby.
For the recording sessions a hand picked orchestra was selected from the
many talented musicians in New York City. The recordings were made in the Pythian Temple
and Manhattan Center in New York City. From 1950 to 1955 the recordings were made in
monaural sound and from 1958 to 1962 they were in stereo sound.
Question: "Mr. Anderson, do you put any special demands or
restrictions on the musicians who either play or record for you?"
Leroy Anderson: "Well, the men who play for me only play at
recordings; that is, I do not have a regularly organized orchestra. For the recordings I
have a specially organized group and the men are selected according to the style of music
that I'm playing. For example, if I'm doing something very light and with a rhythmic
number, we don't get men from the New York Philharmonic. I mean the string players are all
right, but not let's say the brass section. A good violinist is just a good violinist, it
makes no difference. Same thing would also apply to the French horns. For example, in the
latest recording here that I have made, I have the French horn section from the New York
Philharmonic, with the exception of one. One came from the Metropolitan Opera
orchestra." (from a 1962 interview)
Question: "Did you ever form your own orchestra, or did you
assemble musicians for your recording sessions?"
Anderson: "No, they are specially organized for the
recording session. The strings are mostly from the New York Philharmonic. At one time I
had Toscannini's horn section. We always scheduled our recordings when they weren't busy.
The Philharmonic either had closed their season, and musicians were generally available.
Also in June, when many musicians came back to New York which was headquarters, and at
tome time we had a recording session with eight concertmasters of various orchestras
throughout the United States. Recording isn't really fair, because you could never get an
orchestra like that together in a concert hall. It's only the record industry that can
make a miracle like that."
Many of the recordings with Leroy Anderson conducting are
currently available from MCA/Universal Records. For more information see the Video and
Music section of this web site.