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Aug. 6: Sony Classical Releases Beyond the Music - Marian Anderson's Complete RCA Victor Recordings in a 15-CD Set

June 8, 2021 | By Maggie Stapleton
Jensen Artists

Media Contacts: Maggie Stapleton, Jensen Artists
646.536.7864 x2 |

Sony Music Masterworks: Larissa Slezak / Jamie Bertel
212-833-6075 / 8575 / 7549

Sony Classical Releases Beyond the Music
Marian Anderson
Her Complete RCA Victor Recordings
The Ultimate Tribute to America’s “Voice of Freedom”,
Available August 6, 2021 | Pre-Order Now


On April 9, 1939, a cold Easter Sunday, a woman in a fur coat walked down the steps of Lincoln Memorial, ready to perform open-air after being refused the largest hall in Washington because she was Black. 

As contralto Marian Anderson raised her voice to sing the words of My Country, ’Tis of Thee to the 75,000 who gathered to listen to her, an unforgettable historic moment unfolded. The great voice of “The Lady from Philadelphia,” first discovered by her local neighborhood, took her to global fame on the stages of Europe, Asia, and America. She became the first Black woman to perform at the Met in New York, she sang for presidents and kings, was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and with her dignity, courage, and unwavering belief in equal rights she became an icon in her supportive role for the civil rights movement.

The present edition is the first release of Marian Anderson’s complete recorded legacy for RCA Victor, to be released by Sony Classical on August 6, 2021. Along with the first-ever complete release of her legendary Farewell Recital at Constitution Hall in 1964, many recordings appear here on CD for the first time. From her debut in 1924 for the Victor label to her last LP from 1966, all recordings have been meticulously restored and remastered from the original analog masters. The 228-page coffee-table book contains numerous photos and facsimiles, a new essay by Raymond Arsenault – author of The Sound of Freedom and Freedom Riders – and full discographical notes. It is a homage to the artistic life of a singer “one is privileged to hear only once in a hundred years” (Toscanini) and who left us a legacy of humanity, generosity, talent, and faith.

The Marian Anderson Phenomenon 

She looked out upon a sea of faces. Standing before her were 75,000 people poised to hear her sing. Directly facing her was a phalanx of microphones, ready for a live broadcast to millions of listeners, anonymous and invisible. Though famed throughout Europe and familiar with the great concert halls of the Old World, she had never faced a situation like this before. “I could not run away from this situation,” she wrote later. “If I had anything to offer, I would have to do so now.” The piano accompaniment began, she closed her eyes, and sang – with a voice which, to quote Arturo Toscanini, “one is privileged to hear only once in a hundred years.”

With this performance from the Lincoln Memorial, on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939, Marian Anderson – shy, unassuming, preternaturally gifted – entered the social history of her native land. For she wasn’t originally meant to sing there at all: she had been scheduled to perform in nearby Constitution Hall at the invitation of Howard University. But the owners of the hall, the Daughters of the American Revolution, had a particular clause included in every contract: whites only. Their most distinguished member, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, threatened to leave the organization unless Marian Anderson were permitted to appear. The august body declined, and Eleanor Roosevelt held good on her promise. A makeshift venue had to be found. So great was the interest that the concert could only be held out of doors. The choice fell on the Lincoln Memorial, owned by the Department of the Interior. So Marian Anderson was duly led onto its steps and introduced by none other than Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes. It was a victory in the battle against racial segregation in the United States, comparable in its way to the triumphs of Jesse Owens at the Berlin Olympics three years earlier and John Hammond’s “From Spirituals to Swing” concert in Carnegie Hall the previous year. Like the latter, it was recorded. Unlike the latter, it was also filmed, and can be relived today on the Internet in all the excitement of the occasion.

Marian Anderson never boasted of this achievement; indeed, she was not known to boast at all. Born in modest circumstances in South Philadelphia on February 27, 1897, she sang in church from the age of six and was already holding concerts of spirituals as a teenager. In 1925 she bested 300 contestants in a New York singing contest and was allowed to give a concert in Lewisohn Stadium. By then she had already made her first recordings, for RCA Victor. But her sights were set on further study – an opportunity denied her in America because of her race – and on gathering experience in the international arena. A concert in London’s Wigmore Hall, accompanied by the redoubtable Sir Henry Wood, launched her career in England and on the Continent. With her charming stage presence, excellent diction even in foreign languages, and superb musicality, she was rapturously received on the European scene, whether in Paris or Vienna, Brussels or Barcelona, Geneva or Berlin, or – like her no less gifted Black-American countryman Paul Robeson – in the newly-founded Soviet Union. Her repertoire was anything but limited: she sang Massenet and Hugo Wolf, Handel and Rachmaninoff, Scarlatti and Schumann, Brahms and Saint-Saëns, Verdi and Sibelius, even Debussy’s little-known early cantata L’Enfant prodigue. But a special attraction was always her rendition of spirituals: Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child or Go Down, Moses. Her London recordings of 1928 only expanded her audience; one in particular – Delilah’s “Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix” (sung in English as “Softly Awakes My Heart”) – became a best-seller. Later tours took her to Australia and to Argentina, where she sang seventeen recitals in Buenos Aires alone in 1937. By then she had already made appearances at the 1935 Salzburg Festival (prompting Toscanini’s above-mentioned pronouncement) and Carnegie Hall. She even received an honorary doctorate of music from Howard University (1938). But none of this was enough to sway the iron resolve of the Daughters of the American Revolution. 

Thereafter Marian Anderson’s triumphs continued apace: a White House performance in honor of King George VI (1939), the first performance by a Black singer at Japan’s imperial court (1953). But perhaps none was as portentous as her appearance at the New York Metropolitan Opera on January 7, 1955, when she sang Ulrica in Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera as a fully-fledged member of the ensemble. Another color line had been crossed: she was the first Black-American to be accorded this honor – or, rather, the first to honor the stage of the New York Met with her presence. It is not far-fetched to claim that this opened the doors of those hallowed precincts to generations of great Black-American singers: Leontyne Price and Jessye Norman, Reri Grist and Grace Bumbry, Barbara Hendricks and Kathleen Battle, the great baritones Simon Estes and Eric Owens, all the way to the present day with Angel Blue and Pretty Yende, to name only a few.

By the time of her Met début, in 1955, Marian Anderson was already 57 years old, an age when most opera singers contemplate retirement. Although she never sang at the Met again, she was made a permanent member of the ensemble. Awards continued to come her way: an honorary doctorate from Princeton, where she was the guest of the Einsteins (altogether she received approximately 50 honorary degrees), and national orders of merit from Finland, Japan, and Sweden. She sang at the White House for Eisenhower’s inauguration in 1957, and again for Kennedy’s in 1961. Her autobiography of 1956, My Lord, What a Morning, became an immediate best-seller (it was reissued by the University of Illinois Press in 2002). In 1977 the United States Congress struck a special gold medal in her honor, putatively to mark her 80th birthday. By the time of her death in Portland, Oregon, on April 8, 1993, at the age of 96, she was among the most highly decorated and beloved singers in the world.

Although never a political activist, by her mere presence, achievement, and grace under pressure Marian Anderson served as an example to generations of Black men and women in the arts. Her name fits easily alongside such better-known figures as Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson, James Meredith and Rosa Parks, in the long and troubled history of Black-American emancipation. In 1963 she returned to the Lincoln Memorial as part of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington, where, in a historical echo of her 1939 performance, she sang He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands to the assembled throng. Back then she had begun by singing the familiar patriotic hymn My Country, ’Tis of Thee. But when she came to the end of the first tercet, rather than the words “of thee I sing,” already appropriated as the title of a Gershwin musical, she made a significant change: she sang “of thee we sing.” It was an all-inclusive gesture, and a promise still awaiting fulfillment.

Set highlights and contents:

  • Special 15-CD edition celebrating contralto Marian Anderson, the first Black singer at the Met
  • First-ever release of her complete RCA Victor recordings in a single edition, meticulously restored from the original analog masters using 24 bit / 96 kHz technology
  • 72 works appearing on CD for the first time, 9 recordings previously unreleased
  • First release of her fully restored complete Farewell Recital at Constitution Hall
  • Richly illustrated 228-page book with a new essay by American historian Raymond Arsenault, author of The Sound of Freedom and Freedom Riders, numerous photos and facsimiles, and complete discographical notes


Spirituals 1923–1946

Victor Talking Machine Co. Acoustic Recordings 1923–1924

1   Deep River

2   My Way’s Cloudy

3   Go Down, Moses (Let My People Go)

4   Heav’n, Heav’n

5   Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen

6   My Lord, What a Mornin’

Rca Victor – The Early Electric Recordings 1936–1946 

7   City Called Heaven

8   Lord, I Can’t Stay Away

9   Heav’n, Heav’n

10 Go Down, Moses (Let My People Go)

11 My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord

12 Sinner, Please Doan’ Let Dis Harves’ Pass

13 Honor, Honor

14 Crucifixion

15 Trampin’

16 Let Us Break Bread Together

17 My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord

18 Hard Trials

19 Dere’s No Hidin’ Place Down Dere

20 Traditional: Comin’ Through the Rye

21 Oh, What a Beautiful City!

22 Poor Me

23 Hold On



Lieder, Songs, and Mélodies 1936–1951 

1   Brahms: Alto Rhapsody op. 53

2   Brahms: Von ewiger Liebe op. 43/1 · Eternal Love

3   Schubert: Ave Maria (Ellens Gesang III) D 839

4   Schubert: Aufenthalt D 957/5 · Sojourn

5   Schubert: Die Forelle D 550 · The Trout

6   Schubert: Wohin? D 795/2 · Whither? 

7   Sibelius: Säv, säv, susa op. 36/4

     Sigh, Rushes, Sigh · Rauscht, Binsen, rauscht

8   Sibelius: Flickan kom ifran sin äsklings möte op. 37/5

     The Tryst · Das Stelldichein

9   Massenet: Élégie

10 Rachmaninoff: In the Silence of the Secret Night op. 4/3

     In der Stille der geheimnisvollen Nacht

11 Spross: Will O’ the Wisp

12 Lehmann; The Cuckoo · Der Kuckuck

13 Scott: Lullaby op. 57/2 · Wiegenlied

14 Sarsen-Bucky: Hear the Wind Whispering

15 Thomas: O Men from the Fields

16 Hook: Bright Phoebus

17 Bland: Carry Me Back to Old Virginny

18 Foster: My Old Kentucky Home

19 Bland: Carry Me Back to Old Virginny

20 Foster My Old Kentucky Home

21 “Mr. President and Mrs. Roosevelt”*

22 “Your Majesties”*

     The Philadelphia Orchestra

     Eugene Ormandy conductor [1/2]

     Victor Symphony Orchestra

     Charles O’Connell conductor [17/18]



Baroque Arias

1   J.S. Bach: Kreuz und Krone sind verbunden

     Pain and Sorrow

     from Cantata Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen BWV 12

2   J.S. Bach: Jesus schläft, was soll ich hoffen?

     Jesus Sleeps, What Hope Remaineth?

     from Cantata Jesus schläft, was soll ich hoffen BWV 81

3   J.S. Bach: Zum reinen Wasser er mich weist

     To Living Waters Bright and Clear

     from Cantata Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt BWV 112

4   J.S. Bach: Bereite dich, Zion

     Prepare Thyself, Zion

     from Christmas Oratorio BWV 248

5   J.S. Bach: Erbarme dich, mein Gott

     Have Mercy, Lord, on Me

     from St. Matthew Passion BWV 244 


     RCA Victor Chamber Orchestra

     Robert Shaw conductor


6   Handel: He Shall Feed His Flock

     from Messiah HWV 56

7   Mendelssohn: But the Lord Is Mindful of His Own

     Doch der Herr vergisst die seinen nicht

     from Paulus op. 36

8   Handel: He Was Despised

     from Messiah HWV 56

9   Mendelssohn: O Rest in the Lord

     Sei stille dem Herrn

     from Elias op. 70

10 J.S. Bach: All Is Fulfilled

     Es ist vollbracht

     from St. John Passion BWV 245


     RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra

     Charles O’Connell conductor


11 Handel: Come to Me, Soothing Sleep

     Vieni o Figlio

     from Ottone, re di Germania HWV 15

12 Handel: O What Pleasure

     Vanne, segu’il mio desio

     from Il Floridante HWV 14

13 Bononcini: The Trumpet Is Calling

     Un’ ombra di pace

     from Calfurnia

14 Handel: Der Flöte weich Gefu¨hl

     The Soft Complaining Flute

     from Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day HWV 76

15 Handel:  Sohn! Sieh, deinem greisen Vater

     Tears, Such as Tender Fathers Shed

     from Deborah HWV 51

16 Purcell: When I Am Laid in Earth (Dido’s Lament)

     from Dido and Aeneas

17 A. Scarlatti: Se Florindo è fedele



Lieder by Brahms, Mahler, and Strauss

1   Brahms: Alto Rhapsody op. 53

2-6 Mahler: Kindertotenlieder


     RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra

     Robert Shaw chorus director

     Fritz Reiner conductor [1]

     San Francisco Symphony Orchestra

     Pierre Monteux conductor [2–6]


7   R. Strauss: Befreit op. 39/4


8-11 Brahms: 4 ernste Gesänge op. 121

     Four Serious Songs

12 Brahms: 4 Alto Rhapsody op. 53


     San Francisco Symphony Orchestra

     Pierre Monteux conductor [12]



Lieder By Schubert and Schumann

1   Schubert: Liebesbotschaft D 957/1

     Love’s Message

     from Schwanengesang

2   Schubert: Erlkönig D 328

     The Erl-King

3   Schubert: Ständchen D 957/4


     from Schwanengesang

4   Schubert: Gretchen am Spinnrade D 118

     Gretchen at the Spinning-Wheel

5   Schubert: Der Tod und das Mädchen D 531

     Death and the Maiden

6   Schubert: Die Forelle D 550

     The Trout

7   Schubert: Ave Maria (Ellens Gesang III) D 839

8   Schubert: Wohin? D 795/2


     from Die schöne Mu¨llerin

9   Schubert: Aufenthalt D 957/5


     from Schwanengesang

10 Schubert: Thekla (eine Geisterstimme) D 595

     A Spirit Voice

11 Schubert: Dem Unendlichen D 291

     To the Infinite One

12-19 Schumann: Frauenliebe und Leben op. 42

     Woman’s Love and Life




1   Deep River

2   He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

3   Roll, Jerd’n, Roll!

4   Go Down, Moses (Let My People Go)

5   Crucifixion

6   Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child

7   Let Us Break Bread Together

8   Plenty Good Room

9   Every Time I Feel de Spirit

10 If He Change My Name

11 O What a Beautiful City!

12 Nobody Knows the Trouble I See

13 Hear de Lam’s a-Cryin’

14 My Lord, What a Mornin’

15 Were You There?

16 On Ma Journey

17 De Gospel Train (Git on Bo’d Li’t Children)

18 Soon-a Will Be Done

19 Sinner, Please Doan’ Let Dis Harves’ Pass

20 Honor, Honor

21 Ride On, King Jesus



Highlights from Verdi’s A Masked Ball

1-10 Verdi: Un ballo in maschera

     A Masked Ball · Ein Maskenball

     Metropolitan Opera Orchestra

     Dimitri Mitropoulos conductor

     Il trovatore

     The Troubadour · Der Troubadour

11 “Se m’ami ancor” – “Sì, la stanchezza m’opprime”

     Marian Anderson contralto

     Jan Peerce tenor

     RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra

     Erich Leinsdorf conductor



He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands and Other Spirituals

1   He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

2   Dere’s No Hidin’ Place Down Dere

3   I Want Jesus to Walk with Me

4   Oh, Didn’t It Rain?

5   I Am Bound for de Kingdom

6   Oh, Wasn’t Dat a Wide Ribber

7   My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord

8   Lord, I Can’t Stay Away

9   Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child

10 Hold On

11 Scandalize My Name

12 Great Gittin’ Up Mornin’

13 Done Foun’ My Los’ Sheep

14 I Stood on de Ribber ob Jerdon

15 Behold That Star

16 Heav’n, Heav’n

17 Poor Me

18 Oh, Peter, Go Ring-a Dem Bells

19 Trampin’

20 Hard Trials



Christmas Carols

Arrangements by Robert Russell Bennett


1   We Wish You a Merry Christmas

2   Gruber: Silent Night

     Stille Nacht

3   Deck the Halls

4   Sarsen-Bucky: Angel’s Song

5   The First Noël

6   Schubert: Ave Maria (Ellens Gesang III) D 839

7   God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen

8   Willis: It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

9   Mason: Joy to the World!

10 O Sanctissima / O Thou Joyful Day

     O du Fröhliche

11 Pierpont: Jingle Bells

12 Spilman: Away in a Manger

13 The Twelve Days of Christmas


     RCA Victor Chorus and Symphony Orchestra

     Robert Russell Bennett conductor


14 Gruber: Silent Night

15 Redner: O Little Town of Bethlehem

16 Adeste fideles (O Come, All Ye Faithful)

17 The First Noël

18 Mendelssohn: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

19 Adam: O Holy Night (Cantique de Noël)

20 Sarsen-Bucky: Angel’s Song

21 Sarsen-Bucky: Hallelujah


DISC 10 

Songs By Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Strauss, and Haydn

1   J. Haydn: A Pastoral Song Hob. XXVIa:27


2   J. Haydn: She Never Told Her Love Hob. XXVIa:34

3   Schubert: Der Doppelgänger D 957/13

     The Double

     from Schwanengesang

4   Schubert: Der Ju¨ngling und der Tod D 545

     The Youth and Death

5   Schumann: Der Nussbaum op. 25/3

     The Nut Tree

     from Myrthen

6   Schumann: Stille Tränen op. 35/10

     Silent Tears

7   R. Strauss: Morgen! op. 27/4


8   Brahms: Dein blaues Auge hält so still op. 59/8

     Your Blue Eyes Are So Still

9   Brahms: Der Schmied op. 19/4

     The Blacksmith

10 Brahms: Immer leiser wird mein Schlummer op. 105/2

     Ever Quieter Becomes my Slumber

11-12 Brahms: 2 Gesänge op. 91

13 Brahms: Die Schnur, die Perl’ an Perle op. 57/7

     The Necklace with Its Rows of Pearls


     The Philadelphia Orchestra

     Eugene Ormandy conductor [8–10]



Songs at Eventide

Arrangements by Robert Russell Bennett 

1   Dvorák: Songs My Mother Taught Me op. 55/4

     Als die alte Mutter mich noch lehrte singen

     from Gypsy Melodies

2   Believe Me, if All Those Endearing Young Charms

3   All Through the Night

4   Kjerulf: Last Night op. 3/2


5   Spilman: Flow Gently, Sweet Afton

6   Humperdinck: Evening Prayer


     from Hänsel und Gretel

7   Comin’ Through the Rye

8   Mellish: Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes

9   Loch Lomond

10 Molloy: Love’s Old Sweet Song

11 John Scott aka Spottiswoode: Annie Laurie

12 Brahms: Wiegenlied op. 49/4

     Cradle Song

     Text from Des Knaben Wunderhorn & Georg Scherer


     Chamber Orchestra

     Robert Russell Bennett conductor



Farewell Recital at Constitution Hall

First Complete Release

1   Handel: Hear Me! Ye Winds and Waves

     Tutta raccolta ancor

     from Scipione HWV 20

2   Handel: Ch’io mai vi possa

     from Siroe, re di Persia HWV 24

3   J. Haydn: The Spirit’s Song Hob. XXVIa:41

     Des Geistes Gesang

4   J. Haydn: A Pastoral Song Hob. XXVIa:27


5   Schubert: Suleika I (Was bedeutet die Bewegung) D 720

6   Schubert: Liebesbotschaft D 957/1

     Love’s Message

     from Schwanengesang

7   Schubert: Der Doppelgänger D 957/13

     The Double

     from Schwanengesang

8   Schubert: Erlkönig D 328

     The Erl-King

9   Barber: Nocturne op. 13/4

10 Swanson: The Negro Speaks of Rivers

11 The Plough Boy

12 Quilter: Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind op. 6/3

13 Let Us Break Bread Together

14 O What a Beautiful City!

15 Hear de Lam’s a-Cryin’

16 Ride On, King Jesus

17 Done Foun’ My Los’ Sheep

18 Lord, I Can’t Stay Away

19 Le’s Have a Union

20 He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

21 Encore Speech

22 Schubert: Ungeduld D 795/7


     from Die schöne Mu¨llerin

23 Encore Speech

24 Heav’n, Heav’n

25 Schubert: Ave Maria (Ellens Gesang III) D 839


DISC 13 

Jus’ Keep On Singin’ and Other Spirituals

1   Introduction

2   Oh, Heaven Is One Beautiful Place, I Know

3   Lord, How Come Me Here?

4   Prayer Is de Key

5   He’ll Bring It to Pass

6   You Go!

7   Jus’ Keep On Singin’

8   Ain’t Got Time to Die

9   Jus’ Been in de Storm So Long

10 I’ve Been ’Buked

11 Le’s Have a Union

12 Oh, Glory!

13 Jus’ Keep On Singin’ –

     Ride On, King Jesus



Schubert and Brahms Lieder

1   Schubert: Liebesbotschaft D 957/1

     Love’s Message

     from Schwanengesang

2   Schubert: Ungeduld D 795/7


     from Die schöne Mu¨llerin

3   Schubert: Der Tod und das Mädchen D 531

     Death and the Maiden

4   Schubert: Die Forelle D 550

     The Trout

5   Schubert: An die Musik D 547

     To Music

6   Schubert: Suleika I (Was bedeutet die Bewegung) D 720

7   Schubert: Gretchen am Spinnrade D 118

     Gretchen at the Spinning-Wheel

8   Schubert: Wiegenlied D 498

     Cradle Song

9   Schubert: Erlkönig D 328

     The Erl-King

10 Schubert: Heidenröslein D 257

     Wild Rose

11 Brahms: Von ewiger Liebe op. 43/1

     Eternal Love

12 Brahms: Botschaft op. 47/1


13 Brahms: Vergebliches Ständchen op. 84/4

     Vain Serenade

14 Brahms: Der Schmied op. 19/4

     The Blacksmith

15 Brahms: Dein blaues Auge hält so still op. 59/8

     Your Blue Eyes Are So Still



The Lady from Philadelphia

An audio documentary with narration between partial performances by Marian Anderson

Adapted from the television series See It Now 

# # #



Law and Disorder by GG Arts Law

Career Advice by Legendary Manager Edna Landau

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