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Under Ormandy's direction, the orchestra recorded five hour-long programs for Unitel during three successive summers in the late 1970s. For these featured works in these concerts, Ormandy selected romantic scores with colorful orchestrations that would show off the "Philadelphia Sound."

  • Ormandy's transcription of George Frideric Handel's Organ Concerto in D Major (HWV 335a), Claude Debussy's La Mer, and Igor Stravinsky's Firebird Suite (24 June 1977)

  • Gustav Holst's Planets (25 June 1977)

  • Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, Michail Glinka's Overture to Russlan and Ludmilla, and Dmitry Kabalevsky's Overture to Colas Breugnon (30 June 1978)

  • Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari's Overture to The Secret of Suzanna, Richard Strauss's Rosenkavalier Suite, and Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition (1 July 1978)

  • Peter Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy and Violin Concerto in D Major (with soloist Itzhak Perlman) (13–14 June 1979)

In 1980, the year following the last Unitel taping, Ormandy retired as music director of the orchestra and was named conductor laureate. In 1981, PBS broadcast the six-part series The Fabulous Philadelphians: From Ormandy to Muti, co-produced with Philadelphia station WHYY-TV. Ormandy continued to appear as a guest conductor during the years preceding his death in 1985 in Philadelphia at the age of 85.

Placards placed on music stands allowed the production crew to set up camera angles and rehearse shot sequences without the presence of the orchestra. A crew member sat in for Ormandy on the podium.

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