Boston Pops Orchestra

Best of the Boston Pops: 20th Century Masters the Millennium Collection

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Philips' series of Twentieth Century Masters includes this Millennium Collection best-of disc for the Boston Pops, which includes a wide range of music, but only two of the orchestra's three conductors who are represented in recordings: Arthur Fiedler and John Williams. (The reason for this is simply because Keith Lockhart's recordings are on RCA and the orchestra's own label.) For those who have watched PBS' Evening at Pops since it began, this is a walk down memory lane. Right after the disc's opening selections from Williams' Star Wars score, there are popular songs from the late '60s, including the theme from Love Story and three songs that were hits for Glen Campbell. Other familiar favorites follow, with Classical hits such as Copland's "Hoe-Down" from Rodeo and Strauss' Artist's Life waltz, and finishing with the Sousa standard, The Stars and Stripes Forever. Usually with compilations of this sort, there are problems of inconsistent sound quality across the whole album. On this disc there is relatively no noticeable difference from one track to the next, nor is there really a difference in the orchestra's performance between the two conductors. Both men were well-chosen leaders who understood their audience and brought the best out of the orchestra. For those who enjoy this hour-long sampler, there's a mini-discography of other Boston Pops releases on Philips included in the notes.

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