Arthur Fiedler

The Arthur Fiedler Legacy: Evening at the Pops

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Arthur Fiedler was, for 50 years, the acknowledged master of the light classical repertory. This often took him into the territory of orchestral arrangements of popular tunes, but just as often, simply into the most accessible corners of the mid- to late-19th century concert repertory. The latter is mostly what's on display in this generously programmed double-CD set, made of recordings from Fiedler's final decade, when he and the Boston Pops were signed to Deutsche Grammophon. There are a few digressions into Disney and Sesame Street territory, as well as some pop, rock, and show tunes that fill out the second disc, but for the first hour or so, this is all repertory -- Tchaikovsky, Johann Strauss, Debussy, Goldmark, Sibelius, Grieg, Humperdinck -- that any concert orchestra in the world might have programmed, just done in extremely spirited fashion; the irony, of course, is that most of this very same late romantic material was soon to disappear from most major concert halls as programming moved toward more ambitious and somewhat more contemporary works, save when student orchestras perform. But here it all is, done in the same ebullient spirit in which it would have been presented in the early 20th century, and in state of the art, mid-20th century fidelity (just about audiophile quality), and well-annotated, as well.

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