The recordings featured on this CD have been released at least five times and this CD is the one to get. This "Rhapsody in Blue" is simply the best recording of this piece you'll ever hear. From the opening clarinet to the closing cords everything about the playing is absolutely perfect. Arthur Fiedler maintains the perfect tempos and pacing throughout, conveying just the right balance of jazzy pizazz with ironic humor. Earl Wild plays the piano with jaw-dropping virtuosity, making a perfect partner to the Boston Pops. Once you hear this "Rhapsody" you won't want to hear any others.
The Concerto in F is the ultimate "jazzy" recording: fast, energetic, and featuring amazing piano and orchestral playing. It is a perfect complement to the "Rhapsody". I still enjoy the Grimaud/Zinman performance for its romantic and "classical" tone, but the Wild performance is the more excitig one. The "American in Paris" captures this tone poem's moods perfectly--better than most performances. The "I Got Rhythm" variations is played to perfection, surpassing any performance I've heard.
The sound quality is 24/96 remastering, the best non-SACD sound available and with almost no hiss. There's no need for the frustrating adjustment of volume so often necessary with many modern digital recordings that suffer from dynamic range issues--you can play this one at a relatively low volume and it'll still sound loud! The only more advanced sound quality for these recordings is found on the recently released Hybrid SACD, but that offers no improvement for regular CD players over this CD. The only addition on that newer CD is the Cuban Overture, but it really doesn't pay to spend twice as much for a nine minute piece! The final advantage that this CD offers is the cover, featuring a picture of the Twin Towers, destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (This CD was released a month after the attacks). Add the budget price and this CD becomes one of the few no brainers in building a classical collection.