4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This disc, recorded in 1959 and 1961, is a spectacular display of exciting and idiomatic Gershwin playing by Earl wild, Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra. The SACD remastering is a complete and impressive success giving an enhanced effect of a deeper sound-stage and general realism in line with most of the rest of this series of remastered discs.
As regards the performances, this is very much and example of a home team playing on their home ground. Earl Wild has performed this repertoire countless times and it shows. What is surprising is the level of excitement he is able to create as if playing it for the first time. This applies to the concerto especially but the Rhapsody is not far behind.
The purely orchestral pieces, the American and the Overture, are both given energetic and lively performances which can make so many others sound simply dull. The sleeves credit the clarinet soloist in the Rhapsody but I would have also liked the excellent trumpeter to have received equal praise for his superbly smooth delivery in both his solos in the concerto and American in Paris.
I would therefore suggest that these much enhanced older recordings and now sounding very much newer, certainly deserve to be considered very seriously by anyone interested in purchasing this generous selection. Owners of older versions of the disc can safely feel confident that an upgrade to this new remastering is well worth the modest outlay (in the USA) required.
on 16 June 2015
In 1987 I bought one of those new fangled CD player devices. Sold as the indestructible replacement for the vinyl record! I needed a CD to play of course and the tiny outlet in my village didn't have a lot of choice... So it was Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra which became my first ever disc. I still have it and it plays fine still. I didn't know any of the works on this disc in 1987 and I'd certainly never heard of any of the performers; I was young! The clarinet chromatic, pseudo glissando, which opens Gershwin's Rhapsody and this disc I've never heard better done! When I first heard this clarinet magic trick it sent shivers down my spine and now in SACD re-mastered glory it's still doing it. How so much passion can be squeezed from a clarinet has never ceased to amaze me!!
I'm not going to write a piece by piece analysis. Many will want to purchase the disc for the same reason as me - to hear the original recording rendered in best possible sound quality. You won't be disappointed. This is really one of the best Living Stereo re-masters (I own a good number of the series), an audiophile's dream - with decent reproductive equipment you're almost in the concert hall! Others will just know the Rhapsody and be taking pot luck with the rest: well the other works on the disc are a great complement and you won't be disappointed either! 'An American in Paris' & "I got rhythm" variations are very well known in their own right - the other two works less so but will still have you dancing, tapping, or whatever, to their syncopated beats!!
In 1987 the name 'Boston Pops Orchestra' didn't fill me with visions of musical excellence! How ignorant I was! Stunning playing throughout from this famous orchestra - intonation, tempi, ensemble, dynamics, spot on. How was I to know that Fiedler was one of the finest conductors of his generation - he spent 50 years or so with 'The Pops', his aim to bring light classics to as wide an audience as possible. As one of the most successful recording artists of all time his mission was truly accomplished.
I thoroughly recommend this recording - for its repertoire, stunning interpretation and musicianship and its beautiful SACD re-mastering work.
on 5 November 2014
This CD is well worth buying for al of its tracks, although these comments are restricted to 'Rhapsody In Blue' - a personal favourite that has attracted my renewed interest following September's Classic FM Royal Albert Hall concert when the work was very competently performed by the RPLO with Ji Liu as soloist. The EMI/HMV Andre Previn/LSO recording has been in my collection for some years, but with the current modest price of CDs, I felt the time was right to acquire one or two more carefully-selected interpretations. This Earl Wild/Boston Pops version is rightly regarded as a 'classic' and the engineers have done a marvellous job in bringing the (now) 55-year old recording to life. It is certainly warranting of four-stars, but because to my ear at least it is a 'lighter-weight' interpretation, for the time being it is still the Previn/LSO recording with the superb playing of the LSO that gets my vote (and to which I would award five-stars). That view might change however after I have taken delivery of the Tilson Thomas/Los Angeles Philharmonic version which has still to arrive! I may even be temped to purchase the Leonard Bernstein/New York Philharmonic recording as well - since this also seems to be very highly-regarded - to make a further comparison.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 9 July 2012
This is an outstanding performance and recording of this great piece of work. The sound quality,depth of detail is truely astonishing and has really brought out how good my denon system can sound. The timing The Rhapsody in Blue is slightly faster than my other recording on LP but it is lively and Im glad i went for it.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2013
anyone who likes this type of music will be happy, the music is for each of us something different, but I would recommend that