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  Living Stereo
  Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue - Fiedler
  Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue, Concerto in F, An American In Paris, Variations on "I Got Rhythm", Cuban Overture

Earl Wild (piano)
Boston Pops Orchestra
Arthur Fiedler (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 8 show all

Reviews: 7 show all

Review by Oakland February 27, 2006 (12 of 12 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
It is tempting to write off as pedestrian a disc that features performances of the ubiquitous "Rhapsody in Blue" and "American in Paris". But pedestrian this disc is not, either for sound or for performances.

There is so much to marvel about here. By the early 60's (6 or 7 years after itís initial stereo recordings) RCA had just about made the transition from mono and was producing it very best stereo to that point. The music and the production is top tier even by todayís best, especially the 3-channel layer. Regarding the production, the depth and soundstage are suspended in such a way that the music rarely, if ever, gives the speakers away, even in the light of day. This is truly extraordinary given the vintage of the recordings when the "ping pong" phenomenon that blatantly spot lit the 2 stereo speakers was still the presentation of choice among many labels.

I'm no Gershwin expert but the performances of all 5 compositions, nearly 80 minutes worth, really excite me. "Rhapsody in Blue" and "American in Paris" are anything but sway-backed warhorses here. The performances are fresh and exhilarating. And the "Concerto in F", which I had heard before but not really listened to, was a wonderful find. I enjoyed pianist Earl Wild, so much so that when I first bought the disc I looked him up on the web fully to read his biography, expecting something like "he was born xxxx and died xxxx" (as what is usually the case with recordings of this vintage). Hey at 90+ he is alive and kickiní (last time I checked) and still giving recitals!

The sound is great is either two-channel or three channel.

A lot of bang for the buck.

Robert C. Lang

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Review by Ivymike August 5, 2005 (6 of 6 found this review helpful)
Super performances here, and great Shaded Dog audio quality.

The recordings date from 1959 and 1961, and all are three-track. Two engineers were present, however: Lewis Layton and Anthony Salvatore. Layton chooses a sound that is more reverberant overall, with a more distant perspective; Salvatore's is closer, a bit edgier. Both have their merits and both sound fabulous.

"Rhapsody" is hard to resist even if it is a bit overexposed. (Some of my high school students commented on this when I played this disc in the background recently). Wild is set front and center before the orchestra, which sounds enormous in the reverberant acoustic of Symphony Hall, Boston. Tape hiss is low in level. The dynamic range is thrilling, hair-raising, one of those great recordings that raises goosebumps at the end. The Pops were great with this kind of music and this is a must-have recording. 4 1/2 stars for performance and sound.

The Concerto in F was a pleasant surprise to me the first time I heard it. I've since heard it live and it, too, is a good piece of light music and well-suited to the Pops. The perspective is closer in this recording, with a wide soundstage; it, too, shows off the reverberant acoustic of Symphony Hall. Watch out for the bass drum; it packs quite a wallop! Dynamics are fearsome; there's a hint of tape overload during the very loud fff passages but these don't detract from the fact that this, too, is an excellent recording. 4 1/2 stars for the performance and 4 for sound.

One additional comment: this SACD seems to have been tranferred at a lower average level than the other RCA discs in the same series. For full effect you'll need to turn up the volume a bit even if it means re-balancing the center channel.

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Review by EdBoxer June 9, 2012 (4 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I've owned most of contents of this SACD on LP, Cassette, and/or CD.

The best performance here is the Concerto. Wild and Fieldler are not only ripping through this unabashed, they are clearly having a great time.

The Rhapsody in Blue and American in Paris are both very well played and among my favorite performances (surpassed only by the Bernstein). Wild in the Variations on I've Got Rhythm is little short of astonishing.

The only new performance for me was the Cuban Overture. And after hearing it, I wish they had added the "Strike up the Band" recording in its place. Both are well performed, but, for me, the "Strike up the Band" is a better fit with the rest of the contents of the disc.

Now to the sound - OMG - the three channel SACD is amazing. I have never heard these in such clarity. There is an incredible sense of depth to the sound field. Percussion and some inner voices that were always somewhat muddy are now crystal clear. You can hear where every instrument is. A direct comparison between the Living Stereo CD release (minus the Cuban Overture)and this SACD is like having 200 years of dirt removed from a Michelangelo.

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Works: 5  

George Gershwin - An American in Paris
George Gershwin - Cuban Overture
George Gershwin - I got rhythm
George Gershwin - Piano Concerto in F
George Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue