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  Living Stereo
  Hi-Fi Fiedler - Boston Pops/Arthur Fiedler
  Rimsky-Korsakov: Golden Cockerel (suite), Rossini: William Tell (overture), Chabrier: Espana, Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsodies, Rakoczy March, Tchaikovsky: Marche Slave

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

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Reviews: 2

Site review by Castor November 10, 2005
Performance:   Sonics:  
The text for this review has been moved to the new site. You can read it here:

Review by Jonalogic September 20, 2010 (5 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
As soon as you see the word 'hi-fi' or 'audiophile' in a title, there is reason to worry. This often means bad music, performers or mediocre playing, in hyped-up sound. There is a trace of this phenomenon here (in this primeval show-off disc), but fortunately only a smidgeon.

The major piece here is the Rimsky Golden Coquerel Suite. Back when I was a lad (sometime around 1803) this was much more popular than it is today. Now it's gone into a slump, which is rather a shame. Cast palpably from the same mould as Scheherezade, it shares many of the exotic colourations and characteristics of that uber-popular piece - but maybe with a few less ravishing tunes. It's all part of Slavic composers' long-running love/hate relationship with the mysterious Orient. And it's all good fun. Think of Stravinsky's Firebird, and you won't go far wrong.

It's well played here; however, some of the orchestral warhorses wheeled out later in the disc fare less well. I must confess I am not a great fan of Fiedler; his occasional tinkering is annoying, but more worrying is his tendency to rush, gloss-over and streamline musical lines. The Boston Pops, moreover (the BSO shorn of its front desks and principals) often sounds downright sloppy here. There is also a nasty fluff in the William Tell that should definitely have received the razor blade and sellotape treatment.

I find the sound here most interesting. The great Lewis Layton, in order to hype up the sound, has moved his mikes palpably closer than usual. This brings great immediacy of sound, but shaves away much of the hall sound. He is also running his tapes hotter than usual. The result is all too predictable, regretfully. After a quite exceptional-sounding first 20 minutes of the Rimsky, it runs flat into a brick wall and distorts at the end of the piece. There is also tape overload during the Lizst Rákóczy transcription. Shame - the sound would have easily received 5 stars otherwise.

Let me stress, however, that much of this SACD sounds superb. It also - spookily - reminds me very much of some of the great Kenneth Wilkinson's early recordings for RCA, Decca and Reader's Digest.

Think of it as a 'missing link' in evolutionary terms between two great masters of the recording arts.

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Works: 6  

Emmanuel Chabrier - Espana
Franz Liszt - Rákóczi-Marsch, S. 117 (after S. 244 No. 15)
Franz Liszt - Ungarische Rhapsodien (Hungarian Rhapsodies), S. 244
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov - Le Coq d'or (Suite)
Gioachino Rossini - Guillaume Tell (William Tell)
Peter Tchaikovsky - Slavonic March, TH 45 Op. 31