Friday, June 30, 2017

A Boston Pops Miscellany

Arthur Fiedler, c. 1935
Summer is here - traditionally the time when orchestras do their "pops" seasons, and none is more celebrated than those of Boston (though in latter days, rivaled by those in Cincinnati). The Boston "Pops" began making recordings 82 summers ago, and purveyed everything from standard repertoire to traditional and contemporary light music. All three are represented here in this batch:

Wagner: Rienzi - Overture and Tannhäuser - Fest-Marsch
Boston Pops Orchestra conducted by Arthur Fiedler
Recorded June 28-29, 1937
Victor Musical Masterpiece set DM-569, two 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 45.17 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 29.84 MB)

Album of Strauss Waltzes
(Wein, Weib und Gesang; Wiener Blut; Künstlerleben; Kaiser; Frühlingsstimmen)
Boston Pops Orchestra conducted by Arthur Fiedler
Recorded 1936-37
Victor Musical Masterpiece set M-445, five 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 103.12 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 67.24 MB)

Piston: The Incredible Flutist - Ballet Suite
Boston Pops Orchestra conducted by Arthur Fiedler
Recorded June 29, 1939
Victor Musical Masterpiece set DM-621, two 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC file, 41.67 MB)
Link (MP3 file, 29.91 MB)

Not being a Viennese waltz aficionado, I can't say how authentic Fiedler's interpretations of Johann Strauss may be, but I certainly enjoyed them - he plays them with all the zest and gusto one could want. The Piston recording is wholly delightful, but the solo flutist is unfortunately not credited. On Fiedler's later (1953) recording, James Pappoutsakis did the honors, and since that gentleman became the BSO's assistant principal flute the year this recording was made, it's quite possible he did the honors on this occasion also.


  1. Alternate links:




  2. I agree with you, the waltzes zing with zest and gusto a-gogo - thank you again very much! All the best, Nick

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  4. His stereo recording, not "he" stereo recording.

    Fumble fingers.

  5. Fiedler was well-respected for his recordings of Strauss family waltzes and he had a real flair for them.

    I seem to recall (but can't verify it off the internet) that in his youth he had played the violin under the baton of the youngest Strauss brother, Eduard.

    In any case, way back in the LP days, his stereo record was one of the top recommendations, along with Fritz Reiner's CSO recordings, also for RCA.

    Nevertheless, the Clemens Krauss recordings, monophonic though they were, usually got the top marks, especially since he included the whole orchestral introductions.

    I think that Carlos Kleiber's New Year's Eve concerts are the absolute best and that Manfred Honeck comes very close but it is still a pleasure to hear Fiedler.


  6. To approach this Vienna to that of Weingartner. Great work Bryan! And thank you for the wonderful rarity. Francis from Cavarzere - Venice (Italy).