‘Fiedler Encores’ was a 1978 album of substantial works somewhat belying its title, and displaying Fiedler’s gifts as a fiery, sympathetic interpreter of core-classical repertoire: included here are the roistering Finlandia of Sibelius and the equally fervent nationalism of Smetana in ‘Vltava’ from Ma vlast. The remainder of the album covers a still wider range of repertoire, encapsulated by the original title of the Decca LP (also recorded in Phase 4 stereo), ‘The Two Sides of Fiedler’. There are charming classical miniatures by Dvorak (two Slavonic Dances), Mendelssohn (the Wedding March from A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and balletic extracts from Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel and Verdi’s Aida.
The disc is rounded off in style by smooth arrangements of film and popular music, the kind of hits that kept the crowds coming to Boston Pops concert, with Fiedler the ever-genial bandmaster, throughout the postwar decades. John Williams’s themes for Spielberg’s Jaws and Star Wars; a swoony instrumental version of Sondheim’s ‘Send in the clowns’; and even songs by Streisand (Evergreen) and Neil Sedaka (Love will keep us together).
As Fiedler himself remarked, quoted by Raymond Tuttle in the compilation’s new booklet essay, ‘One thing I have always believed in is music as a universal language, and my years with the Boston Pops reflect the range and scope of this interest as we work our way through a vast repertoire from Country to Classics. this span of musical poles truly accents the universality of music.’ It’s a disc to remind any listener of how and why, by 1963, Fiedler records had already sold over two million copies.
SMETANA: Vltava (Má Vlast)
DVOŘÁK: Slavonic Dance in C major, Op. 46 No. 1
DVOŘÁK: Slavonic Dance in C major, Op. 72 No. 7
MENDELSSOHN: Wedding March (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
HUMPERDINCK: Pantomime (Hänsel und Gretel)
VERDI: Ballet Music from Aida
CHOPIN: Polonaise No. 3 in A major, Op. 40 No. 1 ‘Military’ (orch. Glazunov)
JOHN WILLIAMS: Theme from ‘Star Wars’
STEPHEN SONDHEIM: Send in the Clowns (A Little Night Music)
JOHN WILLIAMS: Theme from ‘Jaws’
BARBRA STREISAND: Evergreen
NEIL SEDAKA: Love Will Keep Us Together (arr. Richard Hayman)
Boston Pops Orchestra