Recording of August 1980: Capriccio Italien & Capriccio Espagnol

TCHAIKOVSKY: Capriccio Italien
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Capriccio Espagnol

Boston Pops conducted by Arthur Fiedler.
Crystal Clear CCS-7003 (Direct-cut LP). Ed Wodenjak, prod.; Bert Whyte, eng.; George Piros, Richard Simpson, Stan Ricker, mastering; John Meyer, special equipment; John Curl, console design.

One of Crystal Clear's earlier releases (1978), this has very distant, directionally vague sound, but the sound (stupendous by standards of only a few years ago) cannot stand in the way of two of the most exciting performances of these potboilers that have ever been committed to disc.

This is a landmark recording. It has the best sound Fiedler and his Bumptious Bostonians have been accorded, ever. And since today's conductors seem to have no empathy for this kind of music—tending either to over-intellectualize it or' to play it as high-camp schmalz—there is a more-than-even chance that these are the best performances of the Capriccios that will be recorded within our lifetime.

I was happy to learn recently that Crystal Clear did a parallel recording of this release on digital tape. Regardless of how you may feel about digital audio, it is reassuring to know that these rousing renditions won't go out of circulation when the direct-to-disc stampers are worn out.—J. Gordon Holt

dalethorn's picture

"....this has very distant, directionally vague sound...."
"....It has the best sound Fiedler and his Bumptious Bostonians have been accorded, ever...."

Am I missing something? Seems like a contradiction.

Robin Landseadel's picture

Have the LP, very dynamic, not a Decca-styled close-up of the innards of the instruments, more like the perspective one would experience in the middle rows of a big room. Not bad, heard better, including some of Fiedler's earlier recordings for RCA, during the halcyon days of "Living Stereo". I suspect on one of Mikey's rigs there would a lot more nuance and detail. On LP playback systems of mere mortals, it's just a mid-hall perspective, cut at an unusually low level, containing a few major-league dynamic peaks. Can't say these are the all time best interpretations—you'l find more fire elsewhere.