Much of Arthur Fiedler’s fifty-plus year output had a, well, “pops” kind of presentation, and despite his penchant for more “light” classical fare, he was nonetheless a superb conductor with a vast musical repertory. This disc of all-Russian orchestral showstoppers is characteristic of his work, and is presented for the first time in its original three-channel sound. Borodin’s In the Steppes of Central Asia and his Polovtsian Dances are among the big hits here, also music from Khachaturian’s Gayne and Masquerade ballets, and super-pop hits such as Flight of the Bumblebee. Soundwise, all the performances hearken back to the golden age of early stereo. Unfortunately, most of the selections are perhaps not given the most idiomatic readings they may have ever received; more involving readings of the Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov and Khachaturian pieces can be found on several Mercury Living Presence recordings led by Antal Dorati (some are even available on SACD). Pretty much a mixed bag here – you may want to try it if possible before you buy it.
— Tom Gibbs