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Monday, August 21, 2017

Jacques Offenbach; Ottorino Respighi - Gaîté Parisienne; La boutique fantasque (Arthur Fiedler)


Composer: Jacques Offenbach; Ottorino Respighi
  • (01-23) Offenbach - Gaîté Parisienne, ballet (arr. Manuel Rosenthal)
  • (24-32) Respighi - La boutique fantasque, ballet, P. 120 (based on piano pieces by Gioachino Rossini)

Boston Pops Orchestra
Arthur Fiedler, conductor

Date: 1954 (1-23), 1956 (24-32)
Label: RCA



There are few performances of the Offenbach/Rosenthal ballet Gaîté Parisienne to match Arthur Fiedler's delightful 1954 recording with the Boston Pops Orchestra, and the companion piece on this RCA Living Stereo reissue, the Rossini/Respighi ballet La boutique fantasque, is similarly a joy to hear again since the 1956 performance is still a classic among few competitors. Everything is vivid and sparkling in this sonic showcase: both historic recordings represent RCA's exceptional efforts in pioneering stereo reproduction, and as early examples of the art, they are astonishingly fresh and vibrant. Even by today's digital standards, these remastered ADD recordings stand up quite well in clarity, color, and frequency range. Yet even though several modern, all-digital recordings of Gaîté Parisienne and La boutique fantasque can boast superior technology, it's hard to find any who can top Fiedler for joie de vivre or his brilliant orchestra for expertise in this effervescent repertoire.

-- Blair Sanderson, AllMusic

More reviews:


Jacques Offenbach (20 June 1819 – 5 October 1880) was a German-born French composer, cellist and impresario of the romantic period. He is remembered for his nearly 100 operettas of the 1850s–1870s and his uncompleted opera The Tales of Hoffmann, which remains part of the standard opera repertory. He was a powerful influence on later composers of the operetta genre, particularly Johann Strauss, Jr. and Arthur Sullivan. His best-known works were continually revived during the 20th century, and many of his operettas continue to be staged in the 21st.


Ottorino Respighi (9 July 1879 – 18 April 1936) was an Italian composer and musicologist. He is best known for his orchestral music, particularly the three Roman tone poems: Fountains of Rome (Fontane di Roma), Pines of Rome (I pini di Roma), and Roman Festivals (Feste romane). His musicological interest in 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century music led him to compose pieces based on the music of these periods. Although Respighi was known primarily as composers of instrumental and orchestral music, he also wrote a number of operas, the most famous of which is La fiamma.


Arthur Fiedler (December 17, 1894 – July 10, 1979) was a long-time conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, a symphony orchestra that specializes in popular and light classical music. With a combination of musicianship and showmanship, he made the Boston Pops one of the best-known orchestras in the United States of America. Fiedler was sometimes criticized for over-popularizing music, particularly when adapting popular songs or edited portions of the classical repertoire, but he kept performances informal and sometimes self-mocking to attract a bigger audience.


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