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John Williams & the Boston Pops: Philips Recordings

John Williams & the Boston Pops: Complete Philips Recordings (Decca 4851590)

This 21-disc set documents the first decade of John Williams’s tenure as the successor of the legendary Arthur Fiedler as conductor of the Boston Pops.  Williams career up to 1980 had been as a studio pianist and conductor. “I never intended to conduct in public,” he once said.  But his suprising appointment—regarded at the time as not quite logical—turned out to be inspired.  He brought to the assignment a Fiedler-like passion for bringing symphonic music to the masses.  His 15-year tenure with the Pops generated a career’s worth of compelling programs with guest artists from all fields of music.  The reissues in this box include Pops on the March, Out of this World, America the Dream Goes On, Salute to Hollywood, and Pops a la Russe with artists like Jessye Norman, James Ingram, Dudley Moore, and Misha Dichter. There’s a disc of holidays favorites— We Wish You a Merry Christmas—that’s particularly timely!  Williams’s years with the Boston Pops were marked by three big accomplishments all of which inform this collection: he brought symphonic film scores into music’s mainstream, he vastly expanded repertoire and he and some gifted orchestrators improved the quality of the Pops arrangements.  John Williams & the Boston Pops is being offered as an incentive during WCLV’s Year-End Membership Campaign, December 15-20.