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  Mercury Living Presence
  475 6942
  Frederick Fennell conducts the music of Leroy Anderson
  Leroy Anderson: Belle of the Ball, Horse & Buggy, The Waltzing Cat, Blue Tango, Summer Skies, Song of the Bells, The Typewriter, The Syncopated Clock, The Girl in Satin, China Doll, Saraband, Fiddle-Faddle, Sleigh Ride, Serenata, Promenade, Chicken Reel, Phantom Regiment, Jazz Legato, Jazz Pizzicato, Plink Plank Plunk, Bluebells of Scotland, First Day of Spring, Song of Jupiter

Frederick Fennell
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 3

Reviews: 1

Review by Ivymike February 28, 2006 (5 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Frankly, none of the performances of these pops pieces will replace those on other sources I own by Fiedler and the Boston Pops on RCA or Abravanel on Vanguard, which is a bit surprising given Fennell's famous pops touch.

Why? They just don't pack much sparkle or oomph when compared to others mentioned above. Oh, they are fine and make good background music but to my taste they just aren't quite there, not risky enough. The London sessions sound more fun; perhaps the London air did something for Fennell or maybe the orchestra just wanted to have a good time. I don't know.

The sound is similarly mixed. The first fourteen tracks were recorded in the Eastman Theater in two sessions, one in March, 1958 and the other in October, 1956; the Watford Town Hall sessions were taped in 1964. The usual Mercury three microphone set up with half-inch, three-track Ampex tape recorders was used for all sessions. The 1958 sessions sound...well, okay but a bit dead with regards to hall sound. Image depth isn't that great, either and the whole thing sounds professional but a bit flat and not up the to usual high Mercury standard. The 1956 sessions, which used different mics, are a bit more reverberant and the sense of hall is better with more depth. The 1964 sessions sound more like a typical, high-quality Mercury: lots of dynamic range, plenty of great hall ambience. I don't know if the different mics used had anything to do with it or if we are hearing the effects of remastering tweaking (the level of tape hiss on this disc is markedly lower than on the other Mercury SACD's I own; a little equalization in the upper midrange/treble perhaps?) or if we are hearing some age-related treble self-erasure in the tapes or if that's simply the way Bob Fine wanted the tapes to sound.

The center channel shows its presence in the usual improved soundstage width, something I'm at a loss to explain, and woodwinds have good presence. Overall it really isn't a huge improvement over the earlier, red book CD.

A mixed bag, then. If you have the red book CD I'd not recommend this disc.

And why are tracks 15-23 listed as "Orchestra conducted by Frederick Fennell"? Is it the London Symphony Orchestra? The Eastman-Rochester Pops orchestra? A pick-up ensemble?

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Works: 23  

Leroy Anderson - Belle of the Ball
Leroy Anderson - Blue Tango
Leroy Anderson - Bluebells of Scotland
Leroy Anderson - Chicken Reel
Leroy Anderson - China Doll
Leroy Anderson - Fiddle-Faddle
Leroy Anderson - First Day of Spring
Leroy Anderson - Horse & Buggy
Leroy Anderson - Jazz Legato
Leroy Anderson - Jazz Pizzicato
Leroy Anderson - Phantom Regiment
Leroy Anderson - Plink Plank Plunk
Leroy Anderson - Promenade
Leroy Anderson - Saraband
Leroy Anderson - Serenata
Leroy Anderson - Sleigh Ride
Leroy Anderson - Song of Jupiter
Leroy Anderson - Song of the Bells
Leroy Anderson - Summer Skies
Leroy Anderson - The Girl in Satin
Leroy Anderson - The Syncopated Clock
Leroy Anderson - The Typewriter
Leroy Anderson - The Waltzing Cat