Holiday For Strings / Fiedler / Boston Pops

More Music Conducted by Arthur Fiedler

More Living Stereo Recordings

  • Holiday For Strings finally arrives on the site with stunning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound throughout
  • This is a true Demo Disc quality recording, with lovely Living Stereo strings – close your eyes and the three-dimensional soundstaging will make your speakers disappear
  • This is a sweetheart of a recording – big, clear, rich, dynamic, transparent and energetic, and will surely put to shame most of the Living Stereo pressings you own (unless you bought them from us)
  • “Nowhere in the world is there a surer guarantee of more richly varied musical delights than that promised by this conductor’s precise baton, his infallible ear and memory, the prodigious range of his taste, his interpretative verve.”

Yet Another Record We’ve Discovered with (Potentially) Excellent Sound

This vintage RCA Victor Stereo (but not Living Stereo, this being 1966) LP has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the Boston Pops, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What the Best Sides Of Holiday For Strings Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1966
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we’ve heard them all.

Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently, the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.

Tube smear is common to most vintage pressings and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.

What We’re Listening For On Holiday For Strings

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.


Side One

Holiday For Strings – David Rose
Liebesfreud – Fritz Kreisler
Humoresque-Swanee River – Johann Strauss Jr., Josef Straub
Andante Cantabile – Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Arkansas Traveler (Old Fiddler’s Breakdown) – David W. Guion
The Surrey With The Fringe On Top – Rodgers-Hammerstein

Side Two

Our Waltz – David Rose
The Flight Of The Bumblebee – Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Malagueña – Ernesto Lecuona
Concert-Polka For 2 Violins – H.C. Lumbye
No Strings Attached – Richard Hayman
Mendelssohn Violin Concerto: Finale – Felix Mendelssohn

High Fidelity on Fiedler, 1960

Nowhere in the world is there surer guarantee of more richly varied musical delights than that promised by this conductor’s precise baton, his infallible ear and memory, the prodigious range of his taste, his interpretative verve. Yes, outside Boston at least, the fabulous Fiedlerian success story tends to be taken for granted. His distinctive role as symphonic spokesman to mass audiences is one calculated in win popular adulation. It also earns ultrasophisticates’ supercilious disdain for “mere routine.”

Of course Fiedler can afford to laugh all the way to the bank at such snobbery; yet he is too well grounded a “straight” musician and too sincere an artist to be unaware of the high price that seemingly must always be paid for wide popular acclaim. The Fiedler “image” is well known; it is quite possible that it obscures the true nature of the man himself.

Leave a Reply