For more than half a century, Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra were joined in a musical union that, through concerts, recordings, radio broadcasts and television programs, brought untold musical pleasure to millions of Americans.
If one event could be said to sum up the grandfatherly, white-haired conductor's extraordinary popular appeal, it may have been the Bicentennial concert that he led on the Fourth of July in 1976, on Boston's Esplanade. An estimated 400,000 cheering Fiedler admirers crammed themselves into the outdoor area for a free program of patriotic tunes, in what was probably the largest gathering for a musical event in the nation's history.
Mr. Fiedler, who projected a jolly, unsnobbish image, had his finger on the pulse of Mr. & Mrs. Middle America. He seemed always to know exactly how much easy-to-listen-to classical music they could and would take when it was mixed with generous portions of show tunes and other popular music done in lush symphonic arrangements. - N.Y. Times