Frederick Fennell was responsible for making recording industry history when he made the very first digital recording with Telarc in 1978. It was to be the first commercial classical recording produced in the United States, and it helped to launch the technology worldwide. World Book Encyclopedia’s Yearbook for 1978 tagged the recording as "the bass drum heard ‘round the world," as it showcased the advantages of the new digital technology and Telarc’s unique recording style. The release captured a huge audience of audio fans around the world. Featuring Gustav Holst’s Suite for Wind Ensemble (CD-80038), Cleveland, Ohio native Fennell conducted a hand-picked group of musicians, most all members of the Cleveland Orchestra, for this historic project. In 1983 with the launch of CDs, it would be also become one of the first recordings to be released in that format as well.
Recorded at Severance Hall in April 1978, the Cleveland Symphonic Winds bring the brilliance of 18th century composers Holst, Handel, and Bach to the 20th century. They coax 200-year-old ideas off the pages of music using a well-balanced combination of dexterity and lung capacity. The sounds produced by the air that resonates through the instruments of the Cleveland Symphonic Winds are simply breathtaking.
Gustav Holst’s Two Suites for Military Band are like the mortar that binds the building blocks of military band instrumentation since the end of World War II. Modern compositions are often held together by familiar melodic ideas from these pieces.
Fantasia in G, originally composed by Bach, has been arranged here by Richard Franko Goldman. Intended for the performance resources of "today’s large wind band—a sort of living organ from which the necessary continuous outpouring of sound is limited only by the skill with which the players provide the breath that produces it."
The Music for the Royal Fireworks was composed by Handel to celebrate the 1748 Peace of Aix-La-Chapelle. However, the celebratory fireworks accidentally ignited and consumed in flames, all that was prepared for the occasion. Regarded as one of the best pieces ever written for winds, it was incidentally arranged for orchestras due to the inferiority of the organized wind bands of Handel’s time.