Classical

Kunzel's Stunning Legacy

02 SEP 09 JASON SERINUS

Less than four months after being inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame, conductor Erich Kunzel succumbed to cancer near his home in Maine on Sept. 1. Dubbed "The Prince of Pops" by the Chicago Tribune, Kunzel conducted his final concert with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra on Aug. 1. His 44 years at the orchestra's helm and 32 years as a Telarc artist produced over 85 albums for the label, 55 of which appeared on the Top 10 Billboard charts.

Beyond his multiple Grammy Awards remains the music. Sensational music. His extraordinary recordings of movie scores are legendary -- from his Chiller, Masters And Commanders, Movie Love Themes, and Great Film Fantasies compilations to Symphonic Star Trek and the recent Vintage Cinema.

Audiophiles sheltered their children and pets as the cannons on Kunzel's SACD and DVD Audio versions of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture blasted away in surround sound. Copland, Gershwin, Hammerstein, Hanson, Loewe and Williams received the same attention as Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Rodrigo and Rozsa. It's safe to say that if the music had a great melody, and either touched the heart or took you prisoner with its power and passion, Kunzel had either recorded it or held it in his sights.

Telarc co-founder and former president Bob Woods, who produced all of Kunzel's Telarc recordings, said, "I don't know anyone who worked as hard as he did and as passionately as he did, and who had as much fun as he did." He added, "As painful as it is to lose someone as dear as Erich, I can't help but celebrate a life lived so well. His discography of the symphonic pops repertoire is unparalleled in the history of recording." The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra has established a web page in Kunzel's honor.

  • Album Small
    Saint-Saens: Danse Macabre

    Erich Kunzel & Cincinnati Pops Orchestra ...

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    Overture to Anne of the Indies

    Erich Kunzel & Cincinnati Pops Orchestra ...

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    Main Title from To Kill A Mockingbird

    Erich Kunzel & Cincinnati Pops Orchestra ...

  • Album Small
    Main Title from Star Trek II: The Wrath of ...

    Erich Kunzel & Cincinnati Pops Orchestra ...

in this playlist.