Last year the Boston Pops made an embarrassing mistake by canceling the annual Arthur Fiedler memorial concert without notifying members of Fiedler's family. Last night Keith Lockhart and the Pops made amends by celebrating the 75th anniversary of Fiedler's appointment as Pops conductor by presenting a full-scale tribute, with Fiedler's son Peter and other family and friends on hand.
After last week's opening-night gala without any real classical music, the Fiedler tribute swung in the other direction, with an all-classical concert presented in collaboration with the ''classical countdown" at WCRB-FM. Peter Fiedler couldn't remember an occasion when his father did this at a Pops concert, but all the music had Fiedler connections, and it was interesting to hear Lockhart lead it.
He did a good job, and introduced the pieces with informal charm, reminding the audience of the association of the ''Dance of the Hours" from Ponchielli's ''La Gioconda" with hippopotami in pink tutus in Disney's ''Fantasia" and with Allan Sherman's 1963 hit, ''Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah." The performance had Fiedlerian panache and a touch of elegance. In selections by Wagner, Mussorgsky, and Beethoven there were occasional indications that Lockhart doesn't get much more rehearsal time than Fiedler did, but Respighi's ''Pines of Rome" went very well, because Lockhart could build on the work of Rafael Fruehbeck de Burgos on this piece in the final week of the BSO season. Still, it would have been nice to hear some of Fiedler's Offenbach or Johann Strauss bon-bons.
Soloist in the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto was Juliette Kang, BSO assistant concertmaster who leaves the orchestra this summer to become associate concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Kang may have underestimated the amount of ambient noise created by the Pops environment because her playing sounded a trifle underprojected. But she offered a lovely sound that became particularly beautiful in quiet high notes. Her technique is solid and she scampered through a quicksilver account of the finale that won her a nice hand from her colleagues and the audience.
The concert loosened up at the end, where Lockhart offered the encore Fiedler felt no concert was complete without, ''The Stars and Stripes Forever," and the audience burst into an ovation when Old Glory cascaded down from the rafters.