Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Ernest Boyd-Jones, Paul Rubens|
Florodora (1899 Original London Cast)
Genres: Soundtracks, Classical, Broadway & Vocalists
A truly historic album, with historic problems
Gene DeSantis | Philadelphia, PA United States | 05/31/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This CD constitutes not merely the first musical cast recordings, but most likely the first attempt of any kind at an album, though the selections were issued as singles. All but forgotten now, "Florodora" was a smash at the turn of the last century on both sides of the Atlantic, famous for its catchy double-"Sextet" ("Tell Me, Pretty Maiden") which spawned the Florodora Girls, the most celebrated chorus line before Ziegfeld's. The show's history is a bit of a mess; the score seems to have had frequent interpolations, with many songs going by different titles at different times. The Gramophone Company did a yeoman's task assembling the originating cast through a set of a dozen numbers, with one or another of the songwriting crew on a piano. But the technology was unspeakably primitive -- seven-inch acoustical discs with a very constricted cutting "pitch" -- and we hear the results too well with a persistent muffled tone rendering many of the lyrics virtually unintelligible. The sound technology improvements since this 1989 issue would not likely have cured much. Yet something of the show's charm and spirit still carries through, especially on the tracks with Louis Bradfield, who sounds like a precursor to the great George S. Irving; Ada Reeve's sweetly ironic "I've an Inkling" gives at least a hint this score belies its age. To fill out the time (the selections average two minutes, not counting the generous five-second pauses) we get other later recordings, including an anonymous Columbia "Sextet" and a puzzling Great War allegory sung by May Leslie Stuart, the benighted composer's daughter -- something about a German Jack and Jill falling down several hills; and five other earlier Gramophone discs with Leslie Stuart himself at the piano, charming trifles that bear allegiance to the burgeoning ragtime culture in name only. Perhaps "Florodora" is way too antediluvian for revival but someone could get up the talent to at least record it; for now this seems the last, unsatisfactory word."