Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Cole Porter, John Owen Edwards, National Symphony Orchestra|
Kiss Me, Kate (1993 London Studio Cast)
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Soundtracks, Classical, Broadway & Vocalists
A decent chance to hear the complete score
Alan | New York, NY | 12/11/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Until you've heard the complete score to "Kiss Me, Kate" with Robert Russell Bennett's original orchestrations recorded in good, modern sound, you don't know what you've been missing. Matchless as the original Broadway leads were, neither of the recordings they made satisfies completely. Both the original Columbia and the Capitol remake are missing huge chunks of the score and neither adequately conveys the quality of the orchestrations even in the parts that are recorded.
So it is slightly frustrating that there have been two complete recordings of "Kiss Me, Kate" in modern sound featuring the original orchestrations, and both of them have significant problems. The earlier recording, an EMI release conducted by John McGlinn, is not currently available in the U.S., while this JAY release is conducted by John Owen Edwards. Even though the EMI recording is not currently available, I'm going to compare the two, for those who are interested.
Both recordings are well-conducted, but I feel McGlinn gets more out of the score than does Owen Edwards. McGlinn can often be a bit stodgy, but his "Kate" is just gorgeous. He does a better job of bringing out all the neat touches in the orchestration than does Owen Edwards, and he's also better in the jazzier sections. Owen Edwards does a good job, but it's sad to hear him completely miss some moments, as when he fails to slow down sufficiently for the crucial second "And you're mine, dear" in "Wunderbar." Overall, McGlinn just points things better without getting too fussy. If only the same could be said for his cast.
But both recordings fall down in their casts. As Fred/Petruchio, McGlinn's Thomas Hampson is completely at sea. The music doesn't lie well for him, seeming to mostly sit in the least attractive part of his range. And his readings of the dialogue that is included is labored and self-conscious. Thomas Allen, on this JAY release, sounds older than Hampson, but his basic sound seems more attractive to me, the music lies better for him, and his dialogue, if not great, is at least not painful.
It must be said, though, that Hampson has been coached thoroughly in the role, and is aware of every nuance. The trouble is that he overdelivers on every nuance, whereas Allen almost sounds like he's sight-reading some of the score. Still, he's preferable to Hampson. I wish, though, that the JAY people had realized that they were using the bowdlerized British edition of the score. In "I've Come to Wive It Wealthily in Padua," Allen sings "doggone nose" instead of "goddamned nose." It's just not the same.
As Lilli/Kate, EMI's Josephine Barstow tries hard, perhaps a bit too hard, but what she does seems to me mostly suitable for the role. She does well everywhere except "I Hate Men," in which her vocal style just doesn't work, and she is further hampered by some lyrics not usually heard, and with good reason. The rest of the time, she puts out 110 percent. I suspect some may find her a bit too operatic, but I'm convinced by her. JAY's Diana Montague sings well, but is a bit pallid and humorless. She could use more of Barstow's spunk.
And so it goes. As Lois/Bianca, EMI's Kim Criswell is a bit pinched and colorless. JAY's Diane Langton sounds a little old for the role, with some of her top notes a tad frayed, but brings more humor and brio to the role in general, especially "Always True to You in My Fashion," and this is one song on which Owen Edwards surpasses McGlinn.
As Bill/Lucentio, EMI's George Dvorsky is OK but a little staid, with "Bianca" oversung. JAY's Graham Bickley is more winning, even if his British accent shows through at moments. Without oversinging "Bianca," he still sounds like he has a voice that might have been good for Fred/Petruchio, and I suspect he would have better in the role than either Hampson (well, I'm sure of that) or Allen.
On the other hand, EMI's gangsters, Robert Nichols and David Garrison, are a hoot, surpassing JAY's pair, who are certainly good enough. And the other supporting roles tend to be a bit better on the EMI, with Davis Gaines and John Mark Ainsley particularly funny in their introductory sections to "Tom, Dick or Harry," while their counterparts on JAY don't seem to realize they could be funny. On JAY, Shezwae Powell does a good job with "Another Op'nin'," but with McGlinn's fabulous conducting, Karla Burns is even better on EMI. Similarly, Paul Collis does a nice job on "Too Darn Hot" on JAY, but Damon Evans really sizzles on EMI.
EMI also has more interesting filler, with cut songs from "Kate," although JAY's filler of the overtures to "Can Can," "Jubilee," and "Out of This World" is certainly nice to have.
So, on balance the EMI is perhaps a little bit better, if you can get past Hampson. But as long as it's not available, this JAY version will serve adequately."
I never made it past disc one.
junglered66 | Dublin, OH USA | 07/04/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"It's a shame the John McGlinn recording on EMI is out of print, because this travesty is no compensation at all. The singers are really, really bad. And the conductor fails to capture the swing of the score, leaving it sounding dull and lifeless. Run, don't walk, away from this CD."
Really helpful learning CD
Alan | 03/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As an MD for an amateur production of Kiss Me Kate, I found this recording useful as it contains not only every single note in the score, but also every encore as well. It was really helpful in learning the orchestration, as the score was a piano reduction. It certainly saved a lot of time in rehearsal trying to work out who has what tune etc. - I could do it from memory in that I knew the trumpet had the tune there etc. The choreographer used this recording to estimate how long each dance was - something very important as other shows I have done the Choreographer was using a different version of the show (such as the broadway revival of Kiss Me Kate).
Singers can listen to this and know exactly what they will hear from the pit - which is always a helpful thing!! And less experienced singers (or non singers!!) can learn by ear.
I agree with another review that dislikes the singing - however my use was only for learning. The voices don't seem well suited for the parts, however they are not so bad that you cringe in horror - I think stopping after the first disc is a bit excessive!"