Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Richard Rodgers, John Mauceri, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra|
Rodgers & Hammerstein - The Complete Overtures ~ Opening Night / Hollywood Bowl Orchestra · Mauceri
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks
The debate will never stop raging between those who prefer Richard Rodgers's early work with Lorenz Hart and those partial to his later collaboration with Oscar Hammerstein. The shows of the two partnerships were so differ... more »
The debate will never stop raging between those who prefer Richard Rodgers's early work with Lorenz Hart and those partial to his later collaboration with Oscar Hammerstein. The shows of the two partnerships were so different that there's almost no resolution possible, but the themes on this CD prove that Rodgers wrote memorable melodies in very different styles during his career. Even if you prefer, say, Pal Joey, it's hard to deny the majestic allure of Carousel and The King and I. With the Rodgers & Hammerstein canon readily available on CD, this album is notable for two things. The first is that by focusing exclusively on overtures, and by presenting them in chronological order, it offers a quick survey of some of Rodgers's best-known melodies. The second is that it includes two rare pieces: the first recording of the overture from 1953's Me and Juliet and the overture from Pipe Dream, a 1955 show based on John Steinbeck's novel Cannery Row that was Rodgers & Hammerstein¹s biggest failure. Those two alone make it worthwhile for R&H fans to pick up the album. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
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Rodgers is one of the greatest theatre composers...
dungeonmaster201 | Cortlandt Manor, NY United States | 10/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When people think about legends in musical theatre, ranking high at the top would be Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, Jule Styne, Irving Berlin and Jerome Kern. But no list would be complete with the celebrated collaborators Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. For this recording, conductor John Mauceri decided to perform the overtures to Rodgers and Hammerstein's shows. A lot of work went into this, considering 2 of the shows didn't have the conventional overture and another was a film score. R&H first worked together in 1943 on the show "Oklahoma!" which became a monstrous sensation, running for 2,212 performances in its initial Broadway run and forever becoming a musical theatre icon. The overture has been heard over the years on various recordings - the Original Broadway album (considered to be the true original Broadway cast recording), etc. Even more thrilling is finally getting the full eight minute "Carousel Waltz" in its original orchestrations. I saw a reconstruction of the entire score at Carnegie Hall on June 6, 2002 with Audra McDonald and Hugh Jackman and there was lengthy applause for this piece - which is my nomination for the greatest waltz written in the 20th century (with every other beloved Rodgers waltz coming in close behind.) The suite from State Fair proposes what could be a stage overture for the show (its eventual Broadway attempt was unfortunately a flop). Its interesting to hear the first recording of the "Allegro" overture - something that was not included on the original cast album. The show is one of the 3 flops that the team experienced in their career together. "South Pacific" is presented unedited (and its so wonderful to hear everything) and "The King and I" is another joy. "Me and Juliet" is also another one of the flops - its overture is the type that will leave you wondering why it wasn't successful (I especially the enjoy the Latin influence.) Then we come to a personal favorite - the least successful Rodgers and Hammerstein show - "Pipe Dream", based on John Steinbeck's novel "Sweet Thursday", a sequel to "Cannery Row". I have a fondness for this show and its score (the libretto is admittedly weak and bland - missing what Steinbeck had intended for it). But the full overture (it was cut in half on the RCA album) is a joy - featuring "The Man I Used to Be", "All At Once You Love Her" and what sounds like a true showstopper "Sweet Thursday". (These are the strongest numbers in the show) I personally think that with a reconceived & rewritten script and a few lyric alterations, this could be the hit it should've been in 1955. Definitely a candidate to be revisited. The next overture has been available for years - "Cinderella". On this recording, the 1965 version is used, which was far superior to the original 1957 version and should be used in any stage production of the show today. "Flower Drum Song" is not the original Broadway overture - it is the national tour overture. For the tour, Rodgers decided that "I Enjoy Being a Girl", undeniably the show's lasting standard, be included in the opening, meaning the loss of "Like a God". Finally we reach the 11th and final show - "The Sound of Music". Onstage, the show opens with a chorus of nuns singing Gregorian chant, however the creative team behind this recording decided to subsitute the rarely heard Entr'acte of the show, which gives you an idea of what an overture might have been for this show, had the composers decided on a traditional opening. They also tacked on an arrangement of "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" at the end of the piece. All in all, this is a great documentation - and hearing the music symphonically performed makes it 100 times better than ever. Mauceri sure picked a real winner here, folks. Definitely worth the money for true Rodgers and Hammerstein fans."
M. Harris | Alexandria, VA United States | 03/24/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To borrow a title from one of the great songs penned by R&H -- this album of overtures from some of their greatest as well as lesser hits really is something wonderful! Oklahoma, Carousel, State Fair, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music are all represented. But so are Allegro, Me and Juliet, Pipe Dream, Cinderella, and Flower Drum Song; shows perhaps not as well known, but all containing the gorgeous melodies of Richard Rodgers. Oscar Hammerstein's words are not heard -- at least on the album -- but they're so ingrained into most of our psyches that it's impossible not to 'hear' them in your head. Most of the overtures are presented in their original orchestrations by the genius Richard Russel Bennett. Wouldn't it be great to see some of these shows restaged -- including the 'ones that got away' like Allegro and Pipe Dream? And wouldn't it be equally great to hear some of today's singers cover the R&H classics along with some all but forgotten gems (e.g., "The Loneliness of Evening," orginally written for South Pacific, but cut and subsequently incorporated into the 1965 version of Cinderella) that are every bit as beautiful as the more popular R&H compositions. This is a super album for any R&H fan or any fan of beautiful music."