Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Richard Rodgers, Erich Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra|
Rodgers & Hammerstein: Songbook for Orchestra
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Classical, Broadway & Vocalists
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"Some Enchanted Evening" with Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops
Yi-Peng | Singapore | 12/26/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Erich Kunzel's Rodgers and Hammerstein anthology with the Cincinatti Pops Orchestra is one of the best and most ravishing instrumental Rodgers and Hammerstein albums of all time. With sumptuous arrangements and warm, natural Telarc recording, this glorious 77-minute CD presents sweeping, melodic arrangements of over 60 Rodgers and Hammerstein selections, spanning eight scores, and Kunzel allows the Pops to play with a characterful and polished understanding of the Rodgers and Hammerstein idiom. The disc is enough to cheer you up on a dull day and make you smile, and it might even want to make you feel like a convert to Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals.This CD has all the scores arranged chronologically. The OKLAHOMA! suite that opens this disc promises a feast for the senses, Kunzel ably evokes the territory's "bright, golden haze" in the way he conducts the various excerpts, until you feel the atmosphere of the country charm of the show, and the love-affair between Curly and Laurey. Then, in CAROUSEL, he ably evokes the pathos of this tragic R&H masterwork, especially in the truncated Waltz, but he leads a wonderfully melodic "June is Bustin' Out All Over" and a devotional "You'll Never Walk Alone." Although this suite does not include Billy's pivotal Soliloquy, it includes "If I Loved You" as an expression of his love for Julie, and within minutes you could be soaked in the ups and downs of the show's mood. After a brief STATE FAIR suite, with sweeping renditions of "It Might As Well Be Spring" and "It's a Grand Night for Singing", we are brought into the disc's showstopping highlights. These highlights are the excerpts from SOUTH PACIFIC, THE KING AND I, and THE SOUND OF MUSIC. But yet Kunzel conducts the rest of the disc until the various suites amount to a series of showstoppers. These three suites present wonderfully-arranged versions of their many familiar classic songs, with well-played solos. The SOUTH PACIFIC suite presents the songs in chronological order, yet preserves the atmosphere of the show at the same time. Kunzel ably brings out the romance in "Some Enchanted Evening" and "Younger than Springtime," and contrasts it with the exotic and dreamlike "Bali Hai'i" and the comic "There is Nothing like a Dame" and "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair". Although the suite ends quietly with a reprise of "Dites-Moi" rather than the reprise of "Some Enchanted Evening," within minutes we are swept into the KING AND I suite. Kunzel ably brings out the Oriental pathos in this score, and he captures the warmth of Anna's rapport with the King's Siamese children in "Getting to Know You", and with the King himself in "Shall We Dance." There is also romance in the love ballads "I Have Dreamed" and "We Kiss in a Shadow." Similarly, in the selection from THE SOUND OF MUSIC, Kunzel conducts this until the orchestra soaks itself in the atmosphere of this Austrian R&H score. This SOUND OF MUSIC suite has more of a feel of the score compared to the bonus track on Sony's reissued version of the Broadway recording. You can almost feel as if you are following the progress of the Trapp family and how it lifts its spirits with the joy of music. Kunzel gives us a soaring version of the title song, and spirited versions of "Do-Re-Mi" and "My Favourite Things." He balances it with the open-air quality of "Edelweiss" and "The Lonely Goatherd." Although this suite could have included "Something Good," the love ballad written for the film, the three recollections of the songs that were cut from the movie only last for a while. And, the towering version of "Climb Every Mountain" crowns this portion of the disc, and this sumptuously-produced recording. But, I should also mention the infectuous FLOWER DRUM SONG medley, where Kunzel turns this underrated score into a work of art, until it convinces you to buy the cast recording. And, don't forget about the brief CINDERELLA WALTZ, too, when Kunzel conducts it magically, until you feel like you are in the company of Cinderella and the Prince. He is able to show how this R&H score marked a comeback for R&H after the failiures of Me and Juliet, and Pipe Dream.Overall, this glorious Rodgers and Hammerstein recording is guarunteed to make you want to pucker your lips out for a whistle or sing along (to paraphrase another revew for Kunzel's Disney Spectacular disc) - even if this recording is music only, and as long as you know the words to the songs (and you might know a large handful of them already.) There is always a certain magic in this fine CD that makes you feel like you're sitting in the theatre watching these musicals, until it makes you feel like it is truly, to borrow two R&H song titles, "Some Enchanted Evening" and "Something Wonderful" to be in Kunzel's company for this R&H offering. It would certainly be one recording that could make you feel willing to buy the complete cast recordings of the shows. And I guaruntee that it will make you feel willing to pull out your existing copies of the cast recordings to listen to them again. I also guaruntee that it will be a cornerstone in any Rodgers and Hammerstein collection, just as it is in mine. Recommended heartily to any Rodgers and Hammerstein enthusiast and to fans of Erich Kunzel's work. And, you can play it while reading the Richard Rodgers biography, Musical Stages, until Rodgers himself would count this as his favourite disc in the afterlife.By the way, most of the arrangements for the suites on this CD were done by the veteran R&H orchestrator Robert Russell Bennett, and it surely adds to the appeal of this recording. This itself is enough to amount to the icing on the cake, since Kunzel conducts them well on here, and since this recording still allows the suites to have the original theatrical atmosphere. And, although this recording is like the Mauceri collection of the Rodgers & Hammerstein overtures in compiling orchestral suites of Rodgers & Hammerstein, I think that I like the Kunzel recording even more because Kunzel has more magic in his conducting of these suites."
Howard Rubinstein | New Jersey | 09/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a first rate album with great arrangments and orchestrations. If you're a Rodgers and Hammerstein fan, you can't afford to miss this specatacular album"
S. Hawley | Orlando, Florida USA | 04/08/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the best Erich Kunzel/Cincinnati Pops collections we own! A must for Rodgers and Hammerstein fans, too."