Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Audra McDonald, Patrick Wilson|
Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Allegro" (First Complete Recording)
Genres: Classical, Broadway & Vocalists
New Studio Cast Recording featuring Tony Award-winners Audra McDonald, Laura Benanti, Norbert Leo Butz, Tony Award-nominees Patrick Wilson, Judy Kuhn, Liz Callaway, Danny Burstein and opera sensation baritone Nathan Gunn. ... more »
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New Studio Cast Recording featuring Tony Award-winners Audra McDonald, Laura Benanti, Norbert Leo Butz, Tony Award-nominees Patrick Wilson, Judy Kuhn, Liz Callaway, Danny Burstein and opera sensation baritone Nathan Gunn.
Written in 1947, Rodgers & Hammerstein's ALLEGRO was preceded by OKLAHOMA! (1943) and CAROUSEL (1945), and followed by SOUTH PACIFIC (1949) and THE KING AND I (1951), a period when R&H were at their creative zenith. An original musical, it tells the story of an earnest country doctor, Joseph Taylor, Jr., following his life from cradle to adulthood, and his journey - both literal and moral - from small town to big city, and back again. The score is unconventional: fragments of song move in and out of the action like passing thoughts; melodies flit by in one scene only to take hold and blossom in the next. Major songs are given to minor characters, while the central character has comparatively little solo work; at the same time, a chorus provides spoken commentary and sings aloud their inner thoughts. Original director/choreographer Agnes de Mille's extended ballet sequences are reflected in intriguing orchestral pieces alongside such songs as "The Gentleman is a Dope," "So Far," "A Fellow Needs a Girl" and the spirited title song.
Fantastic realization of a R&H "failure".
The Music Man | United States | 02/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm listening to this as I type, and I have to say I'm loving every second of this brand-new recording of the complete score to Rodgers & Hammerstein's 1947 flop "Allegro". This CD has a fascinating genesis: begun as a tryout with a European orchestra who had expressed interest in recording projects, the orchestral tracks were recorded in 2006. Then, the producers put together a "wish list" of talent, focusing on performers' vocal qualities, as if they were putting together the ideal radio show. Since they were willing to wait for artists, they were able to get every single one of their wish list, including Audra McDonald, Marni Nixon, Judy Kuhn, Liz Callway, Nathan Gunn, ...even Stephen Sondheim! There is even a surprise vocal appearance by the late Oscar Hammerstein! The entire process took nearly three years, but the result is a testament to the producer's vision. The recording is a dream, I don't hesitate to say that it blows the Original Broadway Cast clean out of the water, with performances spot on, and not a weak link anywhere - tempos are perfect, voices are pristine, and the richness of the score, which was severely truncated on the original cast recording, is a revelation. Never-before-heard songs and dance music is all here, and the music, weaves seamlessly in and around scenes, is some of Rodgers most inventive and melodic. Accompanied by a thick booklet discussing the whole of the project, along with historical analysis, complete libretto, and color photographs, this set simply cannot be bettered. R&H fans, rejoice! This "Allegro" is everything you've been waiting for!"
21st Century Allegro, Just In Time
bksellerguynj | new jersey | 02/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm glad it's here. We should be thankful any project like this is being done in this era where even before the Crash of '08 a CD release on such a scale would not have been risked by a major label (Sony and the gang--even at cut-rate prices Ted Chapin has managed). I listened all the way through last night with the vocal score in my lap. First the voices and singing, Gunn and Audra M superb, Patrick Wilson incredible (hits and sustains a high G on two tracks! unbelievable!) the chorus sounds like a dream, all the ensemble singing sounds terrific (Joseph Taylor JR, One Foot, Wedding, etc. all wonderful chorus work). Marni Nixon has a charm voice for grandma, don't expect Patricia Neway power here, it's not necessary considering the music grandma is given anyway; this is not an anthem part in the usual R&H mold; in fact, nothing here is in their usual mode which is what makes this a different kind of R&H treasure.
Jenny and the nurse come across great vocally but they are more interesting dramatically or as character voices than as prima donnas. All the voice casting is sound. I want to move on to what is not on the recording that I certainly didn't expect to be here but some buyers may misunderstand. This is as full a recording of the score as possible, but not a full recording of the show. The book of Allegro includes a lot of chorus speech (not Song) you hear a little of this in the recording and it's tantalizing to hear because the recorded chorus speeches do come over as comic and dramatic and have a lot of expression so you'd wish you could hear a full performance to get this missing piece that remains missing and obviously meant a lot to Hammerstein when he wrote the choral speeches. This does not detract from the recording but little touches of drama and pathos and comedy are missing when even speeches that were written in the score are not always heard over this score in this recording. This is not a criticism. I think the producers made all the right choices here and have done an amazing job in view of the scope of this project. We are very lucky to get the score intact (some change of scene music, repeats and exit music are excised but nothing important has been left out). But I think the choral speeches and a lot of dialogue that complete the stage show will be missed by those unfamiliar with how well Hammerstein's book fills in the story, adds humor and pathos which won't be picked up on here obviously. I hope people who read the Synopsis rather than the "libretto" included are helped along with this aspect. I have always dreamed of a fuller recording of Allegro than the original cast album and this should exceed anyone's expectations other than those of a complete perfectionist or an insane person. The voice-only roles are so good and it was a great touch to include Hammerstein's recorded voice for the philosophy professor's line (or the first one, that is). R&H fans have no excuse but to own this."
A Landmark recording
Terry Carroll | Canada | 02/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Allegro" was only available in the original cast version until this recording was released. The original was probably the weakest version of any of Rogers and Hammerstein's scores. It was severely truncated (The new recording is about 100 minutes long -- The old recording is only about 30 minutes), very poorly recorded at 78 rpm, and filled with the pretentious singing of the 1940s. The original cast recordings of "Oklahoma" and "Carousel", although similarly recorded, had many newer versions to make up for it. "Allegro" did not.
Imagine a list of all 44 numbers from the score. Now highlight every fifth or so. You now have what was originally recorded in the 1940s.
The new recording is a revelation. At last you can understand where each number fits into the score, and understand every word that is sung. The orchestra and singers are state of the art. This is a recording I have been waiting for since 2006 when I heard it might actually come about. I just got it this morning, and have already played it three times.
I can't say enough good things about this version. Each singer in the dream cast fits their parts perfectly, and you will never get a better recording.
As far as the musical itself is concerned, it is still the weakest of R&H, but remember, their weakest is far better than many other teams.
The only quibble I have is the packaging. After you hear each long anticipated CD, and enjoy every moment, you are expected to ram the disk into a cardboard envelope, and it is almost impossible to take the CDs out without touching the playing surfaces. I am going to either make copies of these discs, or buy a double plastic case as soon as possible."