Richard Rodgers always considered Carousel his favorite score, even though it didn't generate the number of popular hits of some of the other shows he produced with lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II. Their adaptation of the Fe... more »renc Molnar play Liliom is marked by three especially sublime moments. "The Carousel Waltz," Rodgers's alternative to the traditional Broadway overture, serves as an orchestral backdrop to the opening scene and is one of the best miniatures ever written for the theater. "If I Loved You," which establishes the romance of carnival barker Billy Bigelow (Gordon MacRae, a late replacement for Frank Sinatra) and nice girl Julie Jordan (Shirley Jones), is a musical minidrama in which the pair's discussion of how they are not in love reveals just how much they are in love. "Soliloquy" is Billy's powerful solo that foreshadows the action to come in Act II. Add the inspirational anthem "You'll Never Walk Alone," and you have Rodgers and Hammerstein's most extraordinary, near-operatic score. On the soundtrack for the 1956 film, MacRae and Jones are in exceptional voice (following their success in 1955's Oklahoma) and the orchestra sounds glorious, but unfortunately some of the numbers were shortened, most notably "If I Loved You." Extensive production notes, an interview with Jones, and a synopsis are included. --David Horiuchi« less
Richard Rodgers always considered Carousel his favorite score, even though it didn't generate the number of popular hits of some of the other shows he produced with lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II. Their adaptation of the Ferenc Molnar play Liliom is marked by three especially sublime moments. "The Carousel Waltz," Rodgers's alternative to the traditional Broadway overture, serves as an orchestral backdrop to the opening scene and is one of the best miniatures ever written for the theater. "If I Loved You," which establishes the romance of carnival barker Billy Bigelow (Gordon MacRae, a late replacement for Frank Sinatra) and nice girl Julie Jordan (Shirley Jones), is a musical minidrama in which the pair's discussion of how they are not in love reveals just how much they are in love. "Soliloquy" is Billy's powerful solo that foreshadows the action to come in Act II. Add the inspirational anthem "You'll Never Walk Alone," and you have Rodgers and Hammerstein's most extraordinary, near-operatic score. On the soundtrack for the 1956 film, MacRae and Jones are in exceptional voice (following their success in 1955's Oklahoma) and the orchestra sounds glorious, but unfortunately some of the numbers were shortened, most notably "If I Loved You." Extensive production notes, an interview with Jones, and a synopsis are included. --David Horiuchi
Finest of all recordings of the classic R&H score
A. Andersen | Bellows Falls, VT USA | 07/29/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The sumptuous orchestrations, superb vocal and dramatic interpretations (courtesy of Alfred Newman/Ken Darby) and the wonderful stereo sound make this the finest recording of the score to date. True it is incomplete but until the new 1994 cast recording this was true of all prior releases. The CAROUSEL WALTZ is heard in its entirety (7:11) though this performance is not heard in the film. Likewise YOU'RE A QUEER ONE, JULIE JORDAN and BLOW HIGH, BLOW LOW appear on the album but not in the film - excised from the final print due to running lengths. This is the first time the first half of the WALTZ is heard in stereo. The stereo LP cut it in half. Barbara Ruick is a wonderful Carrie and her MR. SNOW is the definitive version - there's a musical intro not heard in the film. IF I LOVED YOU has little of the bridging dialogue but is superbly sung by MacRae and Jones and sumptuously orchestrated. Part of the bridge "I can just see myself..." is not heard in the film. JUNE is a fabulous stereo sound spread with exceptional work from Claramae Turner as Nettie and the chorus and orchestra - this contains a musical intro and closing music not heard in the film. The SOLILOQUY is MacRae's finest hour dramatically and vocally and is the best recording of the song to date. The first half of WHEN THE CHILDREN ARE ASLEEP heard here does not appear in the film - it is an infectious performance vocally (Ruick and Robert Rounseville) and orchestrally. A REAL NICE CLAMBAKE is rousing - here another musical intro not in the film. STONECUTTERS CUT IT ON STONE (again with a musical intro not in the film) is great fun and very well done - part of the women's chorus is not in the film. Jones' WHAT'S THE USE OF WONDRIN is plaintive and introspective - a fine performance. Turner is again fabulously voiced in YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE. The poignant reprisal of IF I LOVED YOU is first recorded here. The Finale as heard here does not appear in the film, with the exception of the last repetition of the title concluding the work, tacked onto this recording of Jones and chorus performing YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE. Not present here are: GERANIUMS IN THE WINDER and THE HIGHEST JUDGE OF ALL. Recording time differs in liner notes and jewel case as either 50:53 or 47:08 - my calculations favor the latter. All in all, a superb, extremely sensitive combination of acting, singing and orchestration - the finest moment for this score. A must have!"
CAROUSEL SOUNDTRACK THE GREATEST PERFORMANCE EVER!
hcampo | Culver City, Ca. | 03/15/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)
"CAROUSEL represents Rodgers and Hammerstein's finest hour musically, the closest thing to Grand Opera the duo ever wrote. The 1956 film version showcases the finest performance, before or since, that this magnificent score has ever received.Nevertheless it is very difficult to recommend this latest expanded edition from EMI-Angel, which contains about 20 additional minutes of music not on the original album or previous CD editions. For while it is great to have Louise's Ballet, in a simply glorious arrangement by the great Alfred Newman and additional ballet music as well, the additional music is NOT from the original multi channel vocal and music separation soundtrack master recordings stored in the 20th Century Fox vaults but instead recorded directly from a final mix print soundtrack complete with foot stomping and extraneous sound effects, which besides having no place on a music only recording, actually detract from the listening experience rather than enhance it. If this were 42ND STREET, the foot stomping would make sense, since it is an integral part of the musical presentation, but without the visuals these random sounds don't make any sense in CAROUSEL, where the magnificent arrangements of Alfred Newman should be allowed to speak for themselves without intrusions from foley effects. If this were a live recording, such sounds would be an artifact of the original and impossible to remove and therefore have to be acceptable if one wanted to hear the score in its entirety. But in the case of CAROUSEL (and for that fact, OKLAHOMA, THE KING AND I and SOUTH PACIFIC) a wealth of unmixed original musical material exists in the studio vaults which could have been made available for this remastering, allowing the inclusion of even MORE MUSIC on this album. For instance, LOUISE'S BALLET could have been presented in its ENTIRETY without any worry about the ocean sound effects intruding at the beginning and the delicate and quite beautiful OPENING MUSIC lead up to the CAROUSEL WALTZ Main Title could have been presented minus the dialogue at the beginning of the album. That is the saddest part concerning this release. The original material could have been made available if anyone at EMI-Angel had cared enough to present CAROUSEL with the integrity that this classic recording deserves and should have gotten.If you can get past these aberrations imposed on us by producer Didier C. Deutsch, whose name on any soundtrack usually means a DESTRUCTION rather than reconstruction of the material (there are some amateur sloppy fade-ins and fade-outs cross cutting the old and new material) the sound on this CD is at least as good as the previous CD version and offers a performance of the seven minute Soliloquy by Gordon Mac Rae which is one of the greatest vocal performances of the 20th. Century. In fact, the entire cast performs this music superbly and add to that the excellent orchestration and choral work by Alfred Newman and Ken Darby. No other recording even comes close to this level of brilliance. But even so, try to find the previous CD version of this album, which may not have the additional music but does include the entire vocal score without all the intrusive sound effects and sloppy edits making for a far more enjoyable listening experience.By the way, the same criticisms listed above apply to the other two Rodgers and Hammerstein musical re-issues from EMI-Angel (Oklahoma, The King and I) as well with the exception being that on the other two the useless dialogue and sound effect intrusions are even worse.Add three more classic soundtrack albums destroyed and mangled by the likes of Didier C. Deutsch and company. EMI-Angel would have done well to listen to the so-called EXPANDED versions of West Side Story, My Fair Lady and especially A Star Is Born before green lighting these projects.Let's hope that someday EMI-Angel will give all three of the Rodgers and Hammerstein soundtracks their due and re-release them with added material from the untainted studio vault separations. That would really be SOMETHING SPECIAL."
The best "Carousel" recording ever made
albertatamazon | East Point, Georgia USA | 06/21/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Pay no attention to those decrying this release because of the sound of clomping footsteps during the "June Is Bustin' Out All Over" sequence. I'll wager that those same people who complain about the sound of footsteps during this dance don't raise a single complaint over the sound of prolonged applause or coughing during a live recording of a rock or classical concert, or a live recording of a Broadway show (there ARE some of those around). What is commendable is Angel Records's conscientiousness in trying to keep out the extraneous sound effects as much as possible. The additional material has been obtained, not from the original music and vocal tracks, but from the final, printed version of the soundtrack, and Angel no doubt realized that too many extraneous noises would probably annoy the listener. This is probably why the actual "carousel sequence" (in which crowd murmurs, as well as Gordon MacRae's voice shouting "Hurry, hurry, hurry! Ride on the carousel",etc., can clearly be heard) was omitted, and why "Louise's Ballet", finally captured here in breathtaking stereo sound, begins after the lapping of the ocean can no longer be heard.
In fact, this album is the answer to any R&H fan's prayers, and as far as I'm concerned, the finest recording of "Carousel" ever made. Gordon MacRae, in his best screen role as Billy Bigelow, easily eclipses all other Billys ever recorded, and that includes John Raitt, as well as Michael Hayden of the recent smash London and Broadway revival. He brings to the role, in addition to his beautiful voice, a sincerity which clearly establishes him as the finest if most underrated male singer in musical films, surpassing even Howard Keel, who was a less convincing actor.
The rest of the cast is nearly as good as MacRae; even the usually non-singing Cameron Mitchell does surprisingly well. The album also includes the two numbers cut before the film's release (these were on the previous release as well) , but with the previously unreleased dance music, gloriously played by the 20th Century-Fox orchestra, we now have as close as possible a version of what the film might have been like had it been released without the deletions back in 1956, and all in immeasurably improved re-mastered sound."
It's great, except for...
Yi-Peng | 05/22/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This remastered and expanded edition of Carousel has never sounded better. Here we have the entire contents of the original soundtrack LP plus a whole slew of other, unreleased tracks. The previously released tracks are taken directly from the soundtrack album masters. The unreleased tracks are lifted from the edited film soundtrack. Because of this we notice a slight difference in fidelity between the released and unreleased cuts. The unreleased tracks are nice, except that on a music only CD we do not need to be bombarded with extra sound effects such as hand clapping and foot stomping (a good example is the "June" dance sequence). Those are appropriate when viewing the picture, but not when listening to it in soundtrack form. Similar sound effects are also had with the remastered OKLAHOMA, MY FAIR LADY, and (to a small extent) THE KING AND I and THE MUSIC MAN. For future releases of this album (and Oklahoma, which suffered the same downfall) more effort should be made to locate the original recording masters, where they exist, and incorporate them into the album.If you can get past that, CAROUSEL has never sounded better. Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones are in top form, and fresh from their successful pairing in the Academy Award Winning OKLAHOMA (1955). Barbara Ruick and the rest of the support cast are excellent as well. While I dearly love the 1945 Original Broadway Cast album of CAROUSEL, the recording methods of 1945 will forever keep that album sounding like it was recorded in 1945 for 78 RPM records.Those that still have their copies of the previous (1993) CD release of CAROUSEL will want to hang onto them, as that album is how a music only CD of Carousel should sound."
MacRae and Jones soar in this tragic R&H musical
Yi-Peng | Singapore | 02/11/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film adaptation of Carousel came shortly after the Oklahoma! film and reunited Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones. Although the film was not well-received at the box office, the soundtrack shows MacRae, Jones and the superb cast performing their roles to their heart's content. Their performance helps bring out the pathos in this tragic R&H musical, which Rodgers himself considered his favourite of all his works.
MacRae shines vocally as Billy Bigelow, bringing an open-hearted musicality and sincerity to his stout-hearted portrayal. MacRae stands out in Billy's pivotal Soliloquy, which some reviewers have considered one of the finest vocal performances of the 20th century. He is well-partnered by Shirley Jones, who lends her tender voice and personality to her portrayal as Julie. Listen to the chemistry they exude during the pivotal If I Loved You duet, as if they're overcoming their shyness and drawing sustenance from each other with their love. The supporting cast also gives its all in performing their roles. Claramae Turner's hearty Nettie brims with sincerity, warmth and tenderness, and she leads a rousing rendition of June is Bustin' Out All Over and renders You'll Never Walk Alone touchingly. Barbara Ruick and Robert Rounseville are superb as Carrie and Mr. Snow, although I admit I would have liked a little more humour. I also admit I would have liked Cameron Mitchell as Jigger to sound more sinister, like Fisher Stevens did in the 1994 Broadway revival recording. But even as it is, everyone sings gloriously and is given sumptuous backing from Alfred Newman's superb arrangements and the 20th-Century Fox Orchestra, when it shines out in the ballets.
If I'm adding to the praise of these critic-proof performance, you'll wonder, why am I giving only 4 stars? Well, it's because the extra sound effects from the unreleased sequences tend to jar after a while. I know some of you are complaining that the dance sequences are plagued by extraneous sound effects and noise. I share the same feelings too and also wish that the producers had utilised the original studio pre-recordings for a sumptuous listening experience. However, let us at least be grateful that Didier Deutsch and his production team have made these unreleased sequences available on a soundtrack CD reissue. At least it's a step in the right direction before the entire canon of R&H film soundtracks (yes, including South Pacific and The Sound of Music) gets its due as deluxe 2-CD sets, complete with underscore.
However, don't let this gripe dissuade you from buying this soundtrack. It offers a complete musical experience that one could only dream of in the previous CD reissues of the soundtrack. And it demonstrates the element that Rodgers & Hammerstein were discovering in their musicals."