Frank Sinatra The Concert Sinatra Genres:Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists Out of print in the U.S.! Arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle, this album was originally released in 1963. It features eight Broadway show tunes, mostly by Rogers and Hammerstein. The arrangement and vocals here are o... more »utstanding. This powerful, emotionally-charged version of `Ol'Man River' and the delicate `Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered' show the range of skill on this recording. Universal.« less
Out of print in the U.S.! Arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle, this album was originally released in 1963. It features eight Broadway show tunes, mostly by Rogers and Hammerstein. The arrangement and vocals here are outstanding. This powerful, emotionally-charged version of `Ol'Man River' and the delicate `Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered' show the range of skill on this recording. Universal.
Mark Blackburn | Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada | 01/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A friend asked today, "If you could keep only ONE of his albums, which one goes with you to the proverbial desert island?" The short answer is, "This one." But a big ocean of memories will surround that island.
Back when I was just six years old, I attended my best friend David Pearce's birthday party, and his mother -- a widow, who I can remember thinking was so beautiful -- took out a picture of little David's late father and told us boys how she'd married on the "Day of Infamy." (Much later I'd learn that was the term used by President FDR for December 7, 1941 when Pearl Harbor was hit, launching American involvement in WWII). Then Mrs. Pearce told us that "Frank Sinatra, you don't know him, was always our favorite singer." I remember feeling honored, at that moment----in some way that my six year old heart could never express in words---that she would share with us that photograph, and her memories of David's late father. And then, speaking to me alone (as the other boys at the party gravitated towards David's new toys) Mrs. Pearce told me in a soft voice: "Frank Sinatra is the greatest singer, Mark. Maybe someday you'll agree with me." Then she put on one of his records---something from the first Capitol album of 1953 (how I wish with all my heart that I could recall which song she selected---but I do remember listening, dutifully, and feeling very much like a big man who was seeing eye-to-eye with this beautiful woman who was treating me like an adult. ------- I grew up in a musically literate home, with loving (and very musical) parents who once saw a live performance by Frank Sinatra with Tommy Dorsey's band in July of 1940 (at Toronto's "Canadian National Exhibition"----a sort of glorified `state fair' in Canada's largest city). My parents had no Frank Sinatra LPs from the 1950s (only one or two old "Columbia" 78s from the late 1940s). Dad gave Mom two Nat Cole LPs in the 60s, including one arranged by Gordon Jenkins---my Mom's favorite singer and her favorite arranger, right up until her death three years ago.
My parents always took us to see "Broadway" musicals as performed locally, (in my hometown of Ottawa Canada) and eventually---in 1960---they took us to see the "real thing"----I remember being told that the theatre house lights were being dimmed all over Broadway that very night because Oscar Hammerstein had just died. Mom told me "He's the greatest lyricist, Mark" suggesting (like Mrs. Pearce) that one day, perhaps when I was older, I might agree with her.
On that same visit to NYC I remember stepping off an elevator in the Plaza Hotel, and my father immediately telling me "that man there, you just rode in the elevator with is Richard Rodgers" (who would one day be my favorite composer). But as with beautiful Mrs. Pearce trying to introduce me to Frank Sinatra, I just "wasn't ready" to appreciate greatness.
It was on a January day just this one -- twelve years ago -- that I returned home from work to hear words from my wife that I'd been aching to hear: "You got a letter from Frank Sinatra."
I remember taking off my winter coat and boots, and stumbling into another room where I could be alone, making sure my hands were clean, and getting a bright reading light, and carefully opening the envelope and reading the note and re-reading it (ten times? twenty times?).
I remember being overcome with emotion, saying to myself, "Do you realize what an honor you've just received? This is from someone who, early in his career, received letters like mine numbering 3,000 a week! Do you appreciate that he took the time---perhaps ten minutes of his life---to read your two-page letter, and then compose this signed response-you-hold-in-your-hands? Do you realize what this is? The greatest musical entertainer of the Twentieth Century is telling you personally--- "I greatly appreciate your interest in my music" and "it was so nice of you to take the time to write."
With an extra decade of immersing myself in Frank Sinatra's greatness, I'd have to say that only a "religious experience" --- and a glimpse of Eternity---could ever surpass what I feel in my heart, the sheer exhilarating joy I experience, when I listen for example, to "My Heart Stood Still" (my favorite of these). There is the high plateau where the singer and his great collaborator Nelson Riddle have their true, "shining hour." At that defining moment in 1963, the arranger conducts his finest orchestrations, with the largest symphony orchestra ever assembled in Hollywood---as the singer on a mountain peak of vocal greatness, performs his favorite songs by his (and my) favorite composer. For me personally that is the `coming-together-of-a-lifetime,' ----all the peak emotions of memory, from Mrs. Pearce, to Rodgers & Hammerstein, to Nelson Riddle---a lifetime's worth of emotion, bringing me tears of joy each time I hear it. (These days, the experience is rationed to perhaps once a month, and then just a cut or two at a time, so as to preserve the experience----I want to `spread it out' over the rest of my life, if I can.)
---- In the final paragraph of my letter 12 years ago, I told Frank Sinatra how I'd "discovered your enduring greatness somewhat late in life. But perhaps that's why I appreciate you the more now.
"Thanks then, for being you, is all I want to say. The world would be a poorer place if you'd never passed this way. And I think, after six decades of your work, without anyone surpassing your greatness, I guess it's safe to say `We'll never know your like again.' Best wishes for a long and healthy life.
The Artistic Sinatra
Lawrence E. LaRocco | Berwyn, Illinois | 12/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Concert Sinatra" is an under-appreciated artistic gem in the Sinatra canon that is an absolutely essential purchase for all serious Sinatraphiles. It is a spare, eight-song collection of Broadway showtunes, six of them by Richard Rogers. It illustrates as no other Sinatra album does what The Chairman was capable of when he stretched his artistic limits. Sinatra's brilliant interpretation of "Ol'Man River" is the definitive version of a song that forces Sinatra to display his amazing breath control and the full power and range of his rich, sensual baritone. I feel like Frank is speaking to me reassuringly when he puts his heart and soul into "You'll Never Walk Alone." Nelson Riddle must have been Sinatra's musical soul-mate because his arrangements and brilliant orchestrations perfectly complement Sinatra's voice. I only wish that there would have been more "artistic concept" albums like this one. It's an absolute treasure that simply further validates the genius of the greatest vocalist of all time."
Sinatra At His Most Stately On A Beautiful Set of Songs
Anthony G Pizza | FL | 12/14/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This 1963 album has the style and scope of a command performance. The album photo recalls "Sinatra's Swingin' Session" of three years earlier, but the singer seems more focused, his phrasing more determined, as his versions of these songs may be definitive. In most cases, they are: "Soliloquy," which Frank performed on his 80th birthday live album, is essentially a three-act, one-man dramatic musical. Rodgers and Hammerstein's "I Have Dreamed," and "This Nearly Was Mine" fit perfectly with his classic 50s "blue" albums, also arranged by Nelson Riddle. And "Ol' Man River" is unique: a white singer singing a black work song written by white composers without one ounce of condescension or irony. This may not be Sinatra's greatest album (although it comes close), but it is certainly his most dramatic and empathetic, and highly recommended."
I Wanted More - and Less
J. Aagaard | Wisconsin | 08/20/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's hard to not give this cd 5 stars, but then we're dealing with Sinatra and Riddle who, at times, did better. (For any other singer this would get 6 stars.)
It needs to be emphasized at the outset (and this has nothing to do with my rating) that this is not a "Live" recording. In fact, it's not even promoted by Reprise as a live recording. That dubious distinction was pushed by someone at Amazon who apparently misunderstood the concept of what the title meant. This is a "studio" work so those of you who shy away from "live" performances, don't worry, this will not disappoint.
So to what does the title refer? First, these are 8 tunes from Broadway shows that do not fit the typical mold of the "32 bar Broadway pop song". (Yes, a few are in that form but with songs like "Old Man River" there is a lot more going on.) Most of these tunes could be categorized as "art songs" or "arias" in that they were meant to be affective within the show and never meant to be "hit" songs outside the theater, even though most achieved that status anyway.
Second, the arrangements by the master (Nelson Riddle) are not limited to the comercial 3:00-minutes-or-less requirement of radio djs. One of the cuts is over 8 minutes in length and two others go over 4 minutes. They also don't always fit the format of the standard 1 1/2 to 2 choruses with the orchestra starting the second chorus of most Sinatra/Riddle efforts. All of the songs go where they "need" to go; Sinatra lets the orchestra do more, and Riddle gives Sinatra more room to work.
Third, the orchestra itself is of "Symphonic" proportions, and Riddle handles it as such. There are still "rhythm" moments and "saloon" moments when needed, but this orchestra allows the artists to expand well beyond their traditional fare.
Fourth, the actual team work between the two is probably the best they ever accomplished. There are lots of rubatos because we aren't being tyrannized by "the beat". If you want to dance or cry to Sinatra there are plenty of choices, but this isn't one of them.
Fifth, Sinatra's voice is allowed to cover the widest range of pitches and emotions of nearly his entire career; and, by my ear, his voice is in top notch form. No, it isn't the silky tenor voice of the Columbia years, but when you put it all together - the phrasings, the dynamics, the emotions, and the tone colors - this is clearly Sinatra at his best.
So why not 5 stars? First, there could have been more tracks. There was room, and there were choices. Personally I'd like to have included "September Song", and other reviewers have suggested others. But what's here is all good, with "Lost in the Stars" and "I Have Dreamed" hitting the top of my personal list.
Second, Riddle (who was the best), took the concert concept a little too literally. Almost every song has a "big finish" the way Hollywood producers would insist on when they were trying to "sell art" in the 30s and 40s. After a while it get's a little tiring. When you're Nelson Riddle and you have Frank Sinatra there's no need to try to impress, these two WERE the essence of American art.
This is a must for any Sinatra collection, it's one of the times he "experimented" and the experiment worked. Overall there were superior albums; just keep in mind that the worst thing Sinatra ever did was better than the best of most others. "
An One Of A Kind Listening Experience.
Anthony Nasti | Staten Island, New York United States | 01/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Awhile back, I participated in a discussion entitled "Albums That Are Truly An Experience To Listen To." Though I had not yet heard it when I first participated in the discussion, "The Concert Sinatra" lands pretty close to the top of that list.
It is impossible to listen to this album and not be astounded by what you're hearing, from the strength of Frank's voice (stronger than any record he ever made before or after) to the depth and drama of Nelson Riddle's arrangements to the sheer beauty of the material itself (some of the finest American ever composed, both lyrically and musically), it is, from start to finish, a masterpiece in every sense of the word.
There's not one song on this album that fails to impress the listener. Rodgers and Hammerstein's "I Have Dreamed" kicks off the album in grand fashion, and is the most beautiful song Frank ever recorded, given a lush, romantic arrangement by Riddle and a tender yet powerful reading by The Chairman.
Rogers and Hart's "My Heart Stood Still" starts off quietly and slowly escalates into an intense and ultimate triumphant climax that will leave you breathless (and probably Frank as well, had he not been blessed with such amazing breath control.)
"Lost In The Stars" is an incredibly powerful number, and if the lyrics (and Frank's second to none interpretation of them) leave you unmoved, then you may want to check if you're really human, as is this is one of the most touching, almost haunting songs I've ever heard.
Next comes a song that may well be the single greatest piece of music Frank ever recorded. Yes, "Ol' Man River" may be sung from the perspective of a black slave, and the idea of rich white man who never experienced the horrors of slavery singing this song may have been seen as either inane or offensive back then, but wait until you hear it. Frank scales every peak and plumbs every emotional depth worth plumbing on this recording, his voice escalating with passion and intensity right to the finale, which features his most stunning vocal moment ever: when Frank sings "And ya lands in jail.........," Franks hit his lowest not ever, and holds it for over 10 seconds, and then without catching a breath dives into the finale, and he nails the final note with all the glory and triumph of a Civil War - era slave achieving his exodus.
"You'll Never Walk Alone" is uplifting and grand, but it's Rogers & Hart's "Bewitched" that scores the next highlight, with a dreamy and romantic reading by Frank and yet another Nelson Riddle gem of an arrangement.
"This Was Nearly Mine" is haunting, but the closing "Soliloquy" is another masterpiece that shows off Frank's narrative skills brilliantly. He nails each section of this three act musical play about a down and out father anticipating his first child.
"The Concert Sinatra" is a shining moment in Frank Sinatra's career and an essential purchase for any true music fan."