Reviews

GLCD 5123 – The Golden Age of Light Music: The Light Orchastras Salute Richard Rodgers

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Klassik.com August 2006

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Selbstredend, dass Guild in der inzwischen berühmten Golden Age of Light Music-Reihe einen Salut für Richard Rodgers abfeuert.
Dittsche in seinem gestreiften Bademantel würde über ihn sicherlich sagen, er sei ein ‘reiner Titan’ gewesen. Und hätte ausnahmsweise recht, denn wenn die Rede von Richard Rodgers ist, so kann man nicht umhin, ihn als einen der besten und rührigsten Songwriter des Broadway zu bezeichnen. So mancher Evergreen geht auf sein Konto. Selbstredend, dass ‚Guild’ in der inzwischen berühmten ‚Golden Age of Light Music’-Reihe einen Salut für Richard Rodgers abfeuert. David Ades hat hier Aufnahmen mit Nummern von Rodgers zusammengestellt, gespielt von namhaften Orchesterchefs der 40er und 50er Jahre und ihren Ensembles. Ein buntes Potpourri mit Melodien aus der singulären Feder des Songwriters in musikalisch zum Teil höchst anspruchsvollen Arrangements. Hier finden sich Titel aus ‚Carousel’, ‚Love me tonight’, ‚South Pacific’, ‚Victory at Sea’, Oklahoma’, The Boys from Syracuse’ oder ‚The King and I’. Die Aufnahme des Marschs der siamesischen Kinder aus letzterem Musical ist eine kleine Rarität. Der Komponist selbst dirigiert diese Einspielung mit dem Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of NewYork aus dem Jahr 1955, und das nicht mal sehr leichthändig oder oberflächlich, sondern durchaus mit geradezu würdigem Ernst. Leichtgewichtiger, aber mit nicht weniger musikalischer Verve präsentieren Pery Faith, George Melachrino, Andre Kostelanetz, Dolf van der Linden, Morton Gould, Mantovani, Wally Stott, Robert Farnon und David Rose, um nur einige zu nennen, und ihre Orchester Americana-Unterhaltung vom Feinsten und in klangtechnisch befriedigend restaurierten Aufnahmen, die zwar hin und wieder etwas dumpf klingen und der Ton allzu monaural aus dem Äther bröckelt, doch das gehört ja irgendwie zum nostalgischen Habitus solcher alter Aufnahmen dazu. Bemerkenswert ist auch die die CD beschließende ‚Richard Rodgers Suite’, gespielt von Louis Levy und seinem Concert Orchestra, eine seltene Decca-Einspielung des Jahres 1949. Der britische Orchesterchef lässt sein Orchester mit einer Spielfreude aufblitzen, die die Grundstimmung dieser herrlichen Veröffentlichung zusammenfasst.
Erik Daumann

Reformer Com February 15 2007

The program notes give short comments on Porter and the conductors. This is one of the best of the Light Music series and should be purchased with last year’s “Great Light Orchestras Salute Richard Rodgers” (GLCD 5123). Enjoy.
Frank Behrens

Review by Raymond J Walker

Adding to the Golden Age series by Guild comes this disc devoted to the works of Richard Charles Rodgers (1902-1979). The recordings would have been made when his musicals with Oscar Hammerstein brought him lasting fame by the fifties.

Many of the numbers need little mention. Rodgers had teamed up with Lorenz Hart for a Garrick Gaieties review in 1925. The combination seemed ideal since Hart had been exposed to operetta through translations of European operettas and Rodgers had previous experience of writing for amateur musicals. Their first musical play, Dearest Enemy, gave rise to a hit song Here in my Arms. Little followed until Spring is Here, a musical comedy that was turned into a film even. Its title song features here. The Lover waltz comes from a 1932 film, Love Me Tonight: it was revamped for issue as a song, the version that is heard here. The Hart numbers are generally less well known than the Hammerstein ones, hence this explanation. Rodgers had wished to set a western play called Green Grow the Lilacs but Hart was not interested. A willing Hammerstein stepped in as lyricist, having worked with Gershwin previously. Oklahoma followed in 1943 and staged on Broadway and London’s Drury Lane Theatre, where it ran and ran for a total of 1543 performances. Although initially it was feared their first collaboration might not be much of a success, it cemented their partnership. Hollywood noticed the box office success and film versions were locked into future Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals.

The Victory at Sea (1952) and The Valiant Years numbers are from major television documentaries made for NBC. The Victory at Sea track incorporates three themes from this nostalgic look at history. It is useful to hear Rodgers without vocals and confirm that he is very capable at conjuring up excellent mental pictures of the situation. The Richard Rodgers selection is conducted by Louis Levy, one of British Gaumont’s musical directors, and played by the freelance orchestra put together by the company to record their soundtracks.

The majority of the orchestras are good, though a few operate with a small number of players. It is good to hear how composers like Farnon handle another composer’s music.

The notes by David Ades on Rodgers are good and make interesting reading: the source and dates of tracks are not always indicated, however.


Brattleboro Reformer Thursday, May 25 KEENE, N.H

2 more from Guild — Those with fond memories of the wonderful old LPs that were filled with musical arrangements of popular songs conducted by Percy Faith, George Melachrino, Mantovani and Andre Kostelanetz, among many others, will appreciate the ever growing and delightful series, “The Golden Age of Light Music” on the Guild label.

The first of two of Guild’s latest releases is “Great Light Orchestras Salute Richard Rodgers” (GLCD 5123). Among the 20 selections are many of the Rodgers and Hart classics, including “Lover,” “The Blue Room,” “Little Girl Blue” and “Bewitched.” From the Rodgers and Hammerstein team, there are “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Surrey with the Fringe on Top” and “It Might as Well be Spring.” Add to those some selections from Rodgers’ score for “Victory at Sea” and a marvelous 16-minute “Richard Rodgers Suite,” and here is an utterly enjoyable CD.

On a somewhat different level, we have many composers and arrangers represented on “British

Cinema & Theatre Orchestras-Vol. 2” (GLCD 5122).

Few of these 19 selections will be familiar to American listeners — and I recommend this CD all the more for that. A few titles are “Grasshoppers ‘ Dance,” “Aisha,” “My Lady Dainty” and “Yankiana — American Suite.” These are all transcriptions from old 78-rpm discs that date from 1927 to 1939, which means that most of them are electric recordings.

Thank you yet again, Guild, for these light-karat gems!
Frank Behrens