THREE GEMS FROM RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN
AVAILABLE DIGITALLY FOR THE FIRST TIME
CAROUSAL – 1965 BROADWAY REVIVAL CAST RECORDING
OKLAHOMA! – 1952 STUDIO CAST RECORDING
RODGERS CONDUCTS RODGERS
FORMER LPS NOW AVAILABLE AS CDS EXCLUSIVELY THROUGH ARKIVMUSIC
Masterworks Broadway celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Original Broadway Cast Recording of The Sound of Music (due Fall 2009) with special new digital-only editions of classic cast recordings from the unparalleled catalog of Rodgers & Hammerstein. The release of Carousel, Oklahoma! and Rodgers Conducts Rodgers, available on Tuesday, February 3, coincides with the first complete CD release of the Rodgers & Hammerstein show, Allegro. The CDs, with each album’s original cover art and liner notes, are available exclusively through ArkivMusic.com. More classical Rodgers and Hammerstein titles will be released digitally throughout 2009.
John Raitt became an overnight sensation in 1945 when he created the role of Billy Bigelow in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel. Though an original cast recording was made of that production, it was heavily truncated because of the limitations of 78 RPM playback. When composer Richard Rodgers assumed the directorship of the Music Theater of Lincoln Center in the mid-1960s, he brought back Carousel with Raitt as Billy Bigelow, and RCA Victor made a much more complete recording of the score in stereo. For this reissue of that recording, four bonus tracks have been added from two different studio recordings of music from Carousel, each appearing in authorized versions for the first time since the LP era. Raitt himself is heard singing an abridged version of “If I Loved You” from a 1953 10” recording with Doretta Morrow, who also sings “What’s the Use of Wonderin’.” From a complete 1955 studio recording of Carousel conducted by Lehman Engel, with opera stars Robert Merrill and Patrice Munsel, come “If I Loved You” and Bigelow’s thrilling “Soliloquy.”
The enduring popularity of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! led to many different recordings of the score, especially when the arrival of long-playing records (several years after the show’s original cast recording was made in 1943) made it possible to include most of the remarkable, hit-filled score. This release returns to the active catalogue a richly sung, complete 1952 studio recording of Oklahoma!, led by the renowned Broadway maestro Lehman Engel, with operetta star Nelson Eddy singing the role of Curly. The cast also includes Virginia Haskins, Portia Nelson and Kaye Ballard. Included as bonus tracks are four songs from the score recorded in 1953 for a 10” studio recording featuring John Raitt and Patricia Northrup, conducted by Jay Blackton, who would win an Oscar in 1955 for conducting the score on the soundtrack of the film version of Oklahoma! Best known for creating the role of Billy Bigelow in Carousel, Raitt first came to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s attention when he auditioned for the role of Curly in Oklahoma!, and he played the role for a year on the road before going into rehearsals for Carousel. These bonus tracks have never before been available in digital remastering from the original masters.
Rodgers Conducts Rodgers is Richard Rodgers’ only formal studio recording as conductor of his own music, with the New York Philharmonic. It is available for the first time since the LP era as a digital recording on Masterworks Broadway.
Rodgers made this recording shortly after a hugely successful appearance conducting the New York Philharmonic in a pension fund benefit concert at Carnegie Hall in 1954. The program includes five signature works by Rodgers, including the ballet “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue” from On Your Toes; “The Carousel Waltz” that served as the prologue to Carousel; and “March of the Siamese Children” written for The King and I. Also featured is a suite of music from Rodgers’ score for the TV documentary series Victory at Sea and a special arrangement of waltz melodies from musicals he wrote with both Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II, including “Lover” (from the film Love Me Tonight); “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” (Jumbo); “Falling in Love With Love” (The Boys from Syracuse); and “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” (Oklahoma!).
To promote this recording, Goddard Lieberson, the legendary head of Columbia Masterworks, conducted an audio interview with Richard Rodgers, to be used for radio play with the individual tracks. That interview – in which Rodgers discusses his music and the process of composition – is a bonus track on this recording, available to the public in its original format for the first time.
RCA Red Seal, Sony Classical, deutsche harmonia mundi, Masterworks Broadway and Masterworks Jazz are labels of Sony Masterworks. For e-mail updates and information regarding RCA Red Seal, Sony Classical, RCA deutsche harmonia mundi, Masterworks Broadway and Masterworks Jazz artists, promotions, tours and repertoire, please visit www.sonymasterworks.com.
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Susan Schiffer / Sony Masterworks
212-833-4763 / Susan.Schiffer @ sonymusic.com
Wende Persons / ArkivMusic
718-852-9865 / pr @ arkivmusic.com