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Golden Age Of Light Music - Great Light Orchestras Salute Richard Rodgers

Rodgers,Richard
Release Date: 09/05/2006 
Label:  Guild   Catalog #: 5123  
Composer:  Richard Rodgers
Conductor:  Percy FaithGeorge MelachrinoDolf van der LindenAnnuncio Paolo Mantovani,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Percy Faith OrchestraMelachrino OrchestraOrchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

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.
Read more 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.

-- Raymond J Walker, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. Carousel: Waltz by Richard Rodgers
Conductor:  Percy Faith
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Percy Faith Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; USA 
2. The Girl Friend: Blue room by Richard Rodgers
Conductor:  George Melachrino
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melachrino Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; USA 
3. Love Me Tonight: Lover by Richard Rodgers
Conductor:  Dolf van der Linden
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932 
4. South Pacific: Some enchanted evening by Richard Rodgers
Conductor:  Annuncio Paolo Mantovani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mantovani Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; USA 
5. Richard Rodgers Suite by Richard Rodgers
Conductor:  Louis Levy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Louis Levy Concert Orchestra
Notes: The suite is made up of orchestral arrangements of: Dancing on the Ceiling, Johnny One Note, With a Song in My Heart, The Girl Friend, There's a Small Hotel, Thou Swell, Little Girl Blue, Mountain Greenery, Where Or When, Here in my Arms, My Heart stood Still, The Lady is a Tramp. 

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