Notes and Editorial Reviews
'Allegro': Revisiting An Experimental Score
Classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews the first full recording of Allegro, the 1947 Rodgers & Hammerstein musical.
Ted Chapin: Reviving R&H's Ambitious 'Allegro'
Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization President Ted Chapin joins NPR's
Fresh Air to discuss the musical.
New Studio Cast Recording featuring Tony Award-winners Audra McDonald, Laura Benanti, Norbert Leo Butz, Tony Award-nominees Patrick Wilson, Judy Kuhn, Liz Callaway, Danny Burstein and opera sensation baritone Nathan
Specially priced 2-CD deluxe edition includes 80-page 4-color booklet featuring exclusive recording session photos, editorial reflection by Stephen Sondheim, editorial essays by R&H Organization executives Ted Chapin and Bert Fink, synopsis and libretto.
An original musical, Allegro tells the story of an earnest country doctor, Joseph Taylor, Jr. and follows his life from cradle to adulthood. His journey - both literal and moral – spans from small town to big city, and back again. The score is unconventional: fragments of song move in and out of the action like passing thoughts; melodies flit by in one scene only to take hold and blossom in the next. Major songs are given to minor characters, while the central character has comparatively little solo work. A chorus provides spoken commentary and sings aloud inner thoughts. Original director/choreographer Agnes de Mille's extended ballet sequences are reflected in intriguing orchestral pieces.
Allegro, Rodgers & Hammerstein's fourth work together, debuted in 1947 preceded by the Broadway musicals Oklahoma! and Carousel, and the film State Fair. A somewhat controversial work, the show ran for a season and earned some rave reviews, but nevertheless was their first musical to be less than a blockbuster hit. Allegro divided critics and challenged audiences with an unusual style of storytelling, and a groundbreaking approach to musical staging. In the words of Stephen Sondheim, the production marked "the first really good experimental show." Sondheim, who was the 1947 production assistant, makes a cameo appearance in this production.
Works on This Recording
Allegro by Richard Rodgers
Patrick Wilson (Voice),
Marni Nixon (Soprano),
Audra McDonald (Soprano),
Judy Kuhn (Voice),
Nathan Gunn (Baritone),
Liz Callaway (Voice),
Laura Benanti (Voice),
Norbert Leo Butz (Voice)
Istropolis Philharmonic Orchestra
Notes: Orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett
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