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Bernstein: Wonderful Town / Rattle, Criswell, Mcdonald, Etc

Release Date: 09/14/1999 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 56753   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Audra McDonaldThomas HampsonBrent BarrettRodney Gilfry,   ... 
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London VoicesBirmingham Contemporary Music Group
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Most musicals today are subjected to endless rewrites, tryouts, and more rewrites. When Leonard Bernstein and his lyricist cohorts Betty Comden and Adolph Green were called in to create from scratch a new score for Wonderful Town, they had one month before previews. And deliver the goods they did! It's a bright score, packed to the rafters with jazzy numbers that haven't lost one iota of their jazzy punch. Opera singers usually oversing Broadway roles, like Rodney Gilfry does as the Guide, First Editor, and Frank. Thomas Hampson, though, admirably scales down his instrument for "Quiet Girl", and Audra McDonald's Eileen is ravishing, secure, and involving. Imagine Rosalind Russell's spunky Ruth channeled through someone who can Read more really sing, and you've got Kim Criswell. She has a whacking good time growling her way through "One Hundred Easy Ways to Lose a Man". The ensemble numbers have been studiously rehearsed, perhaps to a fault. Simon Rattle's Birmingham forces swing well enough (their swaggering "Conga" is a case in point), but lack the rough and tumble edginess of the 1953 original cast recording. Broadway aficionados, though, will certainly want this release for its extra music, excellent notes, full texts, and vivid engineering.

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Wonderful Town by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Audra McDonald (Soprano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone), Brent Barrett (Voice),
Rodney Gilfry (Baritone), Kim Criswell (Soprano), Robert Fardell (Voice),
Karl Daymond (Baritone), Timothy Robinson (Tenor), Lynton Atkinson (Tenor),
Michael Dore (Voice), Simone Sauphanor (Voice), Melanie Marshall (Mezzo Soprano),
Kimberly Cobb (Voice)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Voices,  Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/1998 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 66 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Orchestrated: Don Walker
Arranged: Lehman Engel 

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