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American Classics - Bernstein: West Side Story/ Schermerhorn


Release Date: 10/22/2002 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559126   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Michael San GiovanniBetsi MorrisonMike EldredRobert Dean,   ... 
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This new West Side Story, the first American-based recording to appear since DG's star-studded 1985 composer-conducted version, blessedly avoids that earlier production's operatic pretensions, returning instead to the work's Broadway roots by using young, theatrically trained singers with some genuine acting ability. Even with that, it's probably wishful thinking to expect that this cast (fine as it is) can recreate the vibrant, raw freshness and scintillating brilliance of the original. Mike Eldred's Tony comes off best; singing with a more mature sound than Larry Kert, he nonetheless creates a sense of heightened expectancy and wonder in "Something's Coming". As Maria, Betsi Morrison struggles to maintain an authentic-sounding Read more Puerto Rican accent, but she sings beautifully throughout, especially in "Tonight" and "I Have a Love". I'm afraid Marianne Cook's Anita is no match for Chita Rivera's, but she communicates the character's feelings convincingly enough. The remainder of the ensemble consists of good, solid, legit voices, but a lot has changed on Broadway since 1957: the overall style of singing, with its occasionally overemphatic declamation (as in "A Boy Like That" and "Cool") makes clear how years of Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals have influenced American performers.


This recording utilizes Bernstein's score in its original form, before it underwent the necessary revisions to make it more suitable to the needs of musical theater at the time. Actually, it sounds pretty much the same, the most obvious distinctions being a few missing bars near the end of the Prologue and the different vocal arrangement for "America".


Kenneth Schermerhorn was studying with Bernstein during the creation of West Side Story and briefly was considered as a possible conductor for the premiere. Finally getting his chance nearly 50 years later, Schermerhorn conducts the score with an authority and enthusiasm that reveals his intimate knowledge and personal conviction, even if at times his tempos drag (as in "I feel pretty" and "Gee Officer Krupke"), though not as much as the elderly Bernstein's. Then there's the somewhat obsessive concern with full note values at the expense of rhythmic flow (as in the "Jet Song", and in "Quintet", with its heavy articulation on the word "tonight") that occasionally robs the music of its spontaneity.


Throughout, the Nashville Symphony plays with an ideal blend of symphonic elegance and jazzy swagger that shows why this work is such a wonderful classic. Only the multimiked and obviously studio-bound recording, with its artificially close voices, slightly disappoints. Yet despite this and the above-noted concerns, this production faithfully recreates the magical and enthralling world that is West Side Story, and anyone coming to this piece afresh is in for a rare and special experience. [11/4/2002]
--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Michael San Giovanni (Voice), Betsi Morrison (Voice), Mike Eldred (Voice),
Robert Dean (Voice), Marianne Cooke (Voice)
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
2.
West Side Story: Prologue by Leonard Bernstein
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, Tennessee 
Length: 4 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Notes: Ver: Original score 
3.
West Side Story: Jet song by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Robert Dean (Voice)
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, Tennessee 
Length: 2 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Ver: Original score 
4.
West Side Story: Something's coming by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Mike Eldred (Voice)
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, Tennessee 
Length: 2 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Ver: Original score 
5.
West Side Story: Blues by Leonard Bernstein
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, Tennessee 
Length: 1 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Notes: Ver: Original score 
6.
West Side Story: Promenade by Leonard Bernstein
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, Tennessee 
Length: 0 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Notes: Ver: Original score 
7.
West Side Story: Mambo by Leonard Bernstein
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, Tennessee 
Length: 2 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Notes: Ver: Original score 
8.
West Side Story: Maria by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Mike Eldred (Voice)
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, Tennessee 
Length: 3 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Ver: Original score 
9.
West Side Story: Tonight by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Betsi Morrison (Voice), Michael San Giovanni (Voice), Marianne Cooke (Voice),
Mike Eldred (Voice)
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, Tennessee 
Length: 3 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Ver: Original score 
10.
West Side Story: America by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Joanna Chozen (Voice), Marianne Cooke (Voice)
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, Tennessee 
Length: 4 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Ver: Original score 
11.
West Side Story: Cool by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Robert Dean (Voice)
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, Tennessee 
Length: 4 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Ver: Original score 
12.
West Side Story: One hand, one heart by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Betsi Morrison (Voice), Mike Eldred (Voice)
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, Tennessee 
Length: 4 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Ver: Original score 
13.
West Side Story: Rumble by Leonard Bernstein
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, Tennessee 
Length: 3 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Notes: Ver: Original score 
14.
West Side Story: I feel pretty by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Betsi Morrison (Voice)
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, Tennessee 
Length: 3 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Ver: Original score 
15.
West Side Story: Ballet music by Leonard Bernstein
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, Tennessee 
Length: 1 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Notes: Ver: Original score 
16.
West Side Story: Transition to Scherzo by Leonard Bernstein
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, Tennessee 
Length: 0 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Notes: Ver: Original score 
17.
West Side Story: Scherzo by Leonard Bernstein
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, Tennessee 
Length: 1 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Notes: Ver: Original score 
18.
West Side Story: Somewhere by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Michelle Prentice (Voice)
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, Tennessee 
Length: 2 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Ver: Original score 
19.
West Side Story: Gee, Officer Krupke by Leonard Bernstein
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, Tennessee 
Length: 4 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Ver: Original score 
20.
West Side Story: A boy like that/I have a love by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Betsi Morrison (Voice), Marianne Cooke (Voice)
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, Tennessee 
Length: 6 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Ver: Original score 
21.
West Side Story: Taunting Scene by Leonard Bernstein
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, Tennessee 
Length: 1 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Notes: Ver: Original score 
22.
West Side Story: Finale by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Betsi Morrison (Voice), Mike Eldred (Voice)
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, Tennessee 
Length: 2 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Ver: Original score 
23.
West Side Story: Procession and Nightmare by Leonard Bernstein
Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, Tennessee 
Length: 3 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Ver: Original score 

Sound Samples

West Side Story: Act I: Prologue
West Side Story: Act I: Jet Song
West Side Story: Act I: Something's Coming
West Side Story: Act I: Blues
West Side Story: Act I: Promenade
West Side Story: Act I: Mambo
West Side Story: Act I: Maria
West Side Story: Act I: Balcony Scene / Tonight
West Side Story: Act I: America
West Side Story: Act I: Cool
West Side Story: Act I: One Hand, One Heart
West Side Story: Act I: Tonight
West Side Story: Act I: The Rumble
West Side Story: Act II: I Feel Pretty
West Side Story: Act II: Ballet Sequence
West Side Story: Act II: Transition to Scherzo
West Side Story: Act II: Scherzo
West Side Story: Act II: Somewhere
West Side Story: Act II: Procession and Nightmare
West Side Story: Act II: Gee Officer Krupke
West Side Story: Act II: A Boy Like That / I Have a Love
West Side Story: Act II: Taunting Scene
West Side Story: Act II: Finale

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