This CD is a bit like sitting
down to an episode of ‘Friday Night is Music
Night’ - or perhaps taking a seat at the end
of the pier in Llandudno or Bournemouth circa
All the old favourites are
played here in the best of fashion by Richard
Hayman and His Orchestra.
Broadway is one of those
rare places that seem to survive both on nostalgia
and contemporary achievement. This CD is all
about nostalgia. As Eric Morecambe once said
- 'all the greats are here.’ And that applies
to the songs as well as the composers. However
there is a considerable bias to Cole Porter!
We have medleys from such masterpieces
as Finian’s Rainbow, Silk Stockings
and Kiss Me, Kate. And I am not being
patronising. Every one of these musicals appeals
to me more than the collected works of Verdi
and Wagner. But I have never really been into
opera – especially of the tragic and monumental
kind. Give me musicals (not Lloyd Webber)
anytime – or even (especially) Gilbert &
Sullivan. My friends can never understand
how I can be so ‘sophisticated’ (they think)
about obscure orchestral and piano music and
such a moron when it to comes to opera. I,
in turn, in my wilder moments, wonder how
people can rave about Macbeth and Rienzi
but not understand the subtleties of the piano
music of Messiaen or John Ireland. It is,
of course, horses for courses – and I think
this particular CD is great!
It would be either a musical
snob or a ‘rock ’n pop at any price’ sort
of listener who will not relish these lovely
tunes and delightful arrangements.
As I have written in these
pages many times, light music is about capturing
a golden age, a nostalgic past that seems
wonderful but probably never really existed.
This epitomises most of the tunes on this
What have we on this disc?
It would be superfluous to rehearse every
single song or chorus that is presented here.
However seven great musicals are represented.
One of the pitfalls of listening to this kind
of music is realising that a tune is familiar
- but when the track list is consulted the
name of the song means little. Nearly all
of these numbers have dropped into the received
tradition of Broadway Hits - even if listeners
are not exactly sure which musical! For example,
how many people know the song Paris Loves
Lovers or Don’t Rain on my Parade
– yet do not have a clue where it was first
heard. I confess to sometimes being one of
them. I am kept on track by my friends!
What are the negative points
on this CD? Each ‘number’ is given about one
minute precisely in each medley or selection.
It means that tunes just tumble over each
other and it is difficult to get a sense of
continuity. I counted some sixty plus melodies,
of which a few only are reprised; so it is
quite a cocktail of tunes.
How does one listen to this
CD? I asked a friend who is more into this
kind of music than I am. She was of the opinion
that it would be disastrous to listen to all
this at one sitting. Furthermore she felt
that it was not the kind of CD that could
serve as background music to a dinner party
or a soirée. It is actually quite rumbustious
So she imagined that it should
be ‘eaten like the elephant’ – in small chunks
– perhaps a show at a time!
One should pick a sunny day,
put the deckchair out on the patio, prepare
an ice cream, put this CD on the deck then
lie back and think of sunny days at the end
of the pier -brass bands, steam locomotives,
lidos and tin buckets and spades.
This is music to charm –
not to be analysed. Every tune on this CD
is loved by someone (many people!)
And every tune is actually
p.s. Paris Loves Lovers
and Don’t Rain on my Parade are from
Silk Stockings and Funny Girl respectively.