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Vintage Broadway - orchestral selections from the shows
Cole Porter Can Can (1953) [11:04]
Jule Styne & Bob MERRILL Funny Girl (1964) [6:16]
Richard RoDgers & Oscar Hammerstein II Me & Juliet (1953) [9:49]
Burton Lane & E.Y. HARBURG Finian’s Rainbow (1947) [8:25]
Cole PORTER Kiss me, Kate (1948) [10:32]
Richard RoDgers & Oscar Hammerstein II Flower Drum Song (1958) [9:30]
Cole Porter Silk Stockings (1955) [10:59]
Richard Hayman and His Orchestra
Recorded 22nd-25th August 1990 (Venue not given)
NAXOS 8.555025 [66:35]



Crotchet Budget price

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 1964.

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 recording.

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 in places!

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 rather good.

p.s. Paris Loves Lovers and Don’t Rain on my Parade are from Silk Stockings and Funny Girl respectively.

John France

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