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Great Light orchestras salute Richard RODGERS
Carousel Waltz (Rodgers, arr. Faith) – Percy Faith & his Orchestra
The Blue Room (Rodgers, Hart, arr. Hill-Bowen) – Melachrino Strings/George Melachrino
Lover (Rodgers, Hart) – Dolf Van Der Linden & his Orchestra
Some Enchanted Evening (Rodgers, Hammerstein, arr. Binge) Mantovani & his Orchestra
Song of the High Seas (Rodgers) – Wally Stott & his Orchestra
My Funny Valentine (Rodgers, Hart) – Jackie Gleason & his Orchestra (trumpet solo: Bobby Hackett)
The Lady is a Tramp (Rodgers, Hart) – Kingsway Symphony Orchestra/Stanley Black
Failing in Love with Love (Rodgers, Hart) – David Rose & his Orchestra
Little Girl Blue (Rodgers, Hart) – Andre Kostelanetz & his Orchestra
Surrey with the Fringe on Top (Rodgers, Hammerstein) – Morton Gould & his Orchestra
Beneath the Southern Cross (from "Victory At Sea") (Rodgers, arr. Russell Bennett) – Members of NBC Symphony Orchestra/Robert Russell Bennett
March of the Siamese Children (Rodgers) – Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of NewYork/Richard Rodgers
It's Easy to Remember (Rodgers & Hart, arr. Farnon) – Robert Farnon & his Orchestra
Wait till You see Her (Rodgers, Hart) – Andre Kostelanetz & his Orchestra
It might as well be Spring (Rodgers, Hammerstein) – Kingsway Symphony Orchestra/Stanley Black
Down by the River (Rodgers & Hart, arr. Farnon) – Robert Farnon & his Orchestra Bewitched (Rodgers, Hart) – David Rose & his Orchestra
Spring is Here, title song (Rodgers, Hart) – Richard Hayman & his Orchestra
Guadalcanal March (from 'Victory at Sea") (Rodgers, arr. Russell Bennett) – Ron Goodwin & his Concert Orchestra
Richard Rodgers Suite: Dancing on the Ceiling, Johnny One Note, With a Song in My Heart The Girl Friend, There's a Small Hotel, Thou Swell, Little Girl Blue, Mountain Greenery, Where Or When, Here in my Arms, My Heart stood Still, The Lady is a Tramp (Rodgers) – Louis Levy & his Concert Orchestra
rec. 1949-1955. mono
GUILD GLCD5123 [78:03]


Adding to the Golden Age series by Guild comes this disc devoted to the works of Richard Charles Rodgers (1902-1979). The recordings would have been made when his musicals with Oscar Hammerstein brought him lasting fame by the fifties.

Many of the numbers need little mention. Rodgers had teamed up with Lorenz Hart for a Garrick Gaieties review in 1925. The combination seemed ideal since Hart had been exposed to operetta through translations of European operettas and Rodgers had previous experience of writing for amateur musicals. Their first musical play, Dearest Enemy, gave rise to a hit song Here in my Arms. Little followed until Spring is Here, a musical comedy that was turned into a film even. Its title song features here. The Lover waltz comes from a 1932 film, Love Me Tonight: it was revamped for issue as a song, the version that is heard here. The Hart numbers are generally less well known than the Hammerstein ones, hence this explanation. Rodgers had wished to set a western play called Green Grow the Lilacs but Hart was not interested. A willing Hammerstein stepped in as lyricist, having worked with Gershwin previously. Oklahoma followed in 1943 and staged on Broadway and London’s Drury Lane Theatre, where it ran and ran for a total of 1543 performances. Although initially it was feared their first collaboration might not be much of a success, it cemented their partnership. Hollywood noticed the box office success and film versions were locked into future Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals.

The Victory at Sea (1952) and The Valiant Years numbers are from major television documentaries made for NBC. The Victory at Sea track incorporates three themes from this nostalgic look at history. It is useful to hear Rodgers without vocals and confirm that he is very capable at conjuring up excellent mental pictures of the situation. The Richard Rodgers selection is conducted by Louis Levy, one of British Gaumont’s musical directors, and played by the freelance orchestra put together by the company to record their soundtracks.

The majority of the orchestras are good, though a few operate with a small number of players. It is good to hear how composers like Farnon handle another composer’s music.

The notes by David Ades on Rodgers are good and make interesting reading: the source and dates of tracks are not always indicated, however.

Raymond J Walker


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