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That’s Entertainment - A Celebration of the MGM Film Musical
Kim Criswell, Matthew Ford, Sarah Fox, Seth MacFarlane, Curtis Stigers; Maida Vale Singers; John Wilson Orchestra/John Wilson
rec. April and May, 2011, Abbey Road Studio No.2, London and Mix One Studios, Boston
For full track listing see below
EMI CLASSICS 0 28843 2 [77:52 + DVD: 40:00]

Experience Classicsonline

 
John Wilson has emerged in the past few years as a real force in the propagation and celebration of MGM musicals and associated music. His now relative ubiquity and popularity should not obscure the very hard editorial work that has gone into the presentation of the music. The reconstructions have been effected with meticulous intelligence by Wilson and also by colleagues such as Andrew Cottee, who reconstructed the MGM Jubilee Overture and I Got Rhythm. Fully to put theory into practice the eponymous band is one of those all-star aggregations beloved down the years. If I note that the first violins contain, amidst other fine names, those of Andrew Haveron, Yuri Torchinski and Paul Barritt: that James Boyd is in the violas, and that David Cohen, Jonathan Aasgaard and Jonathan Tunnell are in the cello section, then we can be assured of the most suave and most attractive of string sounds. Furthermore Richard Watkins is one of the four horns, Mike Lovatt is one of the trumpets, and Mark Nightingale second trombone. Quality casting for the guitar, too — Colin Oxley no less.
 
The album is hugely attractive from beginning to end. The verve and versatility are complemented by virtuosity and an easy swing, as evidenced by that Jubilee Overture with its imperishable themes. Wilson asks for, and gets, luscious West Coast portamento- cantilena in The Trolley Song where one finds Kim Criswell a total natural; note, too, the dapperly dispatched running pizzicati. For Steppin’ Out With My Baby we get real big-band brio topped by the versatile Curtis Stigers and his conversational baritone. Another singer who impresses is Matthew Ford whose sinuous and rich voice is the personification of romance when delivering The Heather on the Hill.
 
The Barn Dance (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) is suffused by the spirit of Aaron Copland, Robert Russell Bennett and Samuel Gardner; I assume it’s Haveron playing the extensive fiddle solo. Seth MacFarlane shines in You’re Sensational in its Nelson Riddle arrangement reconstructed by Wilson. Sy Oliver and Alex Stordahl arranged I Got Rhythm and Cottee’s reconstruction is spot-on — and note the soaring Criswell and smashing drum kick imparted by Matthew Skelton. MacFarlane and Stigers take on Bing and Frank in Well, did you evah? and whilst no one could efface the older pairing, the newcomers stake their own place, and do well. Sometimes it’s embarrassing to hear singers try to ape an original, but they don’t and it’s fine. Sarah Ford joins MacFarlane in The New Moon sequence to considerable effect; they make a very personable pair and draw out the music’s tristesse. The longest track is the Broadway Melody Ballet (Singin’ in the Rain) with some high kickers in the very good chorus and plenty of fast swing all-round.
 
To complete the fun there’s a DVD which includes ‘The Making of That’s Entertainment’ with an interview with Wilson. There are some music clips too — featuring Ford and Criswell — and if you fancy it, and why shouldn’t you, there’s a Singalong with the John Wilson Orchestra. Be your very own Broadway Baby.
 
The discs are housed in a sumptuously designed book-style hard cover with 83 pages of notes, photographs and full lyrics. That certainly is Entertainment.
 
Jonathan Woolf
 

 
  Full Track-Listing:-
 
1. MGM Jubilee Overture 7.43
Includes: Singin’ in the Rain (Brown/Freed); I’ve Got You Under My Skin (Porter); Broadway Melody (Brown/Freed); The Last Time I Saw Paris (Kern); Temptation (Brown/Freed); Be My Love (Brodsky); The Trolley Song (Martine/Blane); On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe (Warren/Mercer); The Donkey Serenade (Friml/Stothart); Over the Rainbow (Arlen/Harburg)
Arranged by Johnny Green; reconstructed by Andrew Cottee
2. The Trolley Song (from Meet Me in St Louis) 3.50
Words and music by Ralph Blane & Hugh Martin
Arranged by Conrad Salinger · Reconstructed by John Wilson
Kim Criswell and Chorus
3. Steppin’ Out With My Baby (Easter Parade) 6.16
Irving Berlin · Arranged by Nathan Van Cleave · Reconstructed by John Wilson
Curtis Stigers and Chorus
4. The Heather on the Hill (Brigadoon) 7.01
Music by Frederick Loewe · Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Arranged by Conrad Salinger · Reconstructed by John Wilson
Matthew Ford
5. Barn Dance (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) 5.44
Gene De Paul · Arranged by Saul Chaplin and Adolph Deutsch · Reconstructed by John Wilson
6. You’re Sensational (High Society) 3.06
Words and Music by Cole Porter · Arranged by Nelson Riddle · Reconstructed by John Wilson
Seth MacFarlane
7. I Got Rhythm (Girl Crazy) 5.32
Music by George Gershwin · Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Arranged by Sy Oliver & Axel Stordahl · Reconstructed by Andrew Cottee
Kim Criswell and Chorus
8. Singin’ in the Rain (Singin’ in the Rain) 3.57
Music by Nacio Herb Brown · Lyrics by Arthur Freed · Arranged by Conrad Salinger
Reconstructed by John Wilson
Seth MacFarlane
9. An American in Paris – Main Title 2.56
George Gershwin · Arranged by Conrad Salinger and Johnny Green · Reconstructed by John Wilson
10. Love is Here to Stay (An American in Paris) 4.02
Music by George Gershwin · Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Arranged by Conrad Salinger · Reconstructed by John Wilson
Curtis Stigers
11. Well, did you evah? (High Society) 3.32
Words and music by Cole Porter · Arranged by Nelson Riddle · Reconstructed by John Wilson
Seth MacFarlane and Curtis Stigers
12. The New Moon (Sequence): One Kiss / Lover Come Back to Me (Deep in My Heart) 6.41
Music by Sigmund Romberg · Words by Oscar Hammerstein II
Arranged by Hugo Friedhofer · Reconstructed by John Wilson
Matthew Ford and Sarah Fox
13. Broadway Melody Ballet (Singin’ in the Rain) 13.16
Music by Nacio Herb Brown & Lennie Hayron · Lyrics by Arthur Freed
Arranged by Lennie Hayton and Conrad Salinger · Reconstructed by John Wilson
Matthew Ford & Chorus
14. That’s Entertainment (The Band Wagon) 3.43
Music by Arthur Schwartz · Lyrics by Howard Dietz
Arranged by Conrad Salinger · Reconstructed by John Wilson
Kim Criswell, Matthew Ford, Sarah Fox, Curtis Stigers and Chorus
Includes DVD The Making of That’s Entertainment, with interviews, music clips and Singalong with the John Wilson Orchestra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 


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