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February 2001 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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EDITOR’s CHOICE February 2000


Collection: Music from the MGM Musicals
Orchestral orchestrations by Conrad Salinger – Reconstruction by Christopher Palmer  
Bruce Ogston* (substituting for Vic Damone) Mary Carewe + (substituting Judy Garland) and Nick Curtis (substituting for Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly)
  Ambrosian Singers and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Elmer Bernstein
  CHANDOS CHAN 7053   [52:44]

Album comprises:-
Kismet* (1955) Bridal Procession (Night of My Mights)
The Band Wagon (1953) Dancing in the Dark
Meet Me in St Louis+ (1944) The Trolley Song
Gigi(1958) Titles and Fountain Scene; and Waltz Sequence
Singin’ in the Rain † (1952) Singin’ in the Rain
The Pirate (1948) Ballet
Brigadoon † (1954) The Heather on the Hill – vocal and ballet
The Ziegfield Follies † (1944, released 1946) This Heart of Mine

I will confess immediately to a great fondness for this 1990 Chandos recording now in its third incarnation. Elmer Bernstein conducts the RPO in loving, sumptuous performances (especially of the gorgeously OTT Ziegfield Follies ballet that piles climax on top of dazzling climax) of these evergreens from the classical MGM musicals of the 1940s and 50s. The vocalists give remarkably faithful and sympathetic, stand-in performances of the Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly numbers.

Not the least enjoyable facet of the production is the booklet. For this album is something of a tribute to the late Conrad Salinger, MGM’s star orchestrator who was ‘one of the two or three outstanding arranger-orchestrators in the entire field of musical theatre’. In an extended article by the late, and still very much lamented Christopher Palmer, his contribution to these sparkling films is covered, together with a history of the MGM musicals.

The list above should sell itself. This, for me, is very definitely a desert island choice.

Ian Lace


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