September 2002 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Curio Corner

Compilation: Richard RODGERS and Oscar HAMMERSTEIN II
Carousel; State Fair (Hits); Allegro  
  REGIS FORUM   [77:08]


The main interest here is the inclusion of seven numbers from the little known Rodgers and Hammerstein show Allegro which opened in New York's Majestic Theatre on 10th October 1947 and ran for 315 performances. It was ahead of its time and it has rarely been revived since. The story is relentlessly down beat, the leading character is something of a dope, discouraged by his parents and betrayed by his women; little wonder audiences failed to identify with him. The stage was largely bare, no eye-catching scenery and another difficulty was the Greek chorus tragically commenting on the plot. Added to this there was hardly a single catchy tune. Nevertheless, this recording gives one the opportunity of appreciating another facet of the Rodgers and Hammerstein art and the lyrics have not lost any of the Hammerstein pungency.

State Fair was a film produced in 1945 by 20th Century Fox. It starred Dana Andrews, Jeanne Crain, Vivian Blaine and crooner Dick Haymes. It was a gentle family story and romance centred around the Iowa state fair. This CD includes Dick Haymes singing three hits from the film: It Might As Well Be Spring; It's A Grand Night for Singing; 'That's For Me'; and 'Isn't it kinda fun?'

All eleven numbers from the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Carousel is the main item. It has to be said the sound quality particularly in the opening 'Carousel waltz' leaves a lot to be desired. Having said that the singing of John Rait as Billy Bigelow especially in the well-loved Soliloquy is very fine so too is that of Jan Clayton in the role of his girl friend/wife Julie Jordan and they are ably supported by Jean Darling as Carrie Pipperidge and Eric Mattson as Mr Snow. All the lovely, unforgettable songs are here: 'If I Loved You'; 'When I Marry Mr Snow'; 'June is Bustin' Out All Over'; 'When the Children Are Asleep'; 'What's the Use of Wond'rin' and 'You'll Never Walk Alone'. Omitted from the marvellous film version (with Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones) is the number 'The Highest Judge of All'

I recommend the expanded edition of the original soundtrack recording of the 20th Century Fox film of Carousel sumptuously reissued on Angel 5 27352 2.

If you can get past the less than wonderful sound, this is an album worth acquiring

Ian Lace

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