Sigmund Romberg’s musicals, cast in the Viennese operetta style, full of waltz songs and fantasy and extravagant romance, were popular in the early decades of the 20th century before the more realistic post-WW2 musicals, epitomised by Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel and Oklahoma!, swept the genre away.
This collection of 1940s/50s recordings from Romberg’s shows, many of which were filmed by M-G-M or Warner Bros. (The Desert Song – three times), has the authenticity of the composer’s baton. He is heard conducting his own orchestra with vocal soloists of the period, names like Warren Galjour and Genevieve Rowe, now long-forgotten. The numbers are delivered with verve and vivacity. Featured most strongly are The Desert Song and The Student Prince. In addition to The Desert Song’s popular romantic ballads, ‘One Alone’, ‘The Desert Song Waltz’ and ‘Romance’, there are the stirring ‘Riff Song’ and the ‘French Military Marching Song’. M-G-M’s 1954 production of The Student Prince is remembered as the ‘half’ Mario Lanza film - he had become so obese that he could not be featured as actor, so the studio opted for the combination of his glorious voice and the disastrously wooden acting of Edmund Purdom. Here we hear the rousing ‘Drinking Song’, and the popular romantic ballads, ‘Deep In My Heart’, ‘Serenade’ ("Overhead the moon is beaming…") and the show’s ballet music.
Three numbers are included from the Schubertian Blossom Time; and from Maytime there is the very popular ‘Will You Remember’ while from The Night is Young there is another great favourite, ‘When I Grow too Old To Dream’. This album is the first of two devoted to Romberg’s music and it is to be hoped that the second will include more material from Rosalie.
Fond, nostalgic memories of the fading Viennese operetta style of Broadway musical, popular before WW2.