Richard Hayman, as well as being a very popular ‘Pops’ conductor, also served as chief arranger for the Boston Pops Orchestra for over thirty years during Arthur Fiedler’s tenure. Hayman’s arrangements are always imaginative, lively and colourful and mostly sympathetic to the original scores. Some arrangements may not suit all tastes but listening to Hayman’s rich Latin treatment of ‘Were Thine That Special Face’ from Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate, for instance, its hard not to cheer. Generally speaking the Cole Porter arrangements are the most satisfying.
It depends of course on personal taste whether you like the music sans lyrics for well-loved songs such as these. Considering the essential elegance and wit of Cole Porter’s lyrics, for instance, (sublime combinations of words and music) they can be sorely missed. But in this context, it is of course beside the point - and this is an enjoyable and well performed collection.
Each of the above Broadway musicals, with the exception of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Me and Juliet (that one, you will notice, does not make the front cover listing on this Naxos album) was eventually filmed.
Me and Juliet appeared on Broadway at a time when there was intense competition from other hit shows, and although it ran there for 358 performances, it had noLondonrun and the film producers seem to have overlooked it. Here we have the chance of reassessing Rodgers’ music for this show which although amiable and lively enough is just not as memorable as those wonderful songs from Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific and The King and I , that is except for ‘No Other Love Have I’ which is really more associated with its first appearance in that memorable World War II documentary series, Victory at Sea. The other Richards and Hammerstein musical featured here, Flower Drum Song non-too-successfully filmed in 1961, did not reach the heights of the aforementioned four smash hit musicals but ‘I Enjoy Being a Girl’ ‘Chop Suey’ and ‘You Are Beautiful’ are pleasurable enough.
I give the complete list of shows and songs above. I think this speaks for and recommends itself.