The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for October 18th, 2012

Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’: Sony Masterworks Boxes “Complete Rodgers and Hammerstein”

with 2 comments

Back on September 10, we reported on Sony Masterworks’ Broadway in a Box, a 25-CD primer on the impressive musical theatre catalogue of Columbia, RCA Victor and associated labels.  Contemplating Masterworks’ vast library, we opined, “A deluxe Rodgers and Hammerstein box could represent each of the duo’s stage musicals (save the posthumous adaptation of State Fair) with a disc from the Columbia and RCA Victor archives.”  Well, such a deluxe box set is here, much sooner than we anticipated!

On November 6, Masterworks will unveil Rodgers and Hammerstein: The Complete Broadway Musicals.  The 12-CD box set includes one recording of each of the team’s eleven musicals, including the 1957 written-for-television Cinderella, which will make its Broadway debut in a revised version this winter.  It even includes the aforementioned State Fair!  Written as a 1945 film musical, State Fair finally made its way to Broadway in 1996, and the new box set includes the cast recording which originally appeared on the DRG label.

Though the partnership of Richard Rodgers (1902-1979) and Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960) ended with Hammerstein’s death in 1960, their work still represents the pinnacle of the Broadway musical, with its influence felt even today.  Both men were pioneers even before they worked together.  Rodgers had written a string of famed musicals with lyricist Lorenz Hart, including On Your Toes, Babes in Arms and Pal Joey.  The Rodgers/Hart duo yielded perhaps the greatest run of standards in popular music history; “Where or When,” “The Lady is a Tramp,” “Blue Moon,” “It Never Entered My Mind,” “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” and “I Could Write a Book” are just a few.   Hammerstein specialized in operetta, and his work with Sigmund Romberg (The Desert Song, The New Moon) and Rudolf Friml (Rose-Marie) was, at first blush, a far cry from Rodgers and Hart’s insouciant, jazzy musical comedies.  With composer Jerome Kern, however, Hammerstein broke new ground with 1927’s Show Boat, one of the most forward-thinking musicals of its day.  Show Boat was a sprawling, serious fusion of music, dialogue and dance, and introduced a number of standards itself, including, of course, “Old Man River.”

The Rodgers and Hart partnership went on a temporary hiatus in 1943 when Rodgers teamed Hammerstein, already accomplished as a playwright, lyricist and director.  Their first musical together was Oklahoma!  The rest is history.  That collaboration changed the face of musical theatre, perfecting the art of integrating song, dance and dialogue into a seamless whole. Rodgers and Hart had one final hurrah reteaming to write new material for a revival of their 1927 A Connecticut Yankee, but Hart died soon after, and Rodgers and Hammerstein, the team, was solidified. But this was a largely different Rodgers, composing sweeping, majestic, dramatic melodies for “musicals,” often a different animal than the pure musical comedies and operettas that had come before.

Exactly what shows, in which recordings, will you find on Rodgers and Hammerstein: The Complete Broadway Musicals?  Just hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 18, 2012 at 14:33

Soundtrack Corner: We Will Always Love “The Bodyguard” Plus Jerry Lewis Goes “Geisha” and Les Baxter for Halloween

with one comment

Though the 1992 soundtrack to Mick Jackson’s film The Bodyguard is the best-selling soundtrack album of all time, its success was largely on the strength of star Whitney Houston’s performances of “I Will Always Love You,” “I Have Nothing” and “I’m Every Woman.”  Featured on just one track was the work of Alan Silvestri, the composer of Back to the Future and Who Framed Roger Rabbit who provided the film’s original score.  The under-three minute snippet featured on the Grammy-winning Arista album barely scratched the surface of Silvestri’s score for The Bodyguard.  Twenty years later, La-La Land Records has teamed with Sony Music and Warner Bros. for the first-ever release of Silvestri’s complete orchestral score.

This 3,500-unit limited edition release includes 23 tracks and seven bonus cuts including alternates and source music.  (Of course, none of the film’s songs or vocal performances are heard on this release.)  James Nelson (Kritzerland’s Follies, Promises, Promises) has mastered this release under the supervision of producer Dan Goldwasser, and Tim Grieving has written new liner notes incorporating comments from Mick Jackson and Alan Silvestri.

The Bodyguard: Original Score from the Motion Picture is available now from La-La Land Records for $19.98 plus shipping.

Hey laaaaady!  After the jump: how about some musical merriment from a Jerry Lewis classic?  And what spooky offerings does Intrada have for Halloween?  Plus: track listings and order links for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 18, 2012 at 10:02