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Musical Theatre - Released September 7, 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Distinctions 5 de Diapason

Musical Theatre - Released September 7, 2018 | LSO Live

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Leonard Bernstein's 1953 musical Wonderful Town, with song texts by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, hasn't had frequent performances and recordings. It has lots of things going for it: one of Bernstein's memorable tunes in "Ohio" ("Oh, why-o, why-o, why ..."), a conga scene that is inadequately motivated but certainly anticipates West Side Story, and an ensemble cast conception that was certainly known to the writers of A Chorus Line 20 years later. It also has some things going against it: the number "One Hundred Easy Ways to Lose a Man" is retrograde even by the dismal standards of musical theater gender relations, and the storyline is a bit random. Bernstein seems to have acknowledged this with his concert version of the score, which showcases his tunes and his up-to-the-minute familiarity with jazz and Latin rhythms while not weighing itself down with the tale. Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra are fine, relaxed performers in this repertory, and they deliver a performance that goes beyond usual symphony-orchestra correctness. One wonders how the topical references to American football, Kiwanis clubs, and the like, go down with overseas performers, but Duncan Rock as Wreck seems comfortable with the latter (sample "Pass the Football") and the lead female vocal duo of Australia's Danielle de Niese and the American Alysha Umphress are fine in the more universal theme of small town girls in the big city. The cast's American accents are impressively consistent, probably more so than they would be in a U.S. production, and the sound from this 2017 live recording at the Barbican keeps everything clear. © James Manheim /TiVo


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