Frank Sinatra Conducts the Music of Alec Wilder

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richard S. Ginell
Having heard some Alec Wilder instrumental compositions backstage at New York's Paramount Theatre on a portable record player, Frank Sinatra decided that he wanted to conduct and record them himself. When Sinatra got a passion for something, nothing would stand in his way -- not even the inconvenient facts that he had never conducted before and couldn't read music. Yet apparently he was a natural; indeed, musicians have testified that his baton technique was no worse than those of most of the great arrangers he employed. Either that or this New York pickup group did a Herculean job of carrying the young singer, for the ensemble is alert, cohesive, and phrases with ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richard S. Ginell
Having heard some Alec Wilder instrumental compositions backstage at New York's Paramount Theatre on a portable record player, Frank Sinatra decided that he wanted to conduct and record them himself. When Sinatra got a passion for something, nothing would stand in his way -- not even the inconvenient facts that he had never conducted before and couldn't read music. Yet apparently he was a natural; indeed, musicians have testified that his baton technique was no worse than those of most of the great arrangers he employed. Either that or this New York pickup group did a Herculean job of carrying the young singer, for the ensemble is alert, cohesive, and phrases with terrific musicality. In any case, these are lovely, wistful pieces that fall in between the cracks of classical music, what was once called semi-classical Kostelanetz, Mantovani, etc. and pop, often with a featured spot for a wind soloist. That's Sinatra's future bĂȘte noire at Columbia, Mitch Miller, expertly sounding forth on "Air For Oboe" and "Air For English Horn," and the future New York Philharmonic principal flutist Julius Baker takes a gorgeous turn on "Air For Flute." You can hear some overtones of Delius now and then, even touches of '40s swing on "Slow Dance" and "Theme and Variations," but Wilder was defiantly his own man, conjuring playful, relaxed, piquant, mixed idioms at will. The six Sinatra-conducted pieces were first issued on 12-inch 78s in 1946, yet the CD transfer belies their age; the sound is big, clear, and dry, yet detailed. To fill out the disc, there are seven more recordings of Wilder pieces by the Alec Wilder Octet including harpsichord from 1939-1940, composed in a similar, more pop-slanted yet still unclassifiable vein but this time with offbeat titles like "It's Silk, Feel It!" or "Her Old Man Was Suspicious." Thanks to Sinatra's advocacy, this music stands a good, deserved chance at survival, and is well worth seeking out.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/6/1995
  • Label: COL. SPEC. PROD
  • UPC: 079890427129
  • Catalog Number: 4271

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Air For Oboe (3:35)
  2. 2 Air For Bassoon (4:34)
  3. 3 Air for Flute (4:33)
  4. 4 Air for English horn and strings (3:57)
  5. 5 Slow Dance (4:06)
  6. 6 Theme and Variations (4:11)
  7. 7 Such A Tender Night - Alec Wilder Octet (3:05)
  8. 8 She'll Be Seven In May - Alec Wilder Octet (2:59)
  9. 9 It's Silk, Feel It! - Alec Wilder Octet (2:31)
  10. 10 Seldom the Sun - Alec Wilder Octet (3:16)
  11. 11 Her Old Man Was Suspicious - Alec Wilder Octet (2:24)
  12. 12 His First Long Pants - Alec Wilder Octet (2:37)
  13. 13 Pieces Of Eight - Alec Wilder Octet (2:26)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Frank Sinatra Primary Artist, Conductor, Vocals
Alec Wilder Ensemble
Mitch Miller English Horn, Oboe
Julius Baker Flute
Harold Goltzer Bassoon
Columbia String Orchestra Performing Ensemble
Technical Credits
Frank Carroll Contributor
Walter Gross Contributor
Goddard Lieberson Liner Notes
Nuncio "Toots" Mondello Contributor
Reggie Merrill Contributor
Jimmy Carroll Contributor
Eddie Powell Contributor
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