George M. Cohan: You're a Grand Old Flag

George M. Cohan: You're a Grand Old Flag

by The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra
     
 

In his extensive liner notes to this album (in a 36-page CD booklet of small print), Rick Benjamin, founder and director of the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, writes that the music of musical theater songwriter George M. Cohan (1878-1942) is remembered largely through the 1942 film biography Yankee Doodle Dandy and the…  See more details below

Overview

In his extensive liner notes to this album (in a 36-page CD booklet of small print), Rick Benjamin, founder and director of the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, writes that the music of musical theater songwriter George M. Cohan (1878-1942) is remembered largely through the 1942 film biography Yankee Doodle Dandy and the 1968 Broadway musical George M!, but that, in both cases, new orchestrations were used to make the music sound more contemporary. Here, Benjamin's purpose is to re-create the sound of Cohan's music as it was played originally, for the most part in the first decade of the 20th century. That means using the "Eleven & Piano" theater orchestra instrumentation of the day (flute doubling on piccolo, clarinet, two cornets, trombone, drums, piano, two violins, viola, 'cello, and double bass) and having that orchestra play the original orchestrations. Benjamin has also hired a Cohan soundalike, Colin Pritchard, to sing four songs, as well as a soprano, Bernadette Boerckel, to do another three. That accounts for seven of the musical tracks; the other seven are instrumentals. The album concludes with a speech given by Cohan himself in 1938. In his notes, Benjamin emphasizes Cohan's relationship to ragtime, suggesting that he popularized the style by bringing it to Broadway and by taking his shows on the road around the U.S. Certainly, listeners will recognize that connection. In these performances, Cohan's music comes across as similar to that of Scott Joplin (and occasionally, the march king John Philip Sousa). Since half the selections, constituting well over half of the running time, are instrumentals, this is much more music of the concert hall than the theater, and the recordings may serve to help the classical field claim Cohan from the popular realm. In any case, the album makes a welcome addition to the small library of recordings of one of Broadway's and popular music's outstanding songwriters of the early 20th century.

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Product Details

Release Date:
11/11/2008
Label:
New World Records
UPC:
0093228068525
catalogNumber:
80685-2

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. There's Only One Little Girl for Me, one-step for pops orchestra
  2. The Yankee Doodle Boy ("I'm a Yankee Doodle dandy")  - Colin Pritchard
  3. Overture
  4. George M. Cohan's Rag (from the minstrel show "Cohan & Harris, Minstrel
  5. The Eyes of Youth See the Truth, song (from "The Cohan Review of 1918")  - Bernadette Boerckel
  6. March Medley, for orchestra (from the musical "George Washington, Jr.")
  7. Harrigan (from the musical "Fifty Miles from Boston")  - Colin Pritchard
  8. Selection
  9. Mary's A Grand Old Name (from "Forty-Five Minutes From Broadway")  - Bernadette Boerckel
  10. Give My Regards to Broadway (from Little Johnny Jones)  - Colin Pritchard
  11. Popularity, musical
  12. That Haunting Melody, song  - Bernadette Boerckel
  13. Overture
  14. Over There  - Colin Pritchard
  15. George M. Cohan in a 1938 speech  - George M. Cohan

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Paragon Ragtime Orchestra   Primary Artist,Choir, Chorus,Performing Ensemble
George M. Cohan   Speech/Speaker/Speaking Part,Spoken Word
Deb Spohnheimer   Bass,Vocals,Group Member
Rick Benjamin   Conductor,Group Member
Tim Albright   Trombone,Vocals,Group Member
Kevin Cobb   Cornet,Vocals,Group Member
Leslie Cullen   Flute,Piccolo,Group Member
C.J. Camerieri   Cornet,Vocals,Group Member
Bernadette Boerckel   Vocals,Soprano (Vocal)
Colin Pritchard   Vocals,Baritone (Vocal)
Yankee Doodle Singers   Vocals

Technical Credits

George M. Cohan   Composer
Judith Sherman   Producer,Engineer
J. Bodewalt Lampe   Orchestration
Frank Saddler   Orchestration
Rick Benjamin   Liner Notes,Orchestration,Concept,Orchestra Director
Tim Albright   Contributor
Spoken Wordz   Composer

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