Noël Coward's Bittersweet [Selections]

Noël Coward's Bittersweet [Selections]

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This unlicensed album presents a 1958 studio cast recording of Noël Coward's 1929 operetta Bitter Sweet that has been out of print for many years, after having been released in the U.K. by RCA Victor/EMI and, in the U.S. in 1960, on Angel. It went out of copyright in Europe as of January 1, 2009, and Sepia Records didn't waste much time getting this version out

Overview

This unlicensed album presents a 1958 studio cast recording of Noël Coward's 1929 operetta Bitter Sweet that has been out of print for many years, after having been released in the U.K. by RCA Victor/EMI and, in the U.S. in 1960, on Angel. It went out of copyright in Europe as of January 1, 2009, and Sepia Records didn't waste much time getting this version out. But the new label did take the time to add a bunch of extra tracks that more than double the running time. The 1958 album (tracks 1-11) was notable for being the first album-length version of the score, and it is excellent, with Vanessa Lee putting her soprano in the service of the starring role of a woman who follows her heart in 19th century Vienna and, along the way, sings such Coward standards as "I'll See You Again" and "Zigeuner." Also impressive is Julie Dawn as the nightclub singer Manon, handling another Coward evergreen, "If Love Were All." In fact, the only thing wrong with the recording is that it is incomplete, presenting only nine songs from the score (plus the "Overture" and "Finale"), when there were another eight sung on-stage, among them "Bonne Nuit, Merci" and "Green Carnations." The 12 extra tracks do not include any of that material, however, repeating many of the same songs in different versions. Although there was no "original cast album" of Bitter Sweet, Peggy Wood, Georges Metaxa, and Ivy St. Helier, the London stars, did cut a couple of singles of the major songs before the opening, and those tracks are here. Evelyn Laye, who starred in the show on Broadway, recorded "I'll See You Again" and "Zigeuner" a decade later, and they're here, too. Most unusual, there was a French-language production in Paris in 1930, and four songs from that cast have been included. The whole thing finishes with a 1954 Coward recording of "I'll See You Again." Thus, this is a good miscellany of Bitter Sweet, especially for those who don't mind hearing four different versions of "I'll See You Again" and three each of "Dear Little Café" and "Zigeuner." But it is not a complete recording of the score.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/12/2009
Label:
Sepia Recordings
UPC:
5055122111306
catalogNumber:
1130

Tracks

  1. Overture
  2. The Call of Life
  3. If You Could Only Come With Me
  4. I'll See You Again
  5. Ladies Of The Town
  6. If Love Were All
  7. Dear Little Café
  8. Today
  9. Kiss Me
  10. Zigeuner
  11. Finale
  12. Selection
  13. I'll See You Again, song (from "Bitter Sweet")
  14. If Love Were All
  15. Dear Little Café
  16. Zigeuner
  17. I'll See You Again, song (from "Bitter Sweet")
  18. Zigeuner
  19. I'll See You Again, song (from "Bitter Sweet")
  20. Ne Serait-Ce Pas L'Amour? (What Is Love?), song
  21. Le Petit Café (Dear Little Café)
  22. Tzigane (Zigeuner)
  23. I'll See You Again, song (from "Bitter Sweet")

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Noël Coward   Vocals
Evelyn Laye   Vocals
Angela Morley   Conductor
Michael Collins   Conductor
Mary Thomas   Vocals
Clifford Greenwood   Conductor
His Majesty's Theatre Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Julie Dawn   Vocals
Norman Hackforth   Piano
Fred Mêlé   Conductor
Peggy Wood   Vocals
Reginald Burston   Conductor
Jean Allister   Vocals
Roberto Cardinali   Vocals
Jane Marnac   Vocals
Vanessa Lee   Vocals
Michael Collins Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Gordon Whelan   Piano
John Hayxvell   Vocals
René Bussy   Vocals
Dorothy Dorow   Vocals
Rita Williams   Vocals
Rita Williams Singers   Choir, Chorus
George Metaxa   Vocals
London Palladium Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Ivy St. Helier   Vocals

Technical Credits

Noël Coward   Composer
Rexton S. Bunnett   Liner Notes
Saint-Granier   Composer
Ray Terry   Orchestration
Brian Fahey   Orchestration
Ray Leaning   Graphic Design

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