Bernstein: Wonderful Town

Bernstein: Wonderful Town

by Danielle de NieseDanielle de Niese

SACD(Super Audio CD)

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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.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/07/2018
Label: Harmonia Mundi Fr.
UPC: 0822231181323
catalogNumber: 813
Rank: 14492

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Danielle de Niese   Primary Artist,Vocals
London Symphony Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Michael Baxter   Vocals
Simon Rattle   Conductor
Nathan Gunn   Vocals
Jane Quinn   Vocals
Andrew Keelan   Vocals
London Symphony Chorus   Choir, Chorus
Kevin Brewis   Vocals
Duncan Rock   Vocals
Ashley Riches   Vocals
Alysha Umphress   Vocals
Soophia Foroughi   Vocals
Stephen John Davis   Vocals
David Butt Philip   Vocals
Flora Dawson   Vocals

Technical Credits

Leonard Bernstein   Composer
Betty Comden   Text
Adolph Green   Text
Jonathan Stokes   Engineer
Andrew Cornall   Producer
Gary Brown   Casting Consultant
Andrew Stewart   Liner Notes
Claire Delamarche   Liner Note Translation
Daniele Quilleri   Casting Consultant
Edward Bhesania   Liner Notes

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