Play Ball!

Play Ball!

by Erich Kunzel


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Play Ball!

There have been a handful of classical pieces on baseball -- for example, Charles Ives' "Some Southpaw Pitching" and William Schuman's "Casey at the Bat" -- but this is an entire album by a symphony orchestra on the theme. Yet Erich Kunzel, the ever-expansive populist, keeps away from the classics, reaching instead for a clutch of film scores, pop songs, marches, standard baseball ditties, and assorted memorabilia, liberally laced with realistic crowd noises. Nevertheless, the eccentric, eclectic brainstorms are what give this CD its charm; and you want to whiz past the dull, formulaic swatches of film music (the odd rhumba from "A League of Their Own" being an eccentric exception) to get to them. You'll probably be tempted to head straight for the timeless Abbott & Costello "Who's On First" routine first; and yes, it's the real McCoy. One of the best musical features is the rarely recorded full overture to Broadway's Damn Yankees, with its irresistible tunes strung together in curtain-raising style. There is a "Casey at the Bat," but not Schuman's; Kunzel loyally opts instead for Cincinnati Pops principal composer Steven Reineke's corny, over-the-top illustration of the tale, with the stentorian, sometimes overwrought James Earl Jones overdubbing his narration from a studio in New York. So does actor/singer Tom Wopat (from Nashville), doing his best John Fogerty imitation in a decent sympho-rock arrangement of "Centerfield." So does Maria Muldaur (from San Francisco) as she sings "The Ball Game" from Cobb in a raunchy voice. The orchestral sound is a bit recessed, but equipped with the full rich Telarc bass content, and the crowd noises from Cleveland's Jacobs Field sound pretty snazzy when heard on a surround-sound system.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/24/1998
Label: Telarc
UPC: 0089408046827
catalogNumber: 80468

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Erich Kunzel   Primary Artist,Conductor,Performing Ensemble
Maria Muldaur   Vocals,Track Performer
James Earl Jones   Narrator,Track Performer
Tom Wopat   Vocals,Track Performer
Cincinnati Pops Orchestra   Performing Ensemble,Track Performer
Jack Hayes   Performing Ensemble
Jerry Kimbrough   Guitar,Track Performer
Joe Price   Performing Ensemble
Bud Abbott   Track Performer
Lou Costello   Track Performer
Timothy Berens   Guitar
Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Dublin   Choir, Chorus
Central State University Chorus   Choir, Chorus
Knox Choir of Knox Presbyterian Church   Choir, Chorus
School for the Creative and Performing Arts High School Choir   Choir, Chorus

Technical Credits

Erich Kunzel   Arranger
James Horner   Composer
Jerry Ross   Text
Michael Bishop   Sound Effects,Engineer
Bill Caldwell   Director
Jack Hayes   Contributor
Joe Price   Arranger
Jack Renner   Engineer
Earl Rivers   Director
Robert Woods   Producer
John Stafford Smith   Composer
Jack Norworth   Text
Anilda Carrasquillo   Art Direction,Cover Design
William Henry Caldwell   Director
John Maggard   Illustrations,Cover Art
Richard E. Rodda   Liner Notes
Ernest Lawrence Thayer   Poetry,Contributor
Francis Scott Key   Text
Brian Sooy   Digital Sound Effects
Steven R. Reineke   Arranger,Text
Laurie Wyant   Director
Ernest Hoffman   Director
Steve Reineke   Text
Max Rudolf   Arranger
William Caldwell   Director

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