Before a 50th Anniversary 'Sound of Music' Release, Other Rodgers & Hammerstein From Masterworks Online
By Andy Propst on Jun 2, 2009 | In ATW News
Masterworks Broadway once again re-examines three Rodgers and Hammerstein classics with a new release of special digital-only editions - the original cast recording of Flower Drum Song and the 1964 revival cast recording of The King and I. The third release, The Rodgers and Hammerstein Songbook, is a new, expanded edition of the best-selling compilation from their unparalleled catalog. The CDs, with each album's original cover art and liner notes, are available exclusively through ArkivMusic.com
The releases come in the midst of a year in which Masterworks Broadway is celebrating the Rodgers and Hammerstein catalogue, beginning with the February release of the critically acclaimed, long-awaited complete recording of Allegro and culminating in October with a special 50th anniversary edition of the original Broadway cast recording of The Sound of Music.
Flower Drum Song - A distinctive, often-overlooked title in the R&H canon, Flower Drum Song(1958) perhaps made its most striking impression through its original Broadway cast recording, which introduced such songs as "I Enjoy Being a Girl," "Love, Look Away" and "A Hundred Million Miracles." That recording returns expanded with six long-unavailable bonus tracks, all "covers" of the show's top songs, all recorded while it was still a Broadway sensation. Two feature the show's star Pat Suzuki, singing "Love, Look Away" (which she did not sing in the show) and "Sunday." Three of the tracks showcase the young Florence Henderson - "Grant Avenue," "Like a God" and "I Enjoy Being a Girl." The other track, "Fan Tan Fanny," features Sandra Church, who was about to become part of a legend as the original Louise/Gypsy Rose Lee in Gypsy.
The King and I - The original cast recording of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I, on the Decca label, was recorded in mono in 1951, with cuts to the score. When Richard Rodgers agreed to serve as producing director of a musical-theater company at the newly opened Lincoln Center in the mid-1960s, he seized the opportunity to see the show recorded in stereo with a more complete representation of the score of The King and I. This long-unavailable 1964 recording, with strikingly different interpretations of the leading roles by actor Darren McGavin and opera legend Risë Stevens, also features the glorious voices of Patricia Neway, Lee Venora and Frank Poretta. For this exclusive edition, five bonus tracks have been added. Three are from a studio recording of the score, made around the time of the show's Broadway premiere - an all-star event for 1951, featuring pop diva Dinah Shore ("I Whistle a Happy Tune") and opera star Robert Merrill ("A Puzzlement"), as well as duet version of "I Have Dreamed" with operatic soprano Patrice Munsel and pop star Tony Martin. Two-time Tony winner Richard Kiley is also heard in studio recordings of "Getting to Know You" and "Hello, Young Lovers."
The Rodgers and Hammerstein Songbook - Originally compiled in 1993 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Rodgers and Hammerstein collaboration, The Rodgers and Hammerstein Songbook has been a best-selling title on the Sony Classical label ever since - an essential collection of the team's greatest songs. This expanded edition is an even more complete representation of "the essential Rodgers and Hammerstein." It takes advantage of Masterworks Broadway's newly comprehensive catalogue, which now includes the original cast recordings of Allegro and Me and Juliet, as well as definitive revivals of Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music. All are sampled here, along with the original cast recordings of South Pacific, Cinderella, Flower Drum Song and The Sound of Music.
For further information regarding these releases, visit: www.sonymasterworks.com.
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