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Pardon My English


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 1 1994)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B000005J2N
  • Other Editions: Audio Cassette
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #226,456 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 3 2002
Format: Audio CD
This musical, although unsuccessful in the theatre due largely to a "weak" book, cast mutinies and extensive rewrites, nonetheless displays another side of George Gershwin's talents. A fine example of Gershwin's later style, it contains parodies of polkas, waltzes and marches interspersed with swing. Some great melodies, amusing lyrics, brilliant orchestration (Bennett, Deutsch, and others), and obvious enthusiasm for the material on the part of the performers make this CD worth listening to.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Another side of the Gershwins... June 3 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This musical, although unsuccessful in the theatre due largely to a "weak" book, cast mutinies and extensive rewrites, nonetheless displays another side of George Gershwin's talents. A fine example of Gershwin's later style, it contains parodies of polkas, waltzes and marches interspersed with swing. Some great melodies, amusing lyrics, brilliant orchestration (Bennett, Deutsch, and others), and obvious enthusiasm for the material on the part of the performers make this CD worth listening to.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
ONE OF THE GERSHWIN'S MOST INGENIOUS SCORES . . . Oct. 3 2006
By J. T Waldmann - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
PARDON MY ENGLISH will always be known as the show the Gershwins would have liked to forget. Written as a special favor for a friend of theirs, the show " . . . became a revolving door of book writers, directors, and performers . . ." so that by the time it finally reached Broadway, it was a total mess. Songs had been reassigned to new characters, plot changes created odd musical references, what once were main characters were now inconsequential to the plot. No wonder it became 1933's first flop.

Long forgotten until 1982 when a number of musical manuscripts were discovered at the Warner Brothers Music Warehouse in Secaucus, New Jersey, the score was finally performed in 1987 at the Library of Congress. Mrs. Ira Gershwin was so delighted that she suggested PARDON MY ENGLISH be among the first restored Gershwin scores recorded for the outstanding Roxbury/Nonesuch series.

Thankfully, the new performing edition corresponds most closely to the one used for the Philadelphia premiere; the closer the show got to its Broadway opening, the more confusing and confused it got. The setting is Dresden, 1933, and the plot involves an English nobleman (Michael Bramleigh) who, when knocked on the head, becomes Golo, a speakeasy proprietor. (The German government has outlawed all soft drinks; only beer and wine are legal.) Michael is engaged to Ilsa - daughter of the inept Commissioner Bauer - who is kidnapped by Golo, whom she mistakes for Michael, because he actually is Michael . . .

Oh, just forget the plot and enjoy the music.

Gershwin biographer Edward Jablonski writes: "[The Gershwins], acknowledged masters of musical theatre composition, revealed an even greater sophistication, a disregard for writing song hits, and a unique resourcefulness highlighted by the tongue-in-cheek co-mingling of the Viennese waltz and the American foxtrot." " . . . One of their most ingenious scores, PARDON MY ENGLISH. . . with its rich choral passages, contrapuntal waltzes and other complex musical-lyrical passages, despite its book, was a musical stepping-stone toward PORGY AND BESS." In addition to the standards "Isn't It a Pity?" and "My Cousin in Milwaukee," there's the comical "Freud and Jung and Adler" and "Dresden Northwest Mounted" with the continuously deteriorating refrain "We always get our man -- if we can." In fact, the entire score is delightful.

John Cullum (NORTHERN EXPOSURE's Holling Vincoeur) is absolutely wonderful as the bungling Commissioner, as is William Katt (Perry Mason's assistant in the 1980s series and real-life son of Barbara Hale/Della Street) in the dual roles of Michael and Golo. And a bit of trivia: listed in the cast as Golo's sidekick "Katz," is Peter Kevoian, who played both El Gallo and J. Pierpont Finch in my productions of THE FANTASTICKS and HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS at Norwalk (CA) High School.

Very highly recommended.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
GOOD MUSIC Nov. 28 2011
By JAVIER ALISEDA - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
GREAT MUSIC FROM A ONE OF THE BEST COMPOSERS OF THE XX CENTURY ALONG WITH BURT BACHARCH, BRIAN WILSON AND PAUL MCcARTNEY.
5 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Buy some other Gershwin April 15 2005
By M. Walsh - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
There is a reason this show closed after 46 performances. One critic called it "devastatingly routine" and that it is. Ira Gershwin called one of the songs he did for this show "the worst lyric I ever wrote".

If you did a blind listening of the music, it would be hard to tell it was written by George Gershwin. Ditto the lyrics by Ira. This recording would be useful only to Gershwin scholars. I found it useful in a practical way---just to remind myself that giants like the Gershwins are not gods. They did have an all-too-human flop. I'd buy another Gershwin instead of this disappointment. I gave it just one star and that for effort, not results.


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