V 5: Orchestral Music
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Praised by composer John Williams as 'one of the great American masters of light orchestral music', Leroy Anderson was a meticulous craftsman, a composer and arranger of many popular tunes that, once heard, are never forgotten. Volume 5 in Naxos' complet
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As in the earlier discs in this series, Leonard Slatkin and the BBC Concert Orchestra play their hearts out, and this time they are joined for several songs by baritone William Dazeley and soprano Kim Criswell. We hear eleven numbers from the musical itself as well as two orchestral arrangements later made by Anderson for independent performance: 'Lady in Waiting Waltz' and 'Shall I Take My Heart', the former originally an extended ballet in the show and the latter a ballad from the show. It must be said that this score is not a complete success, but it certainly has some high points: 'Lazy Moon', 'The Pussy Foot', 'Who's Been Sitting in my Chair' (deliciously sung by Criswell) and 'I Never Know When'. All have the expected Andersonian charm.
Filling out the disc is a brilliantly orchestrated set of six Christmas carols arranged for woodwinds which originally appeared on a 1955 LP and which also contained a set for brass and another for strings. They are here played in freshly recorded and beautifully played performances by the Slatkin and the winds of the BBC Concerto Orchestra.
Naxos has now given the show a fresh new dusting, with this exciting release (the fifth entry in their series of Leroy Anderson retrospectives). Leonard Slatkin leads the BBC Concert Orchestra. It's never going to replace the original Broadway album purely because this CD focuses more on the dance and ballet arrangements from the show--only two of the songs actually feature singers (Kim Criswell stars in the Stritch role of Maggie; and William Dazeley is the flustered director). Instead, let's regard this as a supplement to the Broadway album. It's a thrill hearing the original Overture (although I do miss the sensational "I Never Know When" section, which never fails to give me chills).
A real thrill for longtime GOLDILOCKS fans.