Leroy Anderson – Orchestral Music (5)

0 of 5 stars

Goldilocks [excerpts]
Suite of Carols [Version for Woodwinds]
Goldilocks – Lady in Waiting, Waltz; Shall I Take My Heart

Kim Criswell (soprano) & William Dazeley (baritone)

BBC Concert Orchestra
Leonard Slatkin

Recorded 3-5 September 2007 in The Colosseum, Watford, England

Reviewed by: Colin Anderson

Reviewed: November 2008
CD No: NAXOS 8.559382
Duration: 52 minutes



The final volume of Leonard Slatkin’s survey of Leroy Anderson’s Orchestral Music concentrates on Anderson’s one and only completed Broadway project, “Cinderella”. (There were two others that didn’t make it.) We have 35 minutes of excerpts beginning with the brilliant, foot-tapping Overture (heard as orchestrated by one D. Ross – presumably Anderson, although himself a master-orchestrator, bowed to the ‘tradition’, if it is one, of allowing an arranger to do the scoring).

As Richard S. Ginell relates in the booklet note, the creation of “Goldilocks”, as for most musicals it seems, was anything but plain-sailing, for “the book and score underwent a ceaseless succession of rewrites, inserts and deletions right up to opening night.” Now, as I understand it, what we have here is Anderson’s own “symphonic arrangements” of “Goldilocks” (excepting Ross’s scoring of the Overture, save that Ginell relates that Philip Lang, who orchestrated most of the original show, “claimed” that Anderson himself scored the Overture and a couple of other numbers). Whatever, the Overture is a spectacular beginning to this selection, and when ‘Lazy Moon’ then comes along we are with the familiar orchestral style of Anderson himself; less flamboyant, crisp and considered, and with that familiar ‘novelty’ aspect nestling in comfortably.

Although “Goldilocks” lasted “only 161 performances” (despite Don Ameche and Elaine Stritch taking the leading roles) and was thus a relative failure, it should be remembered that when “Goldilocks” opened, in 1958, that Broadway was also hosting shows such as “West Side Story”, “The Music Man” and “My Fair Lady”. In any case, in addition to a cast album, some of the songs from “Goldilocks” had an outside life and were ‘covered’ by such popular artists as Vic Damone, Jo Stafford and Percy Faith. (That would be considered ‘success’ today!)

The simple truth is that “Goldilocks” has very likeable songs and lively dance-sequences. ‘Shall I Take My Heart and Go” is altogether lovely, very touching, and beautifully sung here by William Dazeley. Kim Criswell gets to ask ‘Who’s Been Sitting In My Chair?’, a perky little number. As additions to the 11 “excerpts” are the ‘Lady In Waiting, Waltz’ (not to be confused with the Ballet of the same name, which is included in the “excerpts”), which is vintage Anderson, and an “Instrumental” version of ‘Shall I Take My Heart…’.

Between “excerpts” and appendices comes another Suite of Carols (including the ‘Coventry’ variety) this time for woodwinds (see links below for other versions), maybe the best sound-carrier for such things and finding the BBC Concert Orchestra’s harmonie in fine fettle.

Before listening, I had wondered if this short-measure release (the five volumes really could have been four) was something of a mopping-up operation. Not a bit of it: “Goldilocks” is a real discovery and here is given a really dashing and sympathetic performance that should win for an overlooked show plenty of deserved new friends.

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