Various Artists

A Time of Hope: Broadway 1935-1946

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A Time of Hope: Broadway 1935-1946 is the first of six budget-priced compilations of cast recordings issued by Universal Music's Decca Broadway imprint, covering the six decades since the founding of the American Decca Records label. Decca was a pioneer in what came to be called the "Original Broadway Cast" album, establishing the form with the success of its Oklahoma! recording in 1943, and the company had the field pretty much to itself for the next several years. This 12-track album samples from some classic Decca albums of the era, including Carousel and Annie Get Your Gun. The date range refers to the openings of the original productions of the shows, not to the recordings; "Summertime" from 1935's Porgy and Bess, for example, is drawn from the 1940-1942 studio cast album, although it does feature Anne Brown of the original production, and Mary Martin's rendition of her early signature song, "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," is the one she made for Decca in 1940, not at the time of her appearance in Leave It to Me, the 1938 musical in which it was featured. Still, even this brief collection of Decca's show music holdings from the '40s demonstrates both the label's early dominance of the field and the quality of the material and the performers, with standards by Rodgers & Hart, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Leonard Bernstein, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin sung by the likes of such stars as Martin, Ethel Merman, and Alfred Drake.

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