Original Broadway Cast

The King and I; Kismet (Original Broadway Casts)

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The original Broadway cast album of Kismet was recorded in December 1953, the same month that the musical opened on Broadway. That means that the album, initially released in the U.S. by Decca Records, went out of copyright in Europe on January 1, 2004, 50 years later. As a public domain property, it is available for unlicensed reissue by anyone who wants to remaster a copy of the old LP. (In the U.S., Universal Music continues to claim copyright.) Living Era is a British label that specializes in such reissues, and in the case of musicals, it likes to pair them up on CDs, since CDs have roughly double the capacity of LPs. (Previous Living Era two-fers include the original Broadway cast albums of Oklahoma! and Show Boat, Annie Get Your Gun and Kiss Me, Kate, Carousel and South Pacific, and Guys and Dolls and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.) In this case, the label has matched Kismet with the 1951 show The King and I, a logical enough combination since both shows, opening only two years apart, find American songwriters (in the case of Kismet, borrowing from Russian composer Alexander Borodin) going to exotic locations, on the one hand the Baghdad of the Arabian Nights era, on the other Siam in the 18th century. The only problem is a technical one: the two cast albums don't fit into the 80-minute confines of a single CD. Yet this one runs 77 minutes, which means something must be missing, and it is. In fact, five of the 17 selections making up Kismet have been deleted: "Overture," "Sands of Time," "Rhymes Have I," "Rahadlakum," and "Zubbediya, Samaris' Dance." The resulting disc probably should have been called The King and I and Highlights from Kismet. But there is no indication in the packaging (other than the tracks list, if you know what to look for) that Kismet has been substantially abridged. This is the kind of risk the consumer takes in opting for such unauthorized (if technically legal) product.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
The King and I, musical
1 3:28
2 2:45
3 2:09
4 3:12
5 3:19
feat: Yul Brynner
7 3:32
8 3:31
9 3:29
10 2:38
11 3:31
12 3:00
Kismet, musical (after works by Alexander Borodin)
feat: Alfred Drake
14 1:15
15 3:10
16 4:17
17 4:13
feat: Hal Hackett
19 4:26
20 3:43
feat: Henry Calvin
22 4:49
feat: Alfred Drake
24 3:04
blue highlight denotes track pick