Kenneth Schermerhorn

Leonard Bernstein: West Side Story (The Original Score)

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Leonard Bernstein: West Side Story (The Original Score) Review

by Bruce Eder

This delightful and revelatory recording accomplishes something that composer Leonard Bernstein attempted and failed to achieve more than a decade earlier. West Side Story has its operatic moments, enough that Bernstein in the 1980s did a recording with major operatic singers in the roles -- the problem was that those same singers were all significantly too old for the roles they were singing, so it came off as the "geezer" version of West Side Story, albeit technically beautiful. The late Kenneth Schermerhorn and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra have now fulfilled what Bernstein set out to do, and one better -- going back to his original score, before adaptations were made for the needs of the Broadway stage and pit (or the Hollywood orchestra, in the case of the movie), they've brought the piece back to its first completed state. And, with Betsi Morrison, Mike Eldred, Mariane Cook, Michael San Giovanni, and Robert Dean -- who are at least within a few years of the ages of their respective characters, and sing their roles with a bracing, infectiously youthful verve -- they've presented the most exciting rendition of West Side Story heard on record in many-a-year. What's more, it's beautifully played and recorded virtually to perfection, so much so that its one real flaw is a cold, near-sterility that's always a risk with a studio cast and recording on a piece like this -- but that brush with imperfection aside, at Naxos Records' usual budget price, this CD could be, note for note, one of the biggest bargains going, and it might be the best way to discover the music, short of seeing an actual performance on-stage.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
West Side Story, film score
1 Kenneth Schermerhorn feat: Nashville Symphony 04:16 Amazon
2 Kenneth Schermerhorn feat: Robert Dean / The Jets 02:34 Amazon
3 Kenneth Schermerhorn feat: Mike Eldred / Nashville Symphony 02:48 Amazon
4 Kenneth Schermerhorn feat: Nashville Symphony 01:52 Amazon
5 Kenneth Schermerhorn feat: Nashville Symphony 00:22 Amazon
6 Kenneth Schermerhorn feat: Nashville Symphony 02:44 Amazon
7 Kenneth Schermerhorn feat: Mike Eldred / Nashville Symphony 03:06 Amazon
8 Kenneth Schermerhorn feat: Betsi Morrison / Nashville Symphony 07:21 Amazon
9 Kenneth Schermerhorn feat: Nashville Symphony 04:57 Amazon
10 Kenneth Schermerhorn feat: Robert Dean / The Jets 04:36 Amazon
11 Kenneth Schermerhorn feat: Betsi Morrison / Nashville Symphony 04:59 Amazon
12 Kenneth Schermerhorn feat: Marianne Cooke / Betsi Morrison / Nashville Symphony 03:54 Amazon
13 Kenneth Schermerhorn feat: Nashville Symphony 03:11 Amazon
14 Kenneth Schermerhorn feat: Betsi Morrison / Nashville Symphony 03:56 Amazon
15 Kenneth Schermerhorn feat: Betsi Morrison / Nashville Symphony 01:30 Amazon
16 Kenneth Schermerhorn feat: Nashville Symphony 00:41 Amazon
17 Kenneth Schermerhorn feat: Nashville Symphony 01:40 Amazon
18 Kenneth Schermerhorn feat: Nashville Symphony 02:38 Amazon
19 Kenneth Schermerhorn feat: West Side Story Cast Ensemble / Nashville Symphony 03:41 Amazon
20 Kenneth Schermerhorn feat: The Jets / Nashville Symphony 04:21 Amazon
21 Kenneth Schermerhorn feat: Marianne Cooke / Betsi Morrison / Nashville Symphony 06:03 Amazon
22 Kenneth Schermerhorn feat: Nashville Symphony 01:06 Amazon
23 Kenneth Schermerhorn feat: Nashville Symphony 02:50 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick