The musical Music in the Air, with music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, was a hit when it opened on Broadway on November 8, 1932, running 342 performances and spinning off a London production in 1933 and a film version in 1934. Broadway cast and motion picture soundtrack albums did not come into fashion for another decade, so there were no contemporaneous recordings, although the score threw off two standards, "I've Told Ev'ry Little Star" and "The Song Is You." Other than a short-lived Broadway revival in 1951, however, little was heard from the show after the 1930s, probably because of the creaky operetta plot, concerning a German music teacher who walks to Munich to induce an old pupil, now a famous composer, to publish a song he has written, taking along his daughter and her suitor, both of whom encounter romantic difficulties in the big city. This recording apparently contains an adaptation of the show for radio made in the early 1950s. (Among other revisions, the setting has been shifted from Germany to Austria, and hence from Munich to Vienna, no doubt as a nod to postwar sensibilities.) Each of the major parts is spoken by one actor and sung by another, and they manage to put the story across in about 50 minutes, such as it is. It would have been preferable just to have the songs, but any recording of this otherwise obscure show is welcome. Music in the Air concludes with both sides of the single Mary Ellis, who starred in the 1933 British production, recorded of the major songs for the English Columbia Records label, an excellent bonus.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
|Music in the Air, musical in 2 acts|