Various Artists

Oscar Hammerstein Legacy: Operettas

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Oscar Hammerstein II is best remembered for the string of successful musicals he wrote with Richard Rodgers between 1943 and 1959, starting with Oklahoma! and ending with The Sound of Music. But he had a long career before hooking up with Rodgers, much of which was spent working with operetta composers like Rudolf Friml and Sigmund Romberg on such popular works as Rose Marie, The Desert Song, and The New Moon. This British compilation, the first of two Hammerstein tributes, collects period recordings from such works made between 1927 and 1940. The primary sources for the tracks are recordings made by members of the original London casts of the operettas and by members of the casts of film versions. Thus, "Romance," "The Riff Song," "French Military Marching Song," and the title song from The Desert Song are performed by Edith Day and/or Harry Welchman of the London cast, while "Marianne" from The New Moon is performed by Howett Worster and "The Girl on the Prow" from the same show is performed by Evelyn Laye, both the singers members of the London cast. Mary Ellis of the 1933 London cast of Music in the Air sings the show's best-known song, "I've Told Every Little Star." Most unusual for Americans is the inclusion of "Hand in Hand" from The Three Sisters, which never opened in New York, sung by Stanley Holloway of the London cast. Most familiar to Americans will be the recordings by Jeanette MacDonald and/or Nelson Eddy made at the times of their appearances in film versions of Rose Marie (1936; "Rose Marie," "The Mounties," "Indian Love Call") and The New Moon (1940; "One Kiss," "Lover Come Back to Me," "Stout-Hearted Men," "Softly As in a Morning Sunrise"). These are definitive performances of Hammerstein's best songs in the operetta style.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:05
The New Moon, operetta
2 3:45
Rose Marie, operetta
3 3:11
The Desert Song, operetta
4 3:35
5 2:48
The New Moon, operetta
6 2:36
Rose Marie, operetta
7 2:30
The Night is Young, film score
8 3:26
Rose Marie, operetta
9 3:37
Give Us This Night, film score
10 2:48
The New Moon, operetta
11 1:48
12 3:18
The New Moon, operetta
13 3:49
14 2:45
The Desert Song, operetta
15 3:29
The Night is Young, film score
16 3:27
The Desert Song, operetta
17 2:35
18 2:52
19 3:33
20 3:20
21 3:28
The New Moon, operetta
22 3:29
The Great Waltz, film score
23 2:59
blue highlight denotes track pick