Richard Hayman

The Sound of Music: The Enchanting Melodies of Rodgers and Hammerstein

(CD - Naxos #8555024)

Review by

This Naxos Light Classics release of music from the musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein owes as much to Richard Hayman as it does the original pair of creators. Hayman spent a long, successful career as an arranger and conductor of pops orchestra music. Here, he captures the melodies -- and the character of each one -- from Rodgers and Hammerstein's most popular shows. He does it so well, there is a sense that the songs have always existed for symphony orchestra. Nothing is over sentimentalized, with lots of strings and little of the rest of the sections. He takes complete advantage of the whole orchestra. For The Sweetest Sounds, he even added a drum kit with the same hip-sounding rim beats found in the themes from Charade and other 1960s spy movies, underlying the music. The biggest shows are represented by medleys, almost a Cliff's Notes version of the songs from each one, where tunes seamlessly blend together, one after another. Individual songs from the film State Fair and a couple other stage musicals alternate with the medleys. Once in a while, his orchestra has a scrappy sound to it, with minor problems in intonation and ensemble work, but the musicians are just as enthusiastic about the music as anyone could be and overcome those very few flaws for an otherwise thoroughly professional sound. For those who like pops orchestra concerts, Richard Hayman's arrangements, conducted by the arranger himself, are above average.

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