The John Wilson Orchestra

Rodgers & Hammerstein at the Movies

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Conductor and arranger John Wilson has carved out a niche in the area of film music, reviving the scores from classic films and reconstructing lost material where possible. This 2012 recording of selections from the movie musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein is a sincere tribute to the legendary team that wrote Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music. The program offers popular numbers that Wilson has in most instances edited, and in the case of The Carousel Waltz, If I Loved You, Bali Ha'i, the Overture to The King and I, and the Main Title and Preludium from The Sound of Music, reconstructed, usually in league with Andrew Cottee. Because these films are still readily available, it's shocking to learn that the scores and parts that were used in recording the soundtracks seldom exist any longer, and that performing versions must be painstakingly reconstructed, sometimes from conductors' short scores or even from extant recordings. Wilson and his eponymous orchestra play the music with a buoyant energy and vitality that go beyond mere preservation or slavish re-creation, and the spontaneous performances by seasoned stars Julian Ovenden, Sierra Boggess, Joyce DiDonato, Anna-Jane Casey, Marla Ewing, and the Maida Vale Singers give the music striking personalities that are distinct from the originals. EMI's reproduction is bright and vivid, so there is a feeling of living presence that makes the album a joy to hear.

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