Bernstein's Peter Pan revived on disc(November 2005)
Bernstein's Peter Pan revived on disc
Leonard Bernstein’s largely forgotten score for a 1950 musical version of J M Barrie’s classic Peter Pan has enjoyed a welcome revival following the release of a new Koch recording featuring Broadway star Linda Eder and baritone Daniel Narducci (KIC CD 7596).
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The acclaimed disc is the result of a seven-year research project to reconstruct the songs and incidental music in their original sequence, led by conductor Alexander Frey in collaboration with the Bernstein Office and the Library of Congress.
Peter Pan was first envisaged as a musical, and Bernstein was commissioned to write the score following his Broadway success with On The Town. However, following the casting of screen legends Jean Arthur and Boris Karloff, who were somewhat challenged in their musical abilities, it was decided to downplay the vocal element. In the version that reached the stage on Broadway, only four of Bernstein’s songs remained. Thanks to the new disc, Bernstein’s original concept can be heard for the first time in half a century, filling a major gap in his oeuvre.
"As a precursor to his landmark shows Candide and West Side Story, Peter Pan will provide endless listening pleasure for folks eager to hear earlier versions of many of his trademark melodic and harmonic twists…This album is not just about the songs. The incidental music is also bewitching. Flight and skirmishes are expertly evoked, and the thematic developments are nifty. "
"So here it is, all of it for the first time…Wendy’s Dream with Me, heard here in a most gorgeous Sid Ramin orchestration; a Pirate Song handed down from Penzance; a soliloquy for Hook that could be a homage to Britten’s Billy Budd; and there’s pure Lenny – Build My Home, a tune which is Make Our Garden Grow in embryo, and the exquisite Who am I? – at once wistful and inquisitive and sweetly sung by Linda Eder."
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