This is a well chosen selection of popular songs and instrumental pieces from Broadway shows and Hollywood films.
Though many of the selections are from arrangements, they are all stylishly written for piano. It would be helpful to know if the ones without an arranger listed are by Richard Glazier. He is a highly accomplished pianist who has championed the music of George Gershwin and other songwriters as well.
As described by Richard Glazier in his booklet notes, the opening track from AUNTIE MAME (1958) is a "joyous overture." That it is, indeed.
The most unusual of all the selections are two themes (tracks 2-3) from one of Bernard Herrmann's greatest film scores, VERTIGO (1958), No. 3 on my list of 100 essential film scores of the 20th century. The evocative Main Theme is beautifully performed and very much akin to the orchestral version in the film. The same is true for "Scene D'Amour" in a marvelous arrangement by Samuel Sorensen. Both arrangements deserve to be heard more often.
As far as the other selections, they are all enjoyable though some more than others. The arrangements by Johnny Morris, Bill Charlap, and Dick Hyman seem to come off the best.
Among the others I also enjoyed are:
D. Savino's piano reduction of Alfred Newman's evocative music for STREET SCENE, first used in a 1931 film with the same title, and used again as an overture to show up the new Stereophonic sound in the first released CinemaScope film, HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE (1953).
Also, the lovely theme from AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER with music by the great Harry Warren in an arrangement by Mercuzio (no first name?).
I don't think that the two Hugh Martin/Ralph Blane settings (tracks 11-12) were as successful for piano solo, but they are still pleasant to listen to.
The same is true for "Where or When" (track 14) in Trude Rittman's arrangement which I found too classically oriented. Mr Glazier admits this in his notes: "A classically trained pianist, Rittman was born in Mannheim, Germany. In this arrangement you can hear Brahms." I would rather hear more like Richard Rodgers.
The last track features a terrific setting by the marvelous pianist and delightfully witty actor, Oscar Levant, who could toss off sarcastic lines about himself and others with great ease. His arrangement of Aram Khachaturian's popular classical theme, "Sabre Dance," was originally arranged for piano and orchestra in THE BARKLEYS OF BROADWAY (1949). That same year, Levant made an arrangement for piano solo, which Glazier plays with appropriately great gusto. It makes a wonderful conclusion to this album.
There is the added attraction of a delightful cover picture by the great illustrator, Al Hirshfeld. Not all the songwriters in this picture are on this album but many are and it is worth framing by itself. The booklet notes are also very informative and worth reading.
Richard Glazier plays all the music in grand fashion, reflecting and remembering the glory days of memorable show tunes and film musicals.
This CD is a most enjoyable hour of music from Broadway to Hollywood.
For more about his piano concerts, CDs and DVDs, see his website:
-- Review by Roger Hall, 19 May 2014
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