Album Remarks & Appraisals:
BBC Music Magazine
John McGlinn's insistence on using the original orchestrations make this a hugely satisfying CD.
Music and lyrics written by Cole Porter.
This 1988 recording of the original 1934 score of ANYTHING GOES includes all the original songs as they were first performed at New York's Alvin Theatre on November 21, 1934. Original orchestrations conducted by John McGlinn.
Principal cast includes: Kim Criswell (reno Sweeney); Chris Groenendaal (Billy Crocker); Frederica Von Stade (Hope Harcourt); Jack Gilford (Moonface Martin).
Recorded at CTS Studios, Wembley, England in 1988. Includes liner notes by Miles Kreuger, Roger Kimball and John McGlinn.
Tributee: Cole Porter.
Liner Note Author: Martin Cotton.
Recording information: CTS Studios, Wembley, Middelesex (08/17/1988-08/19/1988).
Editor: Morris Miller.
Arranger: Russell Warner.
According to theater historian Miles Kreuger, one of three annotators of this 1988 studio cast recording of Cole Porter's Anything Goes, the show "has proved to be the most frequently revived musical of the 1930s and is performed almost daily by professional and amateur groups alike." Even so, it was relatively unperformed in major venues and rarely recorded until 1987, when a revised version opened on Broadway and became a hit. That production boasted both a new libretto and an altered score that interpolated songs from other Porter works. The whole point of this recording is to do the opposite, to present Anything Goes as it would have been heard in its original production, with the songs originally written for it in the original orchestrations where possible, restored where necessary. John McGlinn, another annotator, who also served as the recording's conductor, explains that many of the orchestrations were lost and that he labored with one of the orchestrators, Hans Spialek, then in his late 80s, to re-create them. This is the recording's chief selling point: it is a work of aural scholarship and, with a 144-page booklet, its notes presented in English, German, and French, and also a work of considerable research. All of that is impressive. But no attention at all is given in that lengthy booklet to the recording itself, which employs a cast of opera and operetta singers who, for the most part, lack the liveliness necessary to put across a frothy musical like this. Frederica Von Stade, as the ingénue Hope Harcourt, is especially stilted, while Cris Groenendaal, as the male romantic lead Billy Crocker, has none of the friskiness and charm the part calls for. Thank God, then, for Kim Criswell, who digs into the starring role of evangelist-turned-nightclub singer Reno Sweeney as if she were channeling its creator, Ethel Merman, but also with her own spunkiness, and saves the proceedings during the many songs in which she appears. And a second thanks must go for comic actor Jack Gilford as Moonface Martin (Public Enemy Number 13), who also adds some humor to what is supposed to be a musical comedy. Still, on the whole, this is a recording more valuable in theory than in practice, with a booklet that's more enjoyable than the disc it accompanies. ~ William Ruhlmann
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