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American Originals - Incl. My Old Kentucky Home, O Susannah, Camptown Races, Aura Lee, Slumber My Darling, and Beautiful Dreamer / Rosanne Cash; Aoife O'Donovan; Dom Flemons; Joe Henry (rec. live at Music Hall)

Album Summary

>Foster, Stephen : Oh! Susanna
>Foster, Stephen : Jeannie with the light brown hair
>Foster, Stephen : My old Kentucky home, good night
>Traditional, American : New Britain (Amazing Grace) [The Sacred Harp] (Philadelphia)
>Boyer, Peter : Rolling River, Sketches on Shenandoah, for orchestra
>Foster, Stephen : Why No One to Love? for voice & piano
>Foster, Stephen : Swanee River
>Traditional, African : Kumbaya, folk song
>Foster, Stephen : Slumber My Darling, for voice & piano
>Poulton, George R. : Aura Lee
>Berens, Timothy : Foster's Folly, for orchestra
>Foster, Stephen : Ring de Banjo
>Traditional, American : Red River Valley
>Root, George Frederick : The Battle Cry of Freedom, for voice, chorus & keyboard
>Foster, Stephen : Beautiful dreamer
>Foster, Stephen : Hard times come again no more
>Foster, Stephen : Camptown races
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composers
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Notes & Reviews:

American Originals is the latest release from the Cincinnati Pops conducted by John Morris Russell and features iconic American songs interpreted by a diverse array of acclaimed musical collaborators including Rosanne Cash, Dom Flemons, Over the Rhine, Joe Henry, Aoife O'Donovan and the Comet Bluegrass All-Stars. The first-ever Cincinnati Pops album to be recorded live in concert, American Originals breathes new life into the first chapter of the Great American Songbook and the music of Stephen Foster. The 94th Cincinnati Pops album includes inspiring new renditions of "My Old Kentucky Home," "O Susannah," "Camptown Races," "Aura Lee," "Slumber My Darling," "Hard Times," and "Beautiful Dreamer," among other classic tunes. According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, "The fresh arrangements and unique talents who performed them set each in a new light."

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Music Hall, Cincinnati. OH (01/23/2015-01/25/2015).

The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra under John Morris Russell has come up with a genuinely original set of American Originals here, and if some parts of it work better than others, that should not diminish the scope of the accomplishment represented by the whole. The main innovation in this January 2015 live recording at Cincinnati's cavernous Music Hall (which yields just adequate sound here) is the presence of folk, bluegrass, and country musicians rather than the usual pop mega-stars who tend to deliver rather generic performances. The musicians here presumably share the orchestra's commitment to investigating the musical past, and the results, though a mixed bag, are unique. Songs of Stephen Foster predominate in the program, and perhaps the centerpiece are the two famous ones sung by Rosanne Cash, whose vocal resonances come very close to equaling those of her famous father. But the variety is equally appealing. The gravelly-voiced Joe Henry, a cousin of Madonna, seems to be one of the precious few performers who realizes that Oh, Susanna is a serious song, and the underrated Cincinnati folk-rock duo Over the Rhine, whose namesake is the location of the venerable Music Hall, offers an extraordinary Foster rarity, Why No One to Love? (track 6). The arrangers acquit themselves well in a few fantasy-like treatments. The treatments of banjo-flavored tunes by Dom Flemons, an African-American specialist in old-time music, are especially arresting, for Foster worked within, although he also subverted, the minstrel tradition that began the long process of the appropriation of black American music by whites. The rather generic vocals of folksinger Aoife O'Donovan and the rhythmically constrained massed bluegrass musicians on several tunes are less effective. But this is a very fresh entry in the rather moribund patriotic pops genre. ~ James Manheim



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Works Details

>Foster, Stephen : Oh! Susanna
  • Performer: Joe Henry (Voice)
  • Conductor: John Russell
  • Ensemble: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
  • Running Time: 3 min. 50 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 1847
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Foster, Stephen : Jeannie with the light brown hair
  • Performers: Karen Bergquist (Voice); Aoife O'Donovan (Voice)
  • Conductor: John Russell
  • Ensemble: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
  • Running Time: 4 min. 41 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1854
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Foster, Stephen : My old Kentucky home, good night
  • Performer: Rosanne Cash (Voice)
  • Conductor: John Russell
  • Ensemble: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
  • Running Time: 4 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Traditional, American : New Britain (Amazing Grace) [The Sacred Harp] (Philadelphia)
  • Performer: Aoife O'Donovan (Voice)
  • Conductor: John Russell
  • Ensemble: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
  • Running Time: 5 min. 4 sec.
  • Written: 1860
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Boyer, Peter : Rolling River, Sketches on Shenandoah, for orchestra
  • Conductor: John Russell
  • Ensemble: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
  • Running Time: 4 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Foster, Stephen : Why No One to Love? for voice & piano
  • Performers: Karen Bergquist (Voice); Linford Detweiler
  • Conductor: John Russell
  • Ensemble: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
  • Running Time: 4 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Foster, Stephen : Swanee River
  • Performers: Timothy Berens (Banjo); Dom Flemons (Banjo); Paul Patterson (Fiddle)
  • Conductor: John Russell
  • Ensemble: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
  • Running Time: 5 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 1851
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Traditional, African : Kumbaya, folk song
  • Performers: Richard Jensen (Djembe); Timothy Lees (Violin); Scott Mozlin (Violin); Gabriel Pegis (Violin); Katy Woolley (Violin)
  • Conductor: John Russell
  • Ensemble: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
  • Running Time: 3 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 19th Century
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Foster, Stephen : Slumber My Darling, for voice & piano
  • Performers: Aoife O'Donovan (Guitar); Aoife O'Donovan (Voice)
  • Conductor: John Russell
  • Ensemble: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
  • Running Time: 4 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1862
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Poulton, George R. : Aura Lee
  • Performers: Ed Cunningham (Double Bass); Joe Henry (Voice)
  • Conductor: John Russell
  • Ensemble: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
  • Running Time: 3 min. 31 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Berens, Timothy : Foster's Folly, for orchestra
  • Conductor: John Russell
  • Ensemble: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
  • Running Time: 4 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Foster, Stephen : Ring de Banjo
  • Performers: Ed Cunningham (Fiddle); Dom Flemons (Banjo); Dom Flemons (Percussion)
  • Conductor: John Russell
  • Ensemble: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
  • Running Time: 3 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Traditional, American : Red River Valley
  • Performer: Comet Bluegrass All-Stars (Voice)
  • Conductor: John Russell
  • Ensemble: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
  • Running Time: 4 min. sec.
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Root, George Frederick : The Battle Cry of Freedom, for voice, chorus & keyboard
  • Conductor: John Russell
  • Ensemble: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
  • Running Time: 3 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1862
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Foster, Stephen : Beautiful dreamer
  • Performer: Rosanne Cash (Voice)
  • Conductor: John Russell
  • Ensemble: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
  • Running Time: 3 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 1862
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Foster, Stephen : Hard times come again no more
  • Performers: Karen Bergquist (Voice); Linford Detweiler (Guitar)
  • Conductor: John Russell
  • Ensemble: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
  • Running Time: 4 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1854
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Foster, Stephen : Camptown races
  • Performers: Rosanne Cash (Voice); Comet Bluegrass All-Stars (Voice); Dom Flemons (Banjo); Joe Henry (Voice); Aoife O'Donovan (Voice); Over The Rhine (Voice)
  • Conductor: John Russell
  • Ensemble: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
  • Running Time: 4 min. 45 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 1850
  • Studio/Live: Live