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March 7, 2003

A generous sampling of new releases and a quik nod to Mae West.

Selection Source Performer(s) Comments
That's All, Brother W.C. Fields and Mae West (1967) Mae West, unidentified combo City Players closes their production of Claudia Shear's homage to Mae West, Dirty Blonde, this weekend. This recording of a song that deals satirically with West's legendary run-ins with prudes and censors comes from a 1967 Proscenium label LP. The actual recording date is unknown; if anyone has any information on it, please send me an e-mail.
Another Bleeding Heart The Life of David Gale (OS 2003) Alex Parker The eclectic soundtrack for this film is by Jake Parker and Alex Parker; it runs the gamut from lush orchestral to driving rock. Despite the presence of high-profile stars such as Kevin Spacey and Kate Winslett, the film has not done particularly well at the box office or with critics.
Othello Something Here: The Film and Television Music of Debbie Wiseman (2003) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Debbie Wiseman Wiseman is a young British film composer with many British films, TV shows, and TV movies to her credit but is largely unknown in the USA. This cut comes from her score for a 2001 TV film adaptation of the Shakespeare play that updates it to contemporary London and changes Othello to Police Commissioner John Othello.
A Walking Song At Dawn in Rivendell (2003) Peter Hall and The Tolkien Ensemble The music for this release is composed by Hall and Caspar Reiff; lyrics are taken from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Christopher Lee appears as narrator and even sings (sort of) on one cut. Tolkien fans will definitely want to check this out. The songs are very much in an appropriately British folk vein and are true to the spirit of the novel.
The Ballad of Marie Sanders But One Day...(2003) Ute Lemper and the Matrix Ensemble The song is by Bertolt Brecht and Hans Eisler. An outspoken socialist, Eisler found his music quickly banned when the Nazis came to power; it's only recently being rediscovered. This CD includes songs by Weill and Jaques Brel as well as several original compositions by Lemper. Performances are first-rate (if a bit idiosyncratic), but the material is pretty relentlessly gloomy; defnintely not a CD for a long rainy afternoon.
Come Back to Me The Alan Jay Lerner Album (2002) Brent Barrett, orchestra conducted by Christopher Denny Baritone Barrett is a hot property on Broadway these days, having just stepped into the lead of the long-running revival of Kiss Me, Kate. This CD is a nice mix of old standards (like this favorite of night club singers, from On a Clear Day You Can See Forever) and obscure gems from shows like Coco, Dance a Little Closer, and Lolita, My Love.
Any Place I Hang My Hat is Home St. Louis Woman (City Center Encores Cast 1998) (2003 re-issue) Vanessa L. Williams, Company This 1946 Harold Arlen - Johnny Mercer show was plagued with bad luck (and a problematic book) from the beginning. It held out for only 113 performances on Broadway and has rarely been seen since.

Acronyms and other mysteries defined:

OC: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Cast recording of a Broadway show, along with the date.

OS: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Soundtrack recording of a film, TV show, etc.

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