"R&H Songbook," Flower Drum Song and 1964 King and I Are Available for Digital Download

News   "R&H Songbook," Flower Drum Song and 1964 King and I Are Available for Digital Download
 
Masterworks Broadway is offering expanded versions of three albums of Rodgers and Hammerstein's work in special digital-only editions. Bonus tracks are attached to the releases of the original cast album of Flower Drum Song, the 1964 Lincoln Center revival of The King and I and the compilation recording, "The Rodgers and Hammerstein Songbook."

These digital download versions will also be made available in CD format, with each album's original cover art and liner notes, from ArkivMusic.com.

Here's how Masterworks bills the releases:

Flower Drum Song
A distinctive, often-overlooked title in the R&H canon, Flower Drum Song (1958) perhaps made its most striking impression through its original Broadway cast recording, which introduced such songs as "I Enjoy Being a Girl," "Love, Look Away" and "A Hundred Million Miracles." That recording returns expanded with six long-unavailable bonus tracks, all "covers" of the show's top songs, all recorded while it was still a Broadway sensation. Two feature the show's star Pat Suzuki, singing "Love, Look Away" (which she did not sing in the show) and "Sunday." Three of the tracks showcase the young Florence Henderson — "Grant Avenue," "Like a God" and "I Enjoy Being a Girl." The other track, "Fan Tan Fanny," features Sandra Church, who was about to become part of a legend as the original Louise/Gypsy Rose Lee in Gypsy.

The King and I
The original cast recording of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I, on the Decca label, was recorded in mono in 1951, with cuts to the score. When Richard Rodgers agreed to serve as producing director of a musical-theatre company at the newly opened Lincoln Center in the mid-1960s, he seized the opportunity to see the show recorded in stereo with a more complete representation of the score of The King and I. This long-unavailable 1964 recording, with strikingly different interpretations of the leading roles by actor Darren McGavin and opera legend Risë Stevens, also features the glorious voices of Patricia Neway, Lee Venora and Frank Poretta. For this exclusive edition, five bonus tracks have been added. Three are from a studio recording of the score, made around the time of the show's Broadway premiere — an all-star event for 1951, featuring pop diva Dinah Shore ("I Whistle a Happy Tune") and opera star Robert Merrill ("A Puzzlement"), as well as duet version of "I Have Dreamed" with operatic soprano Patrice Munsel and pop star Tony Martin. Two-time Tony winner Richard Kiley is also heard in studio recordings of "Getting to Know You" and "Hello, Young Lovers."

"The Rodgers and Hammerstein Songbook"
Originally compiled in 1993 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Rodgers and Hammerstein collaboration, "The Rodgers and Hammerstein Songbook" has been a best-selling title on the Sony Classical label ever since — an essential collection of the team's greatest songs. This expanded edition is an even more complete representation of "the essential Rodgers and Hammerstein." It takes advantage of Masterworks Broadway's newly comprehensive catalogue, which now includes the original cast recordings of Allegro and Me and Juliet, as well as definitive revivals of Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music. All are sampled here, along with the original cast recordings of South Pacific, Cinderella, Flower Drum Song and The Sound of Music. RCA Red Seal, Sony Classical, deutsche harmonia mundi, Masterworks Broadway and Masterworks Jazz are labels of Sony Masterworks. For e-mail updates and information regarding RCA Red Seal, Sony Classical, RCA deutsche harmonia mundi, Masterworks Broadway and Masterworks Jazz artists, promotions, tours and repertoire, visit www.sonymasterworks.com.

ArkivMusic is an online retailer of classical music focused on "offering a vast selection of classical titles through an intuitive interface and a decentralized distribution platform." Since opening its online store in February 2002, ArkivMusic has built the largest selection of classical music recordings in the U.S..

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