Tuesday, June 28, 2011

This showed up in my inbox today.  Masterworks Broadway has been releasing a lot of material that disappeared from the catalogs when everything went digital many years ago.  Here's the latest set, including some very obscure goodies.  It's interesting that arkivmusic.com in involved as they are primarily a classical music label (they're owned by Steinway - not to be confused, apparently, with Deutsche Grammophon's Archiv Produktion label).



Three Forgotten Gems Available For The First Time As Disc-On-Demand and Digital Download

More Original Master Recordings Make Their Digital Premiere 

MASTERWORKS BROADWAY, recently praised by the Wall Street Journal for its ongoing reissue campaign, continues to make good on its promise to open its vaults with three classic cast recordings previously unavailable in the CD era. The Saint of Bleecker Street (1955 Original Broadway Cast), Half-Past Wednesday (1962 Off-Broadway Cast) and Divine Hair/Mass in F (1971) will be available as downloads through all major digital service providers and as disc-on-demand, with the original cover art and liner notes, via Arkivmusic.com and Amazon.com.  Also coming this summer are ten recordings available digitally for the first time utilizing the approved master tapes, including Say, Darling, and two live recordings from Noël Coward.  All releases will be accompanied by new album pages and photos on MasterworksBroadway.com.

The July 19 reissue of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Saint of Bleecker Street by composer/librettist Gian Carlo Menotti (Amahl and the Night Visitors) is one of only two operas ever to win the “Best Musical” citation of the New York Drama Critics Circle.  Sung in English, this powerfully original, melodic musical drama is set in New York’s Little Italy.  It is about a young girl who suffers the stigmata and hears voices, and her brother – an atheist who seeks a more conventional answer to her problems - who can do nothing to keep his neighbors from believing his sister is a saint. Featuring riveting performances from soprano Gabriele Ruggiero and tenor David Poleri, this forgotten gem was recorded under Menotti’s supervision, and conducted by Thomas Schippers, who won a Tony Award for his work.

Half-Past Wednesday, the Off-Broadway musical from 1962, is a true curiosity from the vault.  A modern take on the classic fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin, it starred Dom DeLuise, who was hailed by The New York Times as “a comic genius,” for his performance as the King.  In a 2009 interview, the late DeLuise recognized this show as the catalyst for finding his first agent.  Featuring music by Robert Colby and lyrics by Robert Colby and Nita Jonas, Half-Past Wednesday was re-titled Rumpelstiltskin, for the recording, which will be available August 23.

In April of 1971, as Hair was celebrating the show’s third anniversary on Broadway, the Bishop of New York invited Hair to participate in a celebration of the Holy Eucharist with a Mass performed in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.  The Mass included selections from the Broadway musical as well as a new work by its composer Galt MacDermot titled Mass in F.  It was performed by The Choir of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, St. Martin’s Choir, St. Mary’s Choir, Delores Hall, J. Faulton Hodge, Jack W. Jones, Reverend Richard R. Kirk, Reverend Richard Ragni, Reverend Howard Stone & the Broadway Cast of Hair.  Divine Hair/Mass in F, available September 20, is the live recording of that extraordinary event.

Beginning August 9, MASTERWORKS BROADWAY will also release authorized master recordings as digital downloads for the first time:

August 9 – Original Broadway Cast Recording of Say, Darling plus Original Off-Broadway Cast Recordings of The Mad Show, Ernest in Love, Now Is the Time for All Good Men, The Nervous Set and the studio concept album of archy and mehitabel: a back-alley opera (later retitled Shinbone Alley for Broadway).

September 20 – Original Off-Broadway Cast Recording of By Jupiter, Original Cast Recording of Paris ’90 plus Noël Coward at Las Vegas and Noël Coward in New York

Masterworks Broadway is a label of Sony Masterworks.  For email updates and information on Masterworks Broadway please visit www.masterworksbroadway.com.

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