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Praised by composer John Williams as ‘one of the great American masters of light orchestral music’, Leroy Anderson was a meticulous craftsman, a composer and arranger of many popular tunes that, once heard, are never forgotten.
Volume 5 in Naxos’s complete edition of his orchestral works presents highlights from his charming 1958 musical Goldilocks, which ran for 161 performances on Broadway and won two Tony awards. His Suite of Carols for Woodwind Ensemble, written three years earlier, includes both well known and less familiar Christmas tunes, each given the magical Anderson touch.
This is the final volume in the Anderson orchestral music series and includes some world premiere recordings.
Leroy Anderson: Goldilocks (excerpts)
Overture (original version, orchestrated by D. Ross)
Save a Kiss
The Pussy Foot
Who's Been Sitting in My Chair?
Lady in Waiting, Ballet
Shall I Take My Heart and Go?
The Town House Maxixe
I Never Know When
Leroy Anderson: Suite of Carols (version for woodwinds)
I. Angels in our Fields
II. O Sanctissima
III. O come, O come Emmanuel, O come
IV. Little Children
V. Coventry Carol
Lady in Waiting, Waltz
Shall I Take My Heart (instrumental)
“We have here a good proportion of Goldilocks… Kim Criswell and William Dazeley do the vocal items justice… and… Leonard Slatkin and the BBC Concert Orchestra provide performances full of panache which are absolutely in the authentic Anderson orchestral style.”
“Criswell is joined by baritone William Dazeley, the two of them proving fine exponents of some appealing material. Slatkin and the BBC players do sterling work throughout, including in the filler suite of well-known Christmas carols, scored for woodwind only.”
“On Volume 4 of this Naxos series, only the delightful Summer Skies falls into the familiar format of Anderson orchestral miniature. The rest constitutes arrangements, including Anderson's exquisitely wrought orchestration of MacDowell's To a Wild Rose. If the inclusion of vocal arrangements of Blue Tango, ForgottenDreams and Belle of the Ball in a collection of orchestral works seems strange, few will object to the chance to hear Tin Pan Alley's attempts to capitalise on Anderson's successes. The Irish Suite (the main item on this disc) – a clever compilation of Irish folk tunes – has already been recorded by Fiedler, Anderson himself (four movements only) and Fennell, and is done here with no less grace, charm and excitement. On the back of its success, Anderson conceived his Scottish Suite, but he completed only four of the planned six movements, recorded only two, and then withdrew the suite altogether. Though overall nowhere near as clever a piece as its predecessor, it's good to have the whole included here; 'Turn ye to me' is especially beautifully done. Previous volumes in this series have included suites of carols; however, the arrangement of less devotional melodies within the Christmas overture heard here seems to me much the most attractive of such seasonal offerings. Another of Anderson's Christmas selections (this time for woodwind) appears on Volume 5, a CD that's otherwise given over wholly to music from the only Anderson theatre score ever to reach Broadway. We have here a good proportion of Goldilocks (a misleading title, for the show is about a quarrelling actress and a millionaire who eventually acknowledge their love), though it's by no means as comprehensive as the original Broadway cast version. It's not made clear why – in a less than overfilled CD – the selection is so restricted. In fact, it's less a representation of the show per se than a concert suite – an ad hoc compilation of show extracts and Anderson's own concert arrangements. Thus it offers something different for those who know the show as much as for those who don't. Kim Criswell and William Dazeley do the vocal items justice, and as ever Leonard Slatkin and the BBC Concert Orchestra provide performances full of panache which are absolutely in the authentic Anderson orchestral style. Those who have followed the series so far will find these successors no less superbly performed, recorded and annotated.”