Rogers & Hammerstein - Carousel (1945), Allegro (1947)
Original Broadway Casts Naxos Musicals 8.120780
As forerunners of their later great works ‘South Pacific’ & ‘Oklahoma’ which I consider to be the benchmarks for all musicals to aspire to, Carousel puts Rogers and Hammerstein pretty well on the way to those dizzy heights. It always helps when the overture is a great tune in its own right and the ‘Carousel Walltz’ is just that. Unlike the later Blockbuster Hit Shows, not every song is a classic but with such numbers as ‘If I Loved You,’ ‘June is Bustin’ Out All Over,’ ‘When the Children are Asleep’ and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ there’s a good percentage of bulls-eyes here. My only criticism is that in 1945 the singing style had not yet adopted the free and easy presentation that became commonplace in the next few years. So voices sound a bit forced in places, which is apt to grate – this is more noticeable with the leading singers, who seem to worry about correct diction, rather than the chorus, which is more relaxed. But, despite this, the high quality songs make Carousel a worthwhile addition to one’s collection of music from the shows.
Sadly Allegro has not stood the test of time quite so well. The songs are generally much weaker and thus, probably deservedly, long forgotten. The only one I previously knew was ‘The Gentleman is a Dope’ – and this only slightly.
So only half a hit here as far as I’m concerned, but still worth owning as Naxos value outweighs the downside when compared with the other sources of the better songs.