CD Broadway Through the Gramophone, Vol. 1 (CD 949896),
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Broadway Through the Gramophone, Vol. 1

  • 0. DISC 1:
    1. Bohemian Girl, The
    2. Maritana
    3. Gifole-Girfola
    4. Chimes of Normandy, The
    5. Olivette
    6. Queens Lace Handkerchief, The
    7. Erminie
    8. Robin Hood
    9. Mascot, The
    10. Rob Roy
    11. Wizard of the Nile, The
    12. Serenade, The
    13. Belle of New York, The
    14. Runaway Girl, A
    15. Fortune Teller, The
    16. Singing Girl, The
    17. San Toy
    0. DISC 2:
    1. Florodora
    2. King Dodo
    3. Mocking Bird, The
    4. Sultan of Sulu, The
    5. Prince of Pilsen, The
    6. Babes in Toyland
    7. It Happened in Nordland
    8. Mlle. Modiste
    9. Red Mill, The
    10. Merry Widow, The
    11. Three Twins
    12. Algeria
    13. Havana
    14. Beauty Spot, The
    15. Candy Shop, The
    16. Broken Idol, A
    17. Dollar Princess, The
    18. Chocolate Soldier, The
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 0082

  • Credits

    The Broadway cast album was a concept that didn't catch on with record labels until the 1940s, but musicals served as a source for popular recordings long before that, and one precursor of cast recordings was a series of medleys of show scores performed by all-star (but anonymous) studio groups. Victor Records was the leader in this genre, which flourished from 1909, when the company introduced it, to the early '30s. The Victor Light Opera Company featured major stars of the day, such as Billy Murray and Ada Jones, singing the choruses of several of the major songs from a show, with the results released on a single as "Gems From the Merry Widow," or whatever the show was. And the records were popular: Chart researcher Joel Whitburn's book of chart reconstructions, Pop Memories, lists 24 "Gems from" chart singles for the Victor Light Opera Company between 1909 and 1925. Naturally, other labels followed suit. This CD reissue, the first of four volumes, presents 35 of the medleys, putting them in chronological order by show. The labels quickly ran out of current musicals to summarize and began looking back in history. The opening track here presents excerpts from six songs from the 1844 show The Bohemian Girl, recorded in 1923 by the Brunswick Light Opera Company, and the set doesn't get to 1909 musicals until its last six selections. The result is a previously unheard history of musicals in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, clearly tracing a development from European operetta to more contemporary American styles. The advent of Victor Herbert with The Wizard of the Nile in 1895 is crucial. Sound quality on these transfers from records originally released between 1909 and 1924 is not great, of course, but the chance to hear this rare music is. ~ William Ruhlmann

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