CD No Strings [Original Broadway Cast] [Original Broadway Cast] (CD 4359496),
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No Strings [Original Broadway Cast] [Original Broadway Cast]
Original Broadway Cast
1. Sweetest Sounds, The - Diahann Carroll/Richard Kiley
2. How Sad - Richard Kiley
3. Loads of Love - Diahann Carroll
4. Man Who Has Everything, The - Mitchell Gregg
5. Be My Host - Al Epstein/Don Chastain/Richard Kiley/Ann Hodges
6. La-La-La - Al Epstein/Noelle Adam
7. You Don't Tell Me - Diahann Carroll
8. Love Makes the World Go
9. Nobody Told Me - Diahann Carroll/Richard Kiley
10. Look No Further - Diahann Carroll/Richard Kiley
11. Maine - Diahann Carroll/Richard Kiley
12. Orthodox Fool, An - Diahann Carroll
13. Eager Beaver - Don Chastain
14. No Strings - Diahann Carroll/Richard Kiley
15. Finale: The Sweetest Sounds (Reprise) - Diahann Carroll/Richard Kiley
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): MCSR3019
Composer/Lyricist: Richard Rodgers.
On August 25, 1960, Oscar Hammerstein II died, leaving 58-year-old Broadway composer Richard Rodgers without a lyric partner for the second time in his career. (His first lyricist, Lorenz Hart, had died in 1943.) For the rest of the 1960s, Rodgers himself wrote the lyrics for his songs, the only exception being the 1965 Broadway musical Do I Hear a Waltz?, on which he collaborated with Stephen Sondheim. Rodgers first tried working alone when adding some new songs to a remake of the movie musical State Fair, but his first major solo songwriting effort was the stage musical No Strings, which opened on Broadway March 15, 1962. No Strings was an unusual work in other ways, too. For one thing, as its title suggested, the music was played by seven on-stage musicians on flute, clarinet, oboe, trumpet, trombone, drums, and bassoon, without any strings. For another, its plot, set in present-day France, concerned an interracial romance between an expatriate American novelist who was white and an American fashion model who was black. Beyond these aspects, however, librettist Samuel Taylor was concerned with criticizing the upper classes and their hangers-on in a story that jumped from Paris salons to wealthy watering holes like St. Tropez, and the lyrics to Rodgers' songs reflected that focus. His music, meanwhile, was meant to be contemporary, which, for him, meant that it had elements of big band jazz. He also seemed intent on declaring that the loss of Hammerstein did not mean the end of his creativity. "The sweetest sounds I'll ever hear are still inside my head," was the opening line of the first song heard in the show, "The Sweetest Sounds," and No Strings was received as the new beginning the composer/lyricist intended. With a strong cast led by Broadway veterans Richard Kiley (Kismet, Redhead) and Diahann Carroll (House of Flowers) the show earned respectable reviews and Tony Awards for Carroll and Rodgers' score. It also ran for 580 performances, and if that was not up there with a Rodgers & Hammerstein hit, it was enough to earn money. This cast album, originally released on Capitol Records, reached number five in the charts during a run of more than a year and won the Grammy Award for Best Original Cast Show Album, while "The Sweetest Sounds" was nominated for Song of the Year, an amazing accolade for a song that was not a hit. Really, though the score for No Strings is minor Rodgers. Without a lyricist to prod him, his music is rarely distinctive, and his own words, while certainly adequate, have none of Hart's biting wit or Hammerstein's plain-spoken poetry. No Strings went without a revival in the decades after its original production, and the album went out of print after a briefly available CD reissue on Angel Records in the early 1990s. In 2004, after the show was included in City Center's Encores! series of concert versions of forgotten musicals, DRG Records licensed the album from the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, to which its rights had reverted, and reissued it again on CD. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Must Close Saturday Records MCSR3019
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