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The next release up for review from the ever-busy Broadway Records is a bit of a curiosity. As you probably know, I’m all for the strange and off-road releases, and especially from new composers. With a particular gift for compositions that fuse genres with his own unique perspective, the dynamic composer’s debut CD, The Wild & Whimsical Worlds of David Mallamud, brings the listener through a fanciful tour of time and place. Stops include a visit to Parisian music hall culture, ‘80s Glam Metal, Victorian parlor songs, salsa-drenched Latin daytime telenovelas, Irish-inspired sea shanties, and just about everything in between.
Sweetening the musical pot is the addition of some of today’s greatest Broadway voices: Sierra Boggess, Amick Byram, Janet Dacal, Morgan James, Constantine Maroulis, Christiane Noll, Brian Charles Rooney, plus Irish singer Cathie Ryan (Cherish the Ladies) and Dan Webb (Rant & Roar) in collaboration with the Albany Symphony’s rock-chamber ensemble, Dogs of Desire conducted by David Alan Miller. Also featured are guests Eric Rigler on uilleann pipes (films Braveheart and Titanic) and guitarist Joel Hoekstra (Rock of Ages, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Whitesnake).
Mallamud considers this album - produced by the acclaimed Kim Scharnberg, and Grammy winners Joel Moss and David Alan Miller - the best of a decade of work written for Dogs of Desire. I’ve long been a fan of Kim’s work, right back to the early days of Jekyll & Hyde, and there’s no finer demonstration of his skill than here. David Mallamud’s creative fluidity spans diverse worlds from Off-Broadway musicals to ballet to concert music performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Centre.
This is almost a suite-esque recording. Each of the genres mentioned is very focused, and there’s no confusing which ‘section’ you’re in! Several things are constant however - the skill of the writing and the way that the orchestrations keep the writing honest to the genre. The parlour songs sound as though they were written in the late 19th or early 20th Century, both through thoughtful writing from Mallamud, and also through the brilliance of the orchestrations.
For me, the Irish songs and the finale ‘Fallen Angel’ tracks were the most pleasing for me, but this is an album that will amuse and delight many.