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Music Review


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Spoon River Anthology (1963)

 

Music: Naomi Caryl Hirshhorn and Hal Lynch
Lyrics: Edgar Lee Masters
Adapted by: Charles Aidman
Performed by: Betty Garrett, Robert Elston, Joyce Van Patten and Charles Aidman
Label: Masterworks Broadway
RRP: £12.99
G010003552747I
886445910926
Release Date: 11 November 2016


Charles Aidman adapted and starred in Spoon River Anthology, a play with music based on Edgar Lee Masters' renowned collection of short free-form poems. With music by Naomi Caryl Hirshhorn and Hal Lynch, Spoon River Anthology weaves the epitaphs of the residents of fictional small town Spoon River into a chilling history of turn-of-the century America. Also starring Betty Garrett, Joyce Van Patten and Robert Elston, the show opened at the Booth Theatre on 29 September 1963 and ran for 111 performances.

Again, this is a very different recording from your normal cast recording. One thing to say again is that the recording quality is excellent. I’ve been critical in the past of some of the Masterworks Broadway releases, but these really are top-notch restorations. Again, the music is iconic of where it’s set – this time in the American Midwest – and this is recreated perfectly. Another mix of almost ‘traditional sounding’ songs and spoken work and poetry (the majority of this recording is spoken, so beware if this isn’t your thing), this was a very refreshing recording to listen to.

I wasn’t aware of anything from this recording beforehand, and it’s perhaps one I’d not revisit very often, but it’s a welcome release none the less. I would have liked more music, as what is there is good, and perhaps slightly more variety and ‘oomph’ to the recording. Still, a deserved 6/10 from me, and a well done to Masterworks Broadway for producing another recording with such good sound quality.

6

Ian Gude

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