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Plays Rodgers & Hammerstein

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 20, 1996
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 20, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B000005J49
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #269,273 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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1 star
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Fred is marvelous (as usual) on this recording. His unique treatment of these old standards -- including his clever use of harmony, and surprising command of improvisatory counterpoint -- makes them all the more beautiful, and breathes new life into them. I could not recommend this recording more highly. It's an absolute favorite of mine.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Yes, this is a 'jazz' approach to Rodgers & Hammerstein, but that's what makes it interesting, even exciting to me. These songs have sometimes eluded jazz players' but although he's very 'true' to the melodies, Hersch does indeed catch interesting nuances in the harmonies. And the variations, while subtle, show simultaneously just how simple and complex this music really is, and I think why it has remained so appealing. Okay it's quiet, but one of the
best 'improvising' approaches to Rodgers and Hammerstein I've heard.
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Format: MP3 Music
Richard Rodgers was notoriously unhappy with jazz takes on his music (unlike, say, Cole Porter or -- let us assume -- George Gershwin). Especially in the second act of his career, with Oscar Hammerstein, he wanted the songs/shows to be performed as written. Exactly. That didn't stop jazz masters from using Rodgers' incomparable harmonies as launching pads for personal interpretations.

But in general, those interpretations were of Rodger's music with Larry Hart (Act One of his career). There are exceptions of course, perhaps the most notable being Coltrane's explosion of "My Favorite Things." Maybe because the Hart vocals lend themselves so much better to a nightclub environment, the lyrics-by-Hammerstein songs are more often seen as the provenance of pop singers and pop arrangers.

This CD ignores that trend. The always adventuresome Fred Hersch takes apart well known R&H classics and examines them with his own eye. That means a joyful, jumping piano, and a wide-eyed ride through familiar territory. A great CD to throw on anytime.
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Format: Audio CD
I'll never forget the first time I heard the incredible Ahmad Jamal collection "The legendary OKEH & Epic Recordings" -- the opening tune on the CD is "Surrey with the Fringe on Top" - which Jamal plays in his incredible crisp, light, and almost un-pedaled style. I said to myself "that interpretation will never be topped..." Well, Fred has outdone himself, again, with his heartfelt and sensitive interpretation of this, and other R&H standards; who, by the way, should (perhaps arguably) be ranked with the Gershwins, with Rogers & Hart, and Lennon-McCartney as the consummate types of music-lyric composing partnerships. Fred never disappoints with his interpretations. I couldn't agree more with the New Yorker magazine's impression of his playing: "specializes in high lyricism and high danger".... Those of you who love Rodgers & Hammerstein in a solo piano setting will be elated with this recording. And incidentally, I agree with the comments to the 1-star rating of this recording. It is not fair, since the buyer had not her homework on understanding the setting of the performance.
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Format: Audio CD
Sorry, but I was truly disappointed in what I expected to be the grand orchestra style of Rodgers & Hammerstein. What I got was a jazzed up version done by a piano and no other instrument. It truly sounded like I was in a hotel bar. While some may enjoy this style of music, I was looking for the old fashioned type of Rodgers & Hammerstein; you know, with violins, cellos, trumpets, drums, etc...the whole grand experience that fills your heart with joy.
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