Candide – Overture; On the Waterfront – Symphonic Suite; Fancy Free; West Side Story – Symphonic Dances; Dance Episodes from On the Town – ‘Lonely Town’; ‘The Great Lover’
Hannover Philharmonic/Iain Sutherland
SOMM Recordings ARIADNE 5002 75:20 mins
As we continue this centenary celebration year, it seems no stone has gone unturned when it comes to labels seeking out hitherto unheard recordings of Leonard Bernstein’s music. One of the latest is Somm Recordings, which brings us this previously unreleased live recording from 1993. Performed by the Hannover Philharmonic under the accomplished baton of Iain Sutherland, this selection – titled Broadway to Hollywood – is very much entry-level Bernstein and contains some of this listener’s very favourite pieces by the composer. Orchestral snapshots from Candide, Fancy Free, West Side Story and On The Town are all present and correct, plus there’s the welcome, and weighty, addition of the Symphonic Suite from On The Waterfront.
At times the Hannover Philharmonic’s performance, technically proficient as it is, feels a little more like a run through than a concert. Candide’s Overture just doesn’t pop as much as it should, and the West Side Story Symphonic Dances sometimes lack their characteristically energetic snap. None of this is helped by a 25-year-old recording that sounds decidedly muddy in places. Definitely a case of more hiss than fizz.