Forty years ago, on Thursday evening, November 1, 1923, American popular
music came to the concert hall for the first time when Eva Gauthier gave
a recital in New York's Aeolian Hall.
Besides singing her repertoire of Bellini, Byrd, Bartok, Hindemith, Schoenberg
and other expected composers, she included a group of six American songs,
beginning with Berlin's "Alexander's Ragtime Band" and concluding
with Gershwin & Caesar's "Swanee." George Gershwin was Miss
Gauthier's accompanist for that section of the program. Reviewing the
performance the next morning, Deems Taylor wrote:
"The audience was as much fun to watch as the songs were to hear,
for it began by being just a trifle patronizing and ended by surrendering
completely to the alluring rhythms of our own folk music."
Since the night of the Gauthier recital, some American popular music
- especially that written for the stage - has slowly become part of the
concert repertoire. What is the difference between performing a show ballad
on the Broadway stage and performing it in a concert auditorium? Considerable.
No better illustration could be found than this album. The voice of Frank
Sinatra, the arrangements of Nelson Riddle, the selection of material
- all these we think we know. Even the combination of these elements contains
no surprises. Or so we think. And then we listen and we hear a new Sinatra,
set to some of the purest arrangements we have ever heard. And suddenly
eight well-known songs become not well-known at all. The frisson
of discovery, the chilling thrill, the impulse felt along the heart, the
revolutionary moment of seeing the familiar in an unfamiliar way that
Coleridge called the imaginative experience - the achievement of all that
is the aim of the concert artist. His is the world of art for art's sake.
A Concert Sinatra presents the best-known voice of our time in a new achievement
of artistic purity and control, while Nelson Riddle's expansive arrangements
are a reduction to that paradoxical amalgam of strength and delicacy,
always subordinate to, and in support of, Sinatra's voice.
Lawrence D. Stewart
I Have Dreamed
My Heart Stood Still
Lost In The Stars
Ol' Man River
You'll Never Walk Alone
This Nearly Was Mine
Concert Sinatra from Amazon.co.uk.