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Candide

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  • #110597
    unknown-user
    Participant

    I have been listening to a CD of Bernstein’s work and have become entranced with the vocal selections from Candide (I had played the overture years ago and was also wild about that). When I went to buy a CD I found countless versions and editions, then ran across a terrific online article about the complexity of the work’s composition and numerous editions.

    I know this is sort of out of topic, but has anyone played a great performance or recording session of Candide who might want to express an opinion? I was impressed with how vehement some of the critiques I saw were. Thanks!

    #110598
    David Ice
    Participant

    Hi Ann,

    I haven’t played it or recorded it, but I did work on the local production of it about 18 years ago.

    #110599
    carl-swanson
    Participant

    I love Candide. Or more to the point, the music. The original book, really an essay by Voltaire, was a poor source to turn into a musical, and Bernstein spent the rest of his life trying to make it work. But the music is wonderful. My favorite recording remains the original cast recording with a young Barbara Cook sailing into the stratosphere on ‘Glitter and be Gay.’

    #110600
    unknown-user
    Participant

    I’m thinking of the first “original” as a baseline, and I love and always have loved Barbara Cook, but choosing a second isn’t as easy. I love “Make Our Garden Grow” and at least two of the newer versions didn’t include it. There’s also some version in which the lyrics of “Best of All Possible Worlds” are completely changed from the original. I like the first version.

    If you’re interested, there’s a great website with a collection of contemporary comments when the first version was produced. URL is “geocities.com/bernsteincandide Berstein’s Candide”. Lillian Hellman was as miserable with the production as critics were with what she was writing. A bad mix from the start judging by

    #110601
    David Ice
    Participant

    The show I heard had no harp part–BUT I have played an orchestral “concert version” of “Glitter and Be Gay” that did have a very exposed (and man oh man, was it pedal-ly!!) harp part.

    #110602
    unknown-user
    Participant

    I have seen several productions, and it seems the first was the best-Minnesota Opera-quite witty, and based on the Chelsea Theater Center production which starred Barbara Cook, I believe. All the subsequent reworkings seem to have diminished it. The original book was the most satirical, I believe.

    #110603
    unknown-user
    Participant

    Lillian Hellman version was the first. I wish I had the money to buy ALL of them. I think it’s Berstein theater music at it’s best- some think it’s Bernstein in general at his best but I’m not familiar enough with some of the more scholarly works to venture an opinion on that.

    I have 2 CD’s coming, the first original (1956) and another of the several that was conducted by Berstein himself. As far as I can find out, Barbara Cook appeared in the very first production and no other, but I could be wrong on that. Gotta find a chronological list with details somewhere….

    Saul, to highjack my own thread- did you notice that there are three Salzedos on the classified page? No old ones though.

    #110604
    unknown-user
    Participant

    I’m pretty sure Cook and Rounseville both did the original Broadway production and the Chelsea revival in 1972, which is on lp. I don’t know if there’s any video or anything of the Minnesota Opera production. It would be worth asking. Lynne Aspnes played harp for it as I recall.

    I believe one of the revisions was making the governor a tenor instead of baritone, which meant that all the male roles were tenors, which made it much more boring.

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