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Cat. No. CHAN 10411 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10411 - Bennett: Words and Music
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Audio Sample

Available From: 01 January 2007
Among present-day musicians, there can be few more versatile than Sir Richard Rodney Bennett: composing for concerts and films, playing the piano in contemporary music and in jazz idioms as well as singing and playing classic show tunes in cabaret. In fact he ranks among the very best of the singer-pianists performing today and certainly earned his knighthood by the Queen for services to music.

Having regularly performed cabaret in the UK and US, normally accompanied by BBC Radio 3 Jazz Singer of the year, Claire Martin this is the first disc of his cabaret performances as a solo artist, performing his own arrangements. The songs are beautifully sung and played, and with the recordings intimate quality really allows the songs to breathe. This is an inventive and charming selection of material from the golden age of American popular song, in which the titles reflect the vast knowledge and influence on Richard Rodney Bennett.

Claire Martin wrote on Rodney Bennett: “He sings beautifully and he plays great piano, he has such a beautiful touch and really cool ideas. Plus he knows loads of great quirky songs…”

This CD is also released as MP3.

You wouldn’t exactly have expected to find Sir Michael Tippett recording a cabaret programme but Sir Richard Rodney Bennett with his long-time love of jazz, has never been content to play the conventional ‘great composer’. His light, husky voice and cool piano conjure up exactly the right late-night atmosphere, heavy with stale smoke, second-hand drink and occasional maudlin disillusion. Many of the songs here, such as the impish ‘Early to bed’, are his own, laid-back and wry, with wittily Wodehouseian lyrics. They sit easily alongside oldies like ‘It might as well be spring’ and Someone to watch over me’, delivered in his own deceptively casual manner; his haunting take on ‘Don’t sleep in the subway’ reveals depths unplumbed by Petula Clarke. After the elegiac ‘Goodbye for now’, the title track’s vision of Sloaney ladies straying into (one imagines) Ronnie Scott’s makes a malevolently funny coda to a highly enjoyable session.
BBC Music Magazine ‘Choice’

This Noel Cowardish poison-pen clerihew is absolutely irresistible and must be heard to be believed. In both departments of his musical activities, as composer or performer, Chandos has done Bennett proud. Further volumes in either series will be something to look forward to.

What was important was to acknowledge that the finely crafted marriage of words and music that flourished in the thirties and forties – indeed the golden age of American popular song – simply aren’t period pieces, not when a Richard Rodney Bennett is around to pick them up, dust them off and allow their magic to start all over again.
Glasgow Herald


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