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Cat. No. CHAN 7053 Price: £0 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 7053 - The Film Music from MGM Musicals
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Available From: 23 November 2000
At their best, the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musicals were masterpieces. From the earliest days of ‘Talkies’ all the Hollywood studios made musicals. The 1930s are remembered for Busby Berkeley at Warner Bros., and for the Astaire-Rogers partnership at RKO, but once MGM established its pre-eminence in the 1940s it had no serious rival.

If there was ever one man responsible for giving MGM musicals their unique sound it was Conrad Salinger. Born in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1901, he graduated from Harvard in 1923 and, like many of his generation, went to France to study.

In 1943 he signed a permanent contract with MGM and, for nearly twenty years, scarcely a notable MGM musical was produced on which he did not work, channelling his creativity into arranging countless songs and production numbers.

In films there were fewer restrictions than in the theatre, giving Salinger the opportunity to paint on a large canvas. His scores are studded with detail, with incidental subtleties and small felicities of all kinds; but they are never cluttered, never made-up to the point at which glamour becomes over-kill. Occasionally he ventured into jazz or swing or big-band territory and he could be big, bold and brassy if the occasion demanded. But the real Salinger lies in the deluxe quality of orchestra, texture exemplified by ‘Dancing in the Dark’, ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ and ‘The Heather on the Hill’: a quality born of his feeling for beauty of timbre, for mood, for atmosphere, for nuance, above all for line, for the give-and-take of melody and counter-melody.
Reviews

‘…handsome… familiar orchestrations…’
BBC Music Magazine

‘…its like seeing an old master stripped of yellowing varnish and revealed as fresh as the day it was created’.
International Record Review

 

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