Bernstein: Wonderful Town

Reviewed on Wed 14 Nov, 2018

Rattle conducts with obvious warmth, wit and relish for Bernstein’s ebullient theatricality, the LSO responding with brimming Broadway vim, verve and vitality.

Simon Rattle’s effervescent third take on Bernstein’s under-appreciated Wonderful Town finds the London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra on gloriously idiomatic form backing an array of starry soloists. The adrenalin rush of the live recording provides its own dividends in a reading of engaging energy, colour and conviction. Rattle conducts with obvious warmth, wit and relish for Bernstein’s ebullient theatricality, the LSO responding with brimming Broadway vim, verve and vitality even while the 120-voice Chorus occasionally risks over-egging the cake. As Eileen and Bob, Danielle de Niese and Nathan Gunn bring operatic solidity to bear while negotiating Bernstein’s sinuous, turn on a sixpence music theatre sensibility with aplomb. Kudos, too, to the Ruth of Alysha Umphress, Duncan Rock’s Wreck and the delightfully ‘Oirish’ rendition of 'My Darlin’ Eileen' by Duncan Butt Philip’s Lonigan, where choral heft comes ripely into its own. SACD lends proceedings a bright winning immediacy, although I would have welcomed song lyrics in the booklet.
–Michael Quinn