SOURCE: KOCH International Classics

May 24, 2005 13:34 ET

Leonard Bernstein's "Peter Pan" to Be Released on CD June 21, 2005

First-Ever Release of Bernstein's Complete Score With Never-Before-Released Songs and Suites

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 24, 2005 -- Leonard Bernstein's original score for the 1950 Broadway musical version of JM Barrie's "Peter Pan" has been locked away for over a half century. Now for the first time, this forgotten classic can be experienced in its entirety in a new fully orchestrated recording making this the first-ever documentation of the complete Bernstein score. This newly revived work, under acclaimed conductor Alexander Frey, features vocals by Broadway superstar Linda Eder singing the part of Wendy and versatile American baritone Daniel Narducci as Captain Hook. On June 21st KOCH International Classics will release this historically significant music in its true form as Bernstein intended.

When Leonard Bernstein was asked to write the score for the Broadway musical production of Peter Pan by his good friend and producer Peter Lawrence, he quickly accepted. Bernstein, coming off the success and recognition of the Broadway hit musical "On the Town," would write one hour of music that included several new songs and revisions of a few of his other tunes from past shows. Upon the casting of screen legends Jean Arthur as Peter Pan and Boris Karloff as Captain Hook, it was quickly discovered that the leading cast members were limited in their vocal abilities and would not be able to manage the singing parts. Much to Bernstein's disappointment, it was then decided that "Peter Pan" would not be a musical after all, but would retain some of his songs and choruses.

Only five Bernstein songs would remain in the original production. Bernstein's compositions for 'Who Am I?', 'Pirate's Song', 'Plank Round', 'Build My House' and 'Peter Peter' were included, but songs 'Captain Hook Soliloquy' and 'Dream With Me' would be withdrawn. All these songs are featured on this new recording which includes 30 tracks and about an hour of original Bernstein music as the composer intended.

As an extra bonus, this recording includes a restoration of 'Spring Will Come Again,' a duet featuring Linda Eder and Michael Shawn-Lewis. This song was originally to be included in a musical version of Thornton Wilder's "The Skin of Our Teeth." Bernstein, along with choreographer /director Jerome Robbins and the book/lyric team Comden and Green, spent six months laboring on this score, which came to nothing; he later took the plangent middle section and plumbed it, including it in a moving (boy) soprano aria in his "Chichester Psalms."

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