Released to coincide with the 80th anniversary of Oklahoma!'s premiere performance, John Wilson and Sinfonia of London present the very first recording of the entire score in its original orchestration.
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! was first performed in 1943, and was a significant turning point in the history of musical theatre. It was the first musical to put drama and plot to the fore; portrayed by rounded, believable characters. It swept aside traditions that had their roots in vaudeville – star turns, comic sketches, and endless lines of high-kicking chorus girls.
Oklahoma! does feature dance, but in the hands of choreographer Agnes de Mille this was idiomatic to the plot, and revolutionary in terms of the fifteen-minute dream-sequence ballet at the close of Act I. The first collaboration between composer and writer, the show was a hit. It ran for more than five years on Broadway, and paved the way for their masterpieces to come.
John Wilson’s long-held fascination for researching original musical theater scores of this period and bringing them anew to modern audiences reaches a milestone with this world premiere recording of the original score. It's featured in its entirety, with no cuts, and in the original orchestrations for twenty-nine-piece orchestra made by Robert Russell Bennett for the original production. His outstanding cast features Nathaniel Hackmann, Sierra Boggess, Jamie Parker, Louise Dearman, Sandra Marvin, Rodney Earl Clarke, Nadim Naaman, and Leo Roberts, ably supported by the Oklahoma! Ensemble – twenty-two artists drawn from London’s West End.
Wilson comments: "I love the connective tissue of the piece; the scene-change music, the ballet, the songs that sometimes get cut, the underscoring. And when so many vastly different new versions are appearing on stage, it’s more important than ever that we have a document of the actual source material."