(CD review published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #183, May 31, 2002)
Bernadette Peters Loves Rodgers & Hammerstein, Angel 7243 5 34969 2 0
PHOTO: CD Cover
Bernadette Peters has done Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II a big favor. Ably assisted by master arranger and conductor Jonathan Tunick, Peters brushes away years of accumulated treacle, saccharin and schmaltz from these songs and reveals both music and lyrics as the elegant, charming, artful creations that they are.
For example, Peters’ take on “Out of My Dreams” sounds fresh, modern, and more heartfelt and intimate than the version on the original-cast album of Oklahoma!, and her charmingly simple rendition of “If I Loved You” avoids the overblown vocal fireworks of the version on Barbra Streisand’s The Broadway Album. “There Is Nothin’ Like a Dame” has never been recorded by a woman before, but Peters cleverly turns it into the ultimate USO tour showstopper. (Female impersonators might want to consider adding it to their repertoire.)
There are ten more tracks, all of them charming. In the CD’s liner notes Peters write about the first time she heard the music of Rodgers & Hammerstein: “With each consecutive song, the beauty of the music drew pictures in my head and raised goose bumps on my neck.” I could say the same about this CD.