Bernadette + R&H 4EVR
Bernadette Peters plants a big smooch on Rodgers & Hammerstein.
As a follow-up to Sondheim, Etc., her stunning tribute to composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, Bernadette Peters goes back to basics and pays homage to the groundbreaking duo of Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers with her latest CD.
Titled with an effusiveness that might have made even Hammerstein uncomfortable, Bernadette Peters Loves Rodgers & Hammerstein starts off with a bit of the childlike, lovey-dovey crooning that made Peters everyone's darling but which comes off as a trifle inappropriate from the now fiftysomething-year-old singer. But it's easily forgotten as she breaks into "It's a Grand Night for Singing," one of those bouncy tunes that instantly summons up the indescribable joy of show music. That number sets the tone for the disc, a simple and elegant celebration of the songwriting duo that changed the face of the musical theater.
As usual, Peters brings intelligence and heart to her renditions, truly acting the songs without sacrificing any of their melodic beauty. And yet, aside from the seminal scene-song "If I Loved You," she mostly focuses her attention on songbook standards rather than character numbers. Many of R&H's greatest hits are included ("Some Enchanted Evening," "You'll Never Walk Alone," "It Might As Well Be Spring," etc.) and all of them are given the star treatment. Sprinkled amongst these are some less celebrated but no less wonderful selections, like the jaunty "So Far" and the breezy "I Haven't Got a Worry in the World".