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Music Review

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Pinocchio (Original 1957 Television Cast Recording)


Music: Alec Wilder
Lyrics: William Engvick
Performed by: Mickey Rooney, Fran Allison, Stubby Kaye and Martyn Green
Label: Masterworks Broadway
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 14 August 2015

For the second of three new releases for Broadway Masterworks, I’ve been listening to another classic re-release in the digital format - this time, it’s the TV Soundtrack to NBC’s Pinocchio. Pinocchio had long been a favourite fairytale, and even more so since the release of the Disney animated feature film in the 1940s. So it was perhaps not a surprise that many tried to capitalise on the success of the story of the little wooden child.

Pinocchio, a nearly forgotten television musical special starring Mickey Rooney, was originally broadcast 13 October 1957 on NBC and never repeated again. The production featured a script by Yasha Frank and musical numbers by Alec Wilder and William Engvick. In addition to Rooney, the cast also included Fran Allison famous for her work on TV’s Kukla, Fran and Ollie; Stubby Kaye, the bouncing comedian of Guys and Dolls and Li’I Abner, and Martyn Green, the inimitable Gilbert and Sullivan star.

I found it quite hard to get on with this album. It’s more of a kids story CD than what you would really call a soundtrack. There’s no doubting that it’s a decent score by Wilder and Engvick, but I found it quite a uninspiring listen. Rooney is excellent, as he always was, and I enjoyed the 'Listen To Your Heart' tracks probably the most. The transfer to CD is good, but I feel it lacks the depth in sound that Stage Door get out of their transfers for instance. I’m not sure if this Masterworks Broadway release goes back to the master tapes or not - the booklet gives little information on this, or anything, to be honest.

One for the collectors only I think.


Ian Gude

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