Record Reviews

Hallelujah, Baby!

With Leslie Uggams, Lillian Hayman, Robert Hooks, Allen Case, and others; Columbia KOS-3090 (stereo) and KOL6690

The recording of Hallelujah, Baby! is able to concentrate upon the two most admirable elements of the new Broadway show — the lively, bouncy score of Jule Styne and the stylish singing of Leslie Uggams. The show itself covers a period of sixty years, which enables Mr. Styne to put to good use a number of musical styles, mostly relating to the rise of a spirited young Negro nightclub singer. Miss Uggams brings flair and feeling to everything she sings, and Robert Hooks puts bite as well as humor into “The Slice,” a whimsical musical account of how he was fleeced of his crap-game winnings by an avaricious white cop. Hallelujah, Baby! tends to diminish in originality as it goes along, but its pulse and peppiness never slacken.

Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor

Siholius: Violin Concerto in D Minor

Itzhak Perlman, violinist, with Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Erich Leinsdorf; RCA Victor LSC-2962 (stereo) and LM-2962

Itzhak Perlman, a twenty-one-yearold Israeli currently resident in the United States, makes his recording debut with this release, and confirms the impression left by his solo recital appearances — that he

is a young violinist touched with genius. Both the Prokofiev and Sibelius concertos require lyrical intensity as well as technical aplomb, and Perlman demonstrates that he possesses both in good measure. The slow movement of the Prokofiev, in particular, fairly glows with musical beauty, Perlman’s rhapsodic tones finding a perfect counterpart in the strings and winds of the Boston Symphony.

Pete Seeger — Freight Train

Pete Seeger, folk singer, self-accompanied on banjo and guitar; Capitol DT-2718 {stereo) and T-2718

These songs have been out before — “Freight Train,” “Coyote,” “Careless Love,” “Red River Valley,” “John Henry,” and others. But they’re worth hearing anew in this reissue, with Seeger’s clean vocalism and warm feeling — not to mention his virtuoso accompaniments — making even old chestnuts seem fresh and shiny. This is what folk singing was like before it began to be rocked and rolled, and there’s a measure of nostalgia to add to the other pleasures in hearing old songs well sung.

Selections From the Marquis de Sade

Read by Patrick Magee; Caedmon TC1214 (monaural)

This is a painless de Sade, if that’s not a contradiction in terms. Patrick Magee saves one the trouble of reading the original by setting forth excerpts from Justine and The Mystified Magistrate, with due attention to both philosophical and sexual sides of the Marquis. Most of the time Mr. Magee reads clearly as well as vividly, but an excess of staginess makes some of the juicier moments in Justine rather difficult to understand. Perhaps the liveliest passage on the record is a snippy letter from prison which de Sade wrote to his wife. He evidently had his domestic problems like the rest of us, and with more cause.

Those Wonderful Girls of Stage, Screen, and Radio (Original Recordings of the 30s)

Ruth Etting, the Boswell Sisters, Helen Morgan, Lee Wiley, Marlene Dietrich, Grace Moore, Ethel Merman, Mary Alar tin, and others; Epic BSN-159 (electronically reprocessed stereo) and S27-6059: two records

This is a nostalgia-drenched reissue of the songstresses — as they used to

be called — of the 1930s. Several of the prize numbers are heard right at the outset, with Ruth Etting singing a bouncy “Exactly Like You,” the Boswell Sisters ripping breezily through “There’ll Be Some Changes Made,” and Helen Morgan offering her distinctive “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man.” Other standouts, more or less predictable, are Dietrich, Grace Moore, and Ella Logan. Incidentally, listening time on each side amounts to only fifteen or twenty minutes — rather a scanty allotment, isn’t it, girls?

Saint-Saëns: Carnival of the Animals Poulenc: The Model Animals

Georges Prêtre conducting Paris Conservatoire Orchestra, with Aldo Ciccolini and Alexis Weissenberg, pianists; Angel S-36421 (stereo) and 36421

Saint-Saëns’s animal zoo still is a refreshing musical experience, piquant enough to entertain a musical sophisticate or divert a young child for half an hour. It is set forth with gusto and finesse, and the stereo is used to provide some extra touches, such as the side-to-side braying of the donkeys (or are they music critics?) in the section labeled “Persons With Long Ears.” Poulenc’s The Model Animals is a different sort of animal piece, being a ballet suite based on the fables of La Fontaine. It is earnest and well-made music, but not nearly as much fun as Saint-Saëns’s brisk and breezy little masterpiece.

Great Short Stories, Volume I

Read by Claire Bloom, Edward Woodward, Hal Holbrook, and Cyril Cusack; Caedmon TC-T210 (monaural)

The four stories included in this well-varied, well-read collection are Saki’s “The Open Window,” Maugham’s “The Luncheon,” Saroyan’s “The Fifty Yard Dash.” and O’Flaherty’s “The Sniper.” Each is a tale worth telling — the Saki for its unexpected final twist, the Saroyan for its youthful gusto, the O’Flaherty for its grim picture of civil warfare. Most memorable of all is Maugham’s “The Luncheon,” a delectable picture of an impoverished young man forced by circumstances to entertain a gluttonous female at a deluxe and frightfully expensive Paris restaurant. Among its other attractive qualities, it is one of the most savory stories ever written about food, and Mr. Woodward relishes every word of it in the reading.