Can't Help Singing - Hollywood's Leading Ladies; MUSIC REVIEWS MUSIC REVIEWS.
Symphony Hall Birmingham |||||IF it's music from the movies you know it has to be John Wilson, the man who can spin stardust out of the old Hollywood musicals like nobody else on the planet and for whom the House Full notices go up. For this lovely evening it was the turn of the singing ladies, Deanna Durbin, obviously Judy Garland, Streisand, Liza Minelli and Julie Andrews, stars who had charisma and huge personalities which lit up the big screen and brought colour into our lives.
These were the stars who carried the movie and Wilson, conducting the CBSO, was supported by Kim Criswell, a singer with a voice and a wardrobe to match the occasion.
On other occasions, Wilson has given us a line-up of singers, often half a dozen at a time. Somehow Criswell looked a tad lonely working on her own from a music stand which carried her music and a crib sheet for the lengthy narration, words she clearly had not memorised.
Most of the women Criswell evoked came from Broadway to Hollywood where they made it big time. And in her own sizzling, razzamatazz way Criswell made sure they took centre stage. When Criswell gave us Garland's teenage star-struck self with You Made Me Love You, backed by Wilson's lyrical scoring, you forgot time and place.
This fine evening was a box of musical bonbons. You only have to look at the movies Wilson chose - Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Funny Girl, Hello Dolly or Ziegfield Follies. Not everything hit the spot.
The Garland/ Kelly musical flop The Pirate could have been left in the drawer, as could Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me, the song chosen from White Christmas. But the waltz from Carousel, where the Wilson and the orchestra pulled all the stops out, was deeply beautiful and who could do anything but throw a bouquet to a musical evening which ended with There's No Business Like Show Business? Richard Edmonds