C0068. TROUBLE IN TAHITI - recorded 1973, LEONARD BERNSTEIN Cond. Columbia Wind Band, w. Nancy Williams, Julian Patrick, Antonia Butler, Michael Clarke & Mark Brown; LEONARD BERNSTEIN Cond. NYPO: FACSIMILE - recorded 1966 (both Cond. by the Composer). (Austria) Sony SMK 60969. Very long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 074646096925
"An abiding ambition of Leonard Bernstein as composer was to write the Great American Opera. Indeed his own recordings of WEST SIDE STORY and CANDIDE in the last decade of his life, with their rosters of high-caliber singers, were intended in part to display the larger, quasi-operatic scope of these works. And right from the start, Bernstein's savvy instinct was to create a musical language that would integrate lively vernacular American idioms, as his early one-act opera TROUBLE IN TAHITI (1952) demonstrates. This biting satire - to the composer's own libretto - of a marriage falling to pieces against the backdrop of the vacuous suburban life promulgated by '50s advertisements is little more than a series of vignettes. But the compact score is exuberantly inventive and wide ranging, from its parody of AM radio jingles-cum-Greek chorus to its wistfully lyrical depiction of a faded love. In this reissue of a recording made in 1973, Bernstein emphasizes the jazzy, rhythmic swing of the former - with its fascinating anticipations of West Side Story - as well as the poignant oasis of yearning melody in Dinah's scene at the psychiatrist's office, which would serve as the kernel for his later full-length opera on the same characters, A QUIET PLACE. Nancy Williams brings to life a convincingly vulnerable Dinah, and Julian Patrick's bass-baritone booms with just the right attitude of defensive machismo in Sam's gym scene 'There's a law'. The disc also includes the short 1946 'choreographic essay' Facsimile. This is the composer in his 'age of anxiety' mode; its hauntingly scored depiction of loneliness at the core makes an excellent companion piece."
- Thomas May