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Bernstein's 'Peter Pan' gets new recording



Published: Fri, June 24, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The full score is included.

LONG ISLAND NEWSDAY

It took a treasure map to make the new recording of Leonard Bernstein's "Peter Pan."

Bernstein wrote an hour's worth of music for a 1950 Broadway show based on J.M. Barrie's tale of the boy who would not grow up. But when the leading roles were cast with Jean Arthur and Boris Karloff -- Hollywood stars who lacked the pipes for Bernstein's tunes -- many of his songs were cut.

Koch International Classics has just released the first complete recording of the original score.

Conductor Alexander Frey reconstructed "Peter Pan" after years of digging for musical jewels with the help of the Library of Congress and the Bernstein office.

Like "West Side Story," "Peter Pan" tells of young people facing adulthood with hope and unease. There are laughs aplenty, as when Hook enjoins his cohorts to "eat blood, drink blood, think blood" to a melody poised between suavity and bug-eyed ghoulishness.

But this "Peter Pan" is haunted by mortality. Wendy's "Build My House" pleads for "walls of truth" and a "roof of peace"; Bernstein's setting soars but also hints at the inevitable heartaches to come.

The shimmering "Dream With Me" ranks with his best songs, and the disc features another novelty: "Spring Will Come Again," for a show that never got off the ground. Linda Eder ("Jekyll & amp; Hyde") is the pure-toned Wendy.

The riches of Bernstein's "Peter Pan" were well worth the long hunt.




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