Following on from Retrospective’s previous double CD sets of great songwriters – Hoagy Carmichael (RTS 4106), George Gershwin (RTS 4176) and Harold Arlen (RTS 4206) – is this unique collection devoted to the wonderful songs composed by Richard Rodgers, with both of his two partners of genius, Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein. Richard Rodgers (1902-1979) had two lives as a composer; his first, lasting until 1940, was with Lorenz Hart, a lyricist of unparalleled wit and imagination. Disc One contains arguably the 25 best songs to spring from their collaboration: Blue Moon, My Funny Valentine, My Heart Stood Still, each is interpreted by the contemporary artist most associated with that hit – a roster that includes Jessie Matthews, Ben Selvin, Paul Whiteman, Ruth Etting, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Doris Day and so many others.
In 1943 Rodgers began his second life as a composer, teaming up with Oscar Hammerstein. Together they created a new Golden Age of musical theatre, with five undisputed masterpieces that stand among the greatest musicals of all time: Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King And I and The Sound Of Music. The best of this extraordinary outpouring of show-songs fills Disc Two, again with many of the original performers, such as Mary Martin, Alfred Drake, John Raitt and Gertrude Lawrence alongside stylish interpretations of the time by the likes of Perry Como, Judy Garland and Johnny Mathis. Truly Richard Rodgers was a composer with a song in his heart.