Kismet (1953 Original Broadway Cast) Import, Original recording remastered, Extra tracks, Cast Recording
Using themes by 19th-century Russian composer Alexander Borodin to musicalize a play set in ancient Baghdad seems the kind of harebrained idea only a crazed producer would have. And we should thank him for it. For Kismet is Broadway at its most demented--just the way we like it. Robert Wright and George Forrest reworked Borodin's music so that it would function as the basis for show songs. And what songs: "Stranger in Paradise" and "Baubles, Bangles and Beads" have become classics, and the rest of the score is delightfully kitsch. Alfred Drake equals his performance in Kiss Me, Kate in a bombastic tour-de-force, and to top it all off, Borodin got a posthumous Tony. Fans (you know who you are) will enjoy the bonus interviews with the leads. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
Please ignore, totally, the Hollywood soundtrack. It's an abomination.
Not long after I first heard the album there, Marx's was then playing an orchestrated version by Percy Faith. Beautiful indeed and capturing all of the exoticism. I remember hearing one of the owners proclaiming on the beauty of the music. He was right. It is Borodin!