October 06, 2014

Cole Porter in Hollywood: new John Wilson Orchestra album out today

'Technicolor for the ears': a stylish album of silver-screen hits for the 50th anniversary of Porter's death.

The uniquely glamorous sound and the daredevil skill of the John Wilson Orchestra playing Hollywood and Broadway’s most scintillating scores has made them one of the UK’s most beloved group of musicians. Their annual sell-out Prom concerts and national tours – and their first three releases for Warner Classics – have enchanted listeners and won them fans around the world.

Following this year’s rapturously received Prom of Kiss Me, Kate, Cole Porter’s celebrated musical comedy of The Taming of the Shrew, the John Wilson Orchestra’s new album Cole Porter in Hollywood basks in the big-screen glow of the hits he wrote for the movies.

“Cole Porter’s songs lit up Hollywood over three decades right up to the end of his career in the early 1960s,” explains conductor John Wilson. “I chose the repertoire to be a mixture of hits that everyone knows – ‘Begin The Beguine’, ‘My Heart Belongs To Daddy’ – but also numbers that shine out from lesser-known films.”

The 15 songs on the album feature world premieres of newly-reconstructed orchestrations from the original movie soundtracks, nearly all of which had been lost. The album is a glorious return to the resplendent sound that cushioned and encouraged Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Bing Crosby in films such as Can-Can, The Pirate and High Society. The energy, dynamism and detail of the playing is captured in the ideal acoustic of London’s famed Abbey Road studios.

A hand-picked ensemble of leading instrumentalists from Europe’s finest orchestras, these virtuoso players come together to create an unparalleled combination of symphonic forces and big band jazz embodying the golden age of Hollywood orchestras. Joined by guest singers Anna-Jane Casey, Kim Criswell, Matthew Ford, Sarah Fox and Richard Morrison, their trademark mix of sparkling authenticity and knock-‘em-dead gusto has been described as “Technicolor for the ears”.

Cole Porter in Hollywood is out now.