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1. The Phantom of the Opera (2004
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2. Wicked (2003 Original Broadway
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3. Closer
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4. The Phantom of the Opera (2004
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5. Sondheim Sings, Vol. 1: 1962-72
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6. The Phantom of the Opera (Original
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7. Pacific Overtures (2004 Broadway
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8. Josh Groban
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9. Haunted Heart
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10. The Chorus (Les Choristes)
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11. 25 Mozart Favorites
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12. Baby Einstein: Lullaby Classics
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13. Andrea
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14. Mamma Mia! (The Musical Based
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15. Romanza
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16. Highlights From The Phantom Of
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17. Star Wars: Episode II, Attack
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18. Finding Neverland
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19. Josh Groban Live at The Greek
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20. The Lord of the Rings: The Return

1. The Phantom of the Opera (2004 Movie Soundtrack) (Special Extended Edition Package)
list price: $24.98
our price: $20.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00065L706
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 121
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Amazon.com

For better or worse, Andrew Lloyd Webber's adaptation of Gaston Leroux's gothic horror/romance novel has done for stage musicals what Spielberg's Jaws did for fish stories, with worldwide sales of its original cast album approaching 25 million. While director Joel Schumacher's film turns on his typically ambitious visual verve, its new film soundtrack recording has been paradoxically focused in scope, yet beefed up dynamically via the brawny presence of a hundred piece orchestra and The London Boys Choir. This single disc version showcases all of Phantom's key songs (a deluxe, double-disc edition is also available), with Gerard Butler imparting a welcome, youthful sensuality to his Phantom, making a fine foil for Emily Rossum's ever-conflicted Christine. Original show orchestrator David Cullen has fashioned compelling new contemporary arrangements to frame Webber's songs -- which now conclude with the lilting, upbeat new ballad he wrote for the film, "Learn to Be Lonely," sung by Minnie Driver's Carlotta.--Jerry McCulley ... Read more


2. Wicked (2003 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $18.98
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Asin: B0000TB01Y
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 57
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

One of the most common complaints about musicals is that the books are flimsy pretexts from which to hang numbers. Wicked runs into the opposite problem: it has a great plot but too often the songs just get in the way. Based on Gregory Maguire's novel of the same name, Wicked tells us what happened between Glinda the Good and Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, before Dorothy showed up in Oz. And the show is lucky to boast a pair of ace leading women in the main roles. As Glinda, Kristin Chenoweth delivers a sensational star turn, displaying a crystal-pure voice and sharp comic timing; Idina Menzel lends her powerful pipes to the tricky role of Elphaba. Unfortunately, you wish they had better material to work with. Stephen Schwartz's pop score is often dragged down by overly synthetic orchestrations and sentimental lyrics (think Chicken Soup for the Witch). Still, at its best Wicked is a seductive slice of popular entertainment that could well give a younger audience a lasting taste for musical theater. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (241)

5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible
Although I've been a huge admirer of both Kristin Chenowith and idina Menzel for a few years now, I was not sure what to expect upon first hearing this soundtrack. Actually, I ended up seeing the show on broadway, and buying the CD the day after because i couldn't get enough of this music! Stephen Schwartz has made a brilliant creation, and couldn't have gotten better voices to sing it. The vocal harmonies are beautiful throughout. Defying Gravity, the real showstopper (much thanks to Ms. Menzel's UNBELIEVABLE voice), gave me almost as big of a chill when hearing it on the soundtrack as it did in live performance. Ms. Chenowith's lovely voice carries songs as well, and the song Popular is cute and funny, while showing off her vocal talent. Aside from Defying Gravity, my favorite songs are I'm Not That Girl (sung by Ms. Menzel), and the love ballad As Long as You're Mine. It's a fun, entertaining musical more full of emotion than I had expected it would be. Between Norman Leo Butz, and the two leading women, I can hardly put into words the feeling that their voices produce- you have to hear it to know! This is definitely one of the best new broadway shows to come about since RENT, and I hope it has a long, successful run.

5-0 out of 5 stars Deliciously wicked and most definately wonderful
Being of fan of the original novel and ecstatic that a musical was made from the book, I bought the CD the day it was available. It is pure and simple magic. Idina Menzel, who's voice blew me away on the OBC of Rent, proves her power and stands right up there with the superb Kristen Chenowith. I've been playing the CD non-stop since Decemeber, and with great fortune and luck, I was able to see the actual Broadway show this past weekend...front row lottery tickets. The power and majesty of this show cannot be conveyed on this CD, but it comes very close. Seeing all these perfomers dance, sing, and act the songs I fell in love with cannot be described. You'll have to see it for yourself. There's not a bad song in the show or on the CD...these songs, standing alone on the CD out of context from the show, are enough to move anyone. From Idina's perfect 'The Wizard and I' to 'No Good Deed,' from Kristen's comic songs to ballads, from their duets together (no two voices have ever matched better), and from Norbert Leo Butz's 'Dancing through Life' to 'As Long as Your Mine,' this CD is a definate to buy and share!

5-0 out of 5 stars AMAZING
If you haven't seen the play... you must go NOW!!! Idina Menzel who plays Elphaba (Wicked Witch) is amazing and awesome to watch... I've seen the play twice and hope to see it again!! If there were such thing as 6 stars... This musical absolutly deserves it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Sublime...
Miss Kristin Chenoweth... If there is a greater star on the rise on the great white way I dare you to name her. I spend my days puttering around in my care listening to Ariella Vaccarino's must-have CD series "Voice Lessons to Go" in preparation for the moment I put the real deal on here and try my best to match the vocal styling of Ms. Chenoweth... and fail (but maybe with these vocal CDs I've been listening to... who knows). Anyway, the woman is a queen of the stage at the moment and this recording is a vocal photograph of a true star in the midst of her prime. I highly recommend buying it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wicked Rocks!
You wouldn't expect a teenager to love broadway music, but Wicked has me hooked!I can't get enough of "The Wizard and I" and "Defying Gravity".Other great tunes on the cd are "Popular", "As long as you're mine","I'm not that girl", and "Popular". The vocalists are fabulous, the tunes are catchy, and its a fun cd to listen to! If you want to hear a GREAT CD, listen to Wicked! ... Read more


3. Closer
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.49
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Asin: B0000CFW87
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 13
Average Customer Review: 4.34 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Thanks to a fortuitous intersection of talent and fate, 22-year-old Josh Groban hasn't finished his senior year in performing arts school but has already released his sophomore effort on a major major label. Fans of the young vocal phenom's debut will find much to enthrall them here, even if it nudges the singer closer to the center of producer/mentor David Foster's MOR pop sensibilities. Eschewing much of its predecessors more overt classic-lite pretensions and pop-rock covers for a slate of dramatic, Eurocentric ballads that serve as a showcase for the singer's inviting baritone, Groban shrewdly positions himself as the American alternative to the Bocelli-Watson crossover axis. "Caruso" may find the singer falling short of its operatic inspiration, but "Oceano" and "My Confession" quickly showcase the singer's truedramatic range (which seems to all but yearn for a bona fide Broadway musical challenge), while a vocal take of Bacalov's graceful "Il Postino" theme uses classical virtuoso Joshua Bell's violin flourishes to good effect. To his credit, Groban displays some promising efforts at songwriting collaboration on the bittersweet "Per Te" and "Remember When It Rains," while the ambient/ethnic soundscape of Deep Forest's "Never Let Go" offers a teasing alternative to the record's otherwise melodramatic production formula. Groban has found commercial triumph via Foster's mentoring, but there remains a nagging sense here that he hasn't truly pushed himself as an artist--yet.--Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (411)

4-0 out of 5 stars Remarkable voice
My four star rating is given because Josh Groban has, in my opinion, the best male voice out there right now. I bought this CD strictly to hear him sing. In that I wasn't disappointed although some of the song choices leave me somewhat less than thrilled. "Mi Mancherai" is done so beautifully. It is by far my favorite. The collaberation of he and Joshua Bell was genius. Tracks 2,4,6,7, and 11 are also lovely. "Remember When It Rained" was written by Josh Groban and is quite pretty. He plays the piano on that song and does so very well. I hope he will do more playing in his future projects. As for the opinions about "Caruso" being less than well performed, I would have to disagree.
The pop sound in some of the songs I could gladly do without. Ideally, he would stick to a more classical sound with the instruments adding to the beauty of his voice rather than detracting from it.
This is the only CD I've ever bought the day it came out. I will likely do the same next time. And if there are more violin or piano or cello accompaniments and fewer by electric guitars and drums, I will be thrilled!

5-0 out of 5 stars A little range reach but "Closer" to roots of appeal.
I love music - all kinds of music. But the music on this cd seems almost tailor made for what my heart loves to hear best. David Foster has this incredible way of building a movie set of music around a spectacular voice. The effects are dramatic and to Josh Groban's interprative credit not melodramatic.

Josh Groban really took a couple of risks here, he cowrote and plays piano on "Remember When It Rained". It's great to hear something a little different from him even if it isn't the best track on the cd. Some of the tracks sound a little saccharin like "Broken Vow" - the live version on the cd/dvd was better but "My Confession" is a wonderfully elegant ballad that takes Josh's voice to a higher range and works majestically well. Some of the tracks are absolutely spectacular like "Mi Mancherai" which includes some of the most expressive violin from Joshua Bell and "Oceano" which also includes musical arrangements that compliment and frame Josh's exquisite voice. Josh Groban's absolute pitch, warmth and power are showcased so well but this cd illustrates some lovely diversity not seen in the debut. It's hard to ascertain what Josh Groban is conveying when he sings but the aura of emotional distancing doesn't interfere with the extraordinary delivery on each track, it creates an appealing mystique. Even if a couple tracks are skippable - the cd overall is a demonstrative delicious big bang.

5-0 out of 5 stars WOW WHAT AN AMAZING ARTIST
This guy is amazing and i think that anybody that disagrees with me is crazy. This is a true artist and it is a GOD given talent also. You have to buy this CD if you really want to hear good music.

5-0 out of 5 stars Blew me away
This guy and I are the same age and I cannot believe that wonderful voice comes out of him. This CD is a must get and I am glad I bought it. It is a perfect way to relax after a long day- his voice just soothes you. Favorite tunes are of course Oceano- also Mi Mancherai, Per Te, and Remember when it rained. He packs so much power into his music and Thank God for whoever discovered him!

1-0 out of 5 stars 0 Stars
What the world needs now is NOT an opera version of Clay Aiken! or should I say opera-wannabe version. Do yourself a favor and get the "Cabaret" soundtrack of the movie for some REAL MUSICAL TALENT. F-(-) ... Read more


4. The Phantom of the Opera (2004 Movie Soundtrack)
list price: $18.98
our price: $12.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000654YWY
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 854
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Amazon.com

For better or worse, Andrew Lloyd Webber's adaptation of Gaston Leroux's gothic horror/romance novel has done for stage musicals what Spielberg's Jaws did for fish stories, with worldwide sales of its original cast album approaching 25 million. While director Joel Schumacher's film turns on his typically ambitious visual verve, its new film soundtrack recording has been paradoxically focused in scope, yet beefed up dynamically via the brawny presence of a hundred piece orchestra and The London Boys Choir. This single disc version showcases all of Phantom's key songs (a deluxe, double-disc edition is also available), with Gerard Butler imparting a welcome, youthful sensuality to his Phantom, making a fine foil for Emily Rossum's ever-conflicted Christine. Original show orchestrator David Cullen has fashioned compelling new contemporary arrangements to frame Webber's songs -- which now conclude with the lilting, upbeat new ballad he wrote for the film, "Learn to Be Lonely," sung by Minnie Driver's Carlotta.--Jerry McCulley ... Read more


5. Sondheim Sings, Vol. 1: 1962-72
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B0009299JC
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 558
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Imagine yourself sitting in Stephen Sondheim's living room as he sits at the piano and sings 19 of his songs, some still in the gestational stage.That's the gist of Sondheim Sings, Vol. 1: 1962-1972, the first installment of what promises to be a large collection of private recordings Sondheim made "for fun" at the home of a friend.Naturally they're from shows relatively early in Sondheim's career, such as Company, Follies, A Funny Thing..., Anyone Can Whistle, and A Little Night Music.But just because the songs were written for those shows doesn't mean they made the final cut, so the selections range from the ultra-familiar "Send in the Clowns" and "Broadway Baby" to the less-familiar "Pleasant Little Kingdom," "Marry Me a Little," and "Love Is in the Air."Of course anyone who's the least bit versed in Sondheim song collections probably already knows "Marry Me a Little" and other such fare, but more rare is "No, Mary Ann" (from a never-produced movie called The Thing of It Is), "Truly Content" (a single song from The World of Jules Feiffer), and "The Lame, the Halt and the Blind" (cut from Anyone Can Whistle).A further element of interest is that some of the songs are different from their final stage versions.The changes are minor--a word here, a line there--but they offer a glimpse into Sondheim's working process.The beautiful booklet reprints all the lyrics as sung here, with notations for where they were eventually changed and to what. It also includes historic photos and detailed notes by Sondheim archivist Peter E. Jones.

And how is Sondheim the performer?Broadway fans are well aware that performances by songwriters can be valued for their insight and passion, but not necessarily their beauty.There's a 1971 quote from Sondheim: "For those of you who have not had the pleasure of hearing my voice before, I tend to sing very loud, usually off-pitch and always write in keys that are just out of my range."That's a self-deprecating exaggeration, but it's probably best said that Sondheim is a good pianist who as a singer won't make anyone forget Barbara Cook.Sondheim Sings is a product of PS Classics' non-profit wing, and proceeds from the recording will go to Young Playwrights Inc., which Sondheim founded to support playwrights under 18.--David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Treasure!
What a great treasure it is to hear Mr. Sondheim sing these great songs, although I'm disapointed they included more from Anyone Can Whistle and his unproduced shows than his more popular ones, they are still great. I'm exited to see the next edition of this series.

4-0 out of 5 stars Sondheim Brilliance Captured on Remastered Demo Tapes
He has an unfair reputation for penning songs people cannot sing along with, but I have to admit I'm a sucker for a Stephen Sondheim tune, even the overplayed ones like "Being Alive" and "Not a Day Goes By". So for me, it's a treat to hear a thirtyish Sondheim himself sing his own compositions accompanying himself on the piano. Granted he talk-sings in a very modest range and often veers off-key in spite of his best efforts, but his buoyant enthusiasm and keen intellect are so infectious throughout that I eventually became indifferent to his marginal singing talent. The other pertinent fact is that Sondheim is a superb piano player pounding the keys effortlessly as if he's composing and improvising his performances on the spot. He just turned 75 earlier this year, so PS Classics has collected 19 of his demo tapes from 1962-72 and digitally remastered them for this special recording. It was a fertile period for Sondheim, and this disc provides evidence with selections originating from seven of his shows from this decade - four unqualified hits ("Company", "Follies", "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and "A Little Night Music"); a failure that has justifiably gained stature over the years ("Anyone Can Whistle" which has the most songs here - five); and a couple of obscurities ("The Thing of It Is" and "The World of Jules Feiffer"). Several of the songs here never made the final productions, much less the cast recordings, which makes this unvarnished compilation recording especially valuable. It's also just great to hear an unedited Sondheim so unfettered, exuberant and maddeningly clever.

Sondheim produces a bouncy gem in "Pretty Little Picture" from "Forum", which offers smart, densely written lyrics over a hyped-up sea chantey melody. From "Jules Feiffer", "Truly Content" is a sweet ode to an unrealized dream of becoming a movie star that even includes the opening notes of "The Star Spangled Banner" as a finale interlude. Who else but Sondheim would mention Fay Wray and George Brent as his screen idols? He captures a frenetic romanticism on "Multitudes of Amy" and "Marry Me a Little", both from "Company", two of the most astute songs about being in love and obsessively infatuated I've ever heard, the latter particularly affecting with the rolling piano keys propelling the melody. The title tune from the failed "Anyone Can Whistle" has a loping open-heartedness that sets the mood of the show beautifully. The same can be said about his touching rendition of the familiar memory lament "Losing My Mind" from "Follies", where he unexpectedly changes his pitch when he moves into the chorus. Also from "Follies", "Don't Look at Me" vividly displays his sharp wit and high sense of personal drama, as does "Pleasant Little Kingdom" with its driving rhythm. From "Anyone Can Whistle", Sondheim really captures the aura of a carnival sideshow with "Miracle Song" and continues the spirit with shifting tempos and revivalist character changes interrupted by pilgrim murmurings on "The Lame, The Halt and the Blind".

And here's a great example of the typical creative process behind a Broadway show - with its stern opening chords, "Invocation" was intended as a more clarion opening number for "Forum", but then it was decided to replace it with the pliant soft-shoe number "Love Is in the Air", but both were finally jettisoned in favor of the well-known "Comedy Tonight", which is not included here. "The Glamorous Life" demo is particularly fascinating for Sondheim's ongoing explanations of the plot developments and character's vocal turns in "A Little Night Music", as he sings in front of an attentive audience. Sondheim also sings a fine, unadorned "Send in the Clowns", refreshing for the lack of dramatic excess usually associated with the song. With his skilled grasp of melody and his dexterous use of changing imagery, this just provides proof that he composes music for the ages. There is also a 32-page booklet included with complete lyrics, historic photos and a brief background story.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
If you're absolutely obsessed with Sondheim, you'll possibly like this recording. I find him a genius, but he has one of the worst voices I've ever heard. Don't turn up the volume while playing it or you'll have every dog in the neighborhood howling.

4-0 out of 5 stars 4 1/2 stars!
Just shy pf perfection- i mean- what is perfect? Great, great, music here- I must reccomend!

5-0 out of 5 stars There is a God!
...and, as a very accurate member of Finishing The Chat promptly pointed out, he's publishing his demos! ... Read more


6. The Phantom of the Opera (Original 1986 London Cast)
list price: $37.98
our price: $30.49
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Asin: B00004YTY2
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 151
Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (261)

4-0 out of 5 stars "Let the specacle astound you!"
I can get a pretty good sense of what a theatrical experience this show must be from listening to its London cast recording. All that thundering, overpowering, eerie but beautiful music, which is actually pretty good and may very well be Andrew Lloyd Webber's best. The above-average, occasionally beautiful and touching lyrics to such songs as "Music of the Night," "All I Ask of You," "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again," and "Point of No Return." The fine performance of Michael Crawford as the Phantom, which does a great job of conveying the character's passion and pain and thankfully doesn't really conjure up memories of his best-forgotten days as a juvenile lead in such fimusicals as "A Funny Thing..." and "Hello, Dolly!" The beautiful voice of Sarah Brightman as Christine. The supporting cast, from Steve Barton's Raoul to Rosemary Ashe's stunning Carlotta to the two theatrical agents, Andre and Farmin (or something like that). All contribute to the enjoyment and, yes, spectacle of this recording, and no doubt did and, in the case of the music and lyrics, still do contribute to the success of the stage show. All are reasons for buying it, so why not?

5-0 out of 5 stars Not the best recording ever. . .the ONLY recording ever
Alright, let's get this straight. It's a simple math problem; even a first grader could get this. Michael Crawford=Phantom. Phantom=Michael Crawford. That's just how it is. In the title song, when he sings "The Phantom of the Opera is there"...oh its brilliant. Especially that funny thing his voice does on the "Phaaa" part of Phantom. Normally it might be a little awkward, but in this role its absolutley perfect. He really makes us sympathize with him and almost makes you bawl in the Finale.

Sarah Brightman does a great job with Christine. Most peolpe absolutely screw up the vocals at the end of the title song (ah-hem, 1992 Japanese Version and Sandra Joseph on Broadway. Hate to say it, but it doesn't work with their voices. Yeah, they can sing, but just not that. They do very well otherwise though) I like the way she screams out "I'll go MAD!" in Notes II.

The only bad part about this (but it's quite minor) are Madame Giry and Joseph Buquet. Buquet's voice is kind of breathy and the vibrato takes over and Madame Giry's voice is a little breathy also, but nothing major.

The orchestra in this is beautiful. In most recordings, the orchestra cuts short in the intrumentals before Hannibal and after the Auction (which is one of the best parts) but in this one is it really powerful. It gives you goosebumps because it blends so well together. Especially when the horns come in!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Recording
I simply love this recording. I have never seen Phantom performed on the stage and this is the only recording I have ever heard of the Phantom of the Opera, but I was delighted to hear its music. I have had this CD for only a week and cannot stop playing it for some reason! It has quite a musical score, and the story is very sad. I have never read the book (although I am waiting for its arrival from Amazon after ordering it), so I cannot tell you whether it is true to the original story. The story is that of a man who has been abandoned by all mankind and must live in a labyrinth under the opera house. He falls in love with Christine Daae and becomes her tutor. She believes that the Phantom is the Angel of Music sent by her deceased father. The Phantom loves her so and wants her career in the opera house to advance. He sends notes to the managers, telling them to give her main roles instead of the prima Donna Carlotta. It is a heart wrenching story because you really feel sorry for the Phantom.

The cast is strong. MICHAEL CRAWFORD plays the Phantom on this recording and is argued by many phans to be the best phantom. I have heard no other recording, so I can't argue that point. The role of Christine was written for SARAH BRIGHTMAN, so naturally she does well. There are many high notes and her role can be compared to that of COSETTE in LES MISERABLES because it seems that the majority of her parts are high. RAOUL is played by STEVE BARTON, and his voice is marvelous. ROSEMARY ASHE plays CARLOTTA. I don't like the part of Carlotta, but that isn't Ashe's fault!

Some of the music in this sounds familiar, like from CATS (I'm talking about a couple bars of music, not like a whole song or anything), so that is very interesting. If you like Andrew Lloyd Webber, you will love this rock opera! I like "Angel of Music," "Phantom of the Opera," and "Music of the Night."

Buy this CD because it is worth every penny!

4-0 out of 5 stars Just as good the 100th time!
This is truly a great recording. Overall, I am totally in love with it, but I am here to give a review, not to push my personal biases on others. So, from the standpoint of a musician, actress, and singer, here goes. First of all the actors...
MICHAEL CRAWFORD: Overall, Awesome. Truly the best cast member. His voice is easy to listen to, and very expressive. He IS the Phantom. No questions asked. Technically, not perfect, but this is theatre, not technical type singing. Sometimes, he sounds like he has a bad cold, and tends to slide into the correct note on the higher notes, but overall, this detracts very little from his outrageous awsomeness.
SARAH BRIGHTMAN: Not a huge fan of Sarah's, I'm afraid. Vibrato is one thing, but when you sound like a chipmunk singing while sitting in one of those massage chair things, you're using a little too much. She hits all of the notes beautifully, but you would too if your husband wrote the part for you. Her acting skills and expression are below par, and her inunciation is like she's singing with dental equipment in her mouth. She should definately practice singing more forward, as she gets caught in the back of her throat frequently. Her solos can wear on the nerves, but overall, you could do worse, she's not completely devoid of vocal talent, and she sounds fine when she's singing with someone else.
STEVE BARTON: Not much to say about him. No surprises here, but easy to listen too, expression is on par, and he is technically the best out of the three leads. No complaints, but I've heard this voice a million times before.
OTHERS WHO STOOD OUT: Carlotta is excellant, and beautifully annoying, all though she does have one moment in NOTES where she slips out of character for a phrase. Meg sounds like she's singing while trying to breath through an oxygen tube, in other words, barely audible. I would have liked to hear her more in the harmony on Angel of Music. Everyone else: Fine. Cooly. No complaints.
AS FOR THE MUSIC: There is a lot of it, and it rocks. The orchestrations are fabulous for Broadway, and the melodies are beautiful, if frequently repetitive. Don't buy this if you don't like the tune of Angel of Music, it shows up in practically every song. The chorus numbers are ass-kicking and funky harmony-full.
THE FINAL VERDICT: You can't go wrong here. Even if you despise Sarah Brightman, everyone else more than compensates for her, erm , lack of pronunciation. Crawford is at his best, and the melodies are some of the most memorable in musical history. Even newbies to the Phantom world will rejoice. Go ahead, throw away your money here. You won't be dissapointed.

3-0 out of 5 stars Overblown, but still worth a listen.
I am not one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's greatest fans. But still, this is a good show. People that give this negative reviews claim that it is overated. And they are correct. But there are very good melodies in this show, although the lyrics are not top quality. There are also so many layers of the phantom that Gaston Leorux wrote in this character that are not explored in the lyrics. In this show we have little reason to sympathize with the main character. But in Sondheim's"Sweeney Todd" we are told in sometimes Gruesome detail why Sweeney has those killing sprees. But these shows are completly different animals of the theater. Phantom is a show that takes you to another world, while "Sweeney" makes you think. In my opinon, this is Andrew Lloyd Webbers last good show. ... Read more


7. Pacific Overtures (2004 Broadway Revival Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0009299J2
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 218
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Pacific Overtures opened on Broadway in 1976. It didn't do that well, but neither did it completely flop--quite a feat considering it's one of Stephen Sondheim's hardest-to-penetrate musicals. Set in the mid-19th century, the show describes the arrival of Americans in Japan and their influence on that country. Sondheim said he wanted to keep the lyrics simple, so they're haiku-like, with few rhymes. Meanwhile, the music gets increasingly Westernized as the show progresses, to underscore the progressive Westernization of Japan. This revival was performed in Japanese at the 2002 Lincoln Center Festival, before being adapted for an English-speaking Broadway opening with an Asian-American cast. The small orchestra does justice to the score, although one may wish for echoes of the original production's fuller arrangements. Toward the end of the CD, two consecutive tracks neatly show up Sondheim's versatility. The comic "Please Hello" features American, British, Dutch, Russian, and French admirals, and Sondheim subtly honors each country's tradition as each admiral takes his turn (if only the cast's accents were as good). The song segues into the somber "A Bowler Hat," in which the Westernization of Kayama (Michael K. Lee) is examplified by his owning a bowler hat. (B.D. Wong shows his customary assurance as the Reciter.) Narratively speaking, the song may well be among Sondheim's best. The CD ends with a 1975 demo recording of Sondheim and director Harold Prince performing the cut number "Prayers." --Elisabeth Vincentelli

Other Recent Sondheim Releases


The Frogs (2004 Cast)

Sondheim Sings (vol. 1)

Assassins (2004 Cast)

Sweeney Todd (DVD)

Bounce

Mostly Sondheim (DVD), Barbara Cook
... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece that deserves better.
"Pacific Overtures", Sondheim and Weidman's epic masterpiece, has always deserved to be appreciated, and the recent revival certainly had potential to finally be praised by critics and enjoyed by audiences.Unfortunately, as this recording shows, the limits of the production makes one wish for more.

Sondheim's beautiful and complex score is watered down in order to be performed by an extremely small orchestra (only 11 musicians), causing this recording to pale in comparison to the original cast recording.While the cast is excellent (B.D. Wong's voice is excellent and he does a great job as the Reciter), often performing far better than the original, the instrumentation does not even come close to the lush and textured performance of the original.The pulsing and tense percussion and strings of "Four Black Dragons" is now played by a piano, which simply cannot capture what I believe to be Sondheim and Tunick's original intentions.

Even so, this CD is a must for any Sondheim fan.The songs are incredible, almost all of which have a distinct Japanese feel despite being very accessible.The CD, like the recent recording of the revival of "Assassins", is more complete than the original cast recording, and includes the lovely song "Prayers" as a Bonus track as well as some dialogue to better connect the songs.

"Pacific Overtures" is a masterpiece, to be sure, but one that needs a far better recording. ... Read more


8. Josh Groban
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.49
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Asin: B00005RGNI
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 58
Average Customer Review: 4.77 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

There are worse things in life than making your acting debut on the much ballyhooed season finale of Ally McBeal, though teen operatic baritone Josh Groban doesn't seem destined to encounter them anytime soon. As the awkward high school student-client who asks the typically romance-jinxed Ally to his senior prom, Groban performed this debut album's "You're Still You" (adapted from film-composing legend Ennio Morricone's Academy Award-nominated score for Malèna, with lyrics by Linda Thompson) as a heart-tugging, literal showstopper. The young phenom was just 17 when veteran producer-writer David Foster tapped him to fill in for Andrea Bocelli at rehearsals for the 1999 Grammys, where Groban found himself suddenly dueting with Celine Dion.

Indeed, such were his fortunes that the young Foster protégé was forced to drop out of Carnegie Mellon when professional commitments--including this record--interfered. And if this collection tends to hew sometimes uncomfortably close to Foster's own MOR sonic instincts, the material offers enough challenges to display Groban's talent and the potential of his warm, mature voice: a lyrical take on another Morricone classic, "Cinema Paradiso"; melancholy readings of Don McLean's "Starry, Starry Night" and Albert Hammond's "Alejate"; masterfully dramatic takes of the Neapolitan "Alla Luca Del Sole" and "Canto Alla Vita," the latter featuring the Corrs. Many of Groban's performances here, including a neo prog-rock-opera take on Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" (with Lili Haydn), seem both bigger and bolder than their precious musical frameworks, a telling hint that Grand Opera can't be far from his grasp. As said earlier, there are worse things in life. --Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (946)

5-0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing Baritone
I first became aware of this young man's vocal abilities by accident, tuning into Rosie O'Donell's show one afternoon. I didn't get his name correctly, just Josh G-something. When I was able to find his CD, I listened to the entire thing with headphones on and was reduced to tears several times by the emotion and sincerety conveyed in his voice and the words of the ballads chosen for this CD. I've never been interested in operatic singers or songs in Italian or Spanish before, but I am now a devoted fan of this new genre..Classical Alternative, or whatever it's being called this week (hard to classify). Everyone I've introduced to Josh's voice has been won over and bought the CD, usually after searching alot in the store for where it's located. My favorites are Gira Con Me and Let Me Fall from Cirque de Soleil. His diction is so clear on the Italian and Spanish lyrics, his breath support and phrasing reflect his classical vocal training. For a 21 yr old young man from LA, he sings with a maturity beyond his years. I would recommend this CD to ANYONE, and have! Thanks for the opportunity to review the CD for your readers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Can't wait for more!
This is one of the most uplifting, enticing, and cathartic CD's that I've listened to in a very long time. Josh Groban has a strong, warm voice that brings his words to life and allows the listener to become completely lost in the phrasing and orchestration. Highlights include:

You're Still You - a powerful ballad with great background vocals and high-flying orchestration

Canto Alla Vita - one of the most upbeat songs on the album. Surprisingly this song leans a bit toward techno (in the tradition of Sting's "Desert Rose" and the like). The beautiful harmonies provided by The Corrs really add interest and life to this one, not to mention Groban's "big" voice. A great mix of Italian and English.

Let Me Fall - another ballad, this time a little darker and more desperate. Groban's voice is very dramatic and he does a great job translating emotion into the lyrics.

The Prayer - this time Charlotte Church joins in. Although she's not her best on this particular song, it's still breathtaking.

I eagerly anticipate more of Josh Groban's efforts, and hope that he can skate easily past all the hype surrounding his age and maintain a high level of creativity, passion, and excellence.

2-0 out of 5 stars Good voice, terrible music.
This young man has a pretty damn good voice for someone his age. He's not what I'd consider truly opera material, but it is suitable for an enjoyable listening.

The problem is, the music is just plain cheesy pop. Like others have said, you'd have to be a soccor-mom soap-opera watcher to be able to swallow the tripe. Now, let's say this man were making music along a creative vein such as Radiohead, then it would be truly phenomenal.

I'm still of the group that believe in reality in music. I don't want to hear some nobody's pop or lackluster classical over this man's voice. I want to hear this man's internal perspective. I want him to write the songs and I want to hear something different than the cheesyness. There's a reason bands like the Beatles stand out. Integrity. He has yet to prove it, it honestly appears as if he's just another marketing tool to be abused by a greedy music company.

Man, if only this guy would get out and do his own stuff. Until then, I simply cannot respect him.

5-0 out of 5 stars His voice is like eating great chocolate!
I received this album from a friend for christmas, and I was
completely in love with this man voice!

His songs are wonderfully written, you can place yourself in them and how he is feeling when he sings them.

I think his voice is like the "smoothness of fine chocolate when it is melted"

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome, amazing, spectacular, beyond anything ever heard...
You may not believe it but I was a skeptic at first. When my mom bought the CD after hearing Josh Groban on the radio I was reluctant to listen to a CD where half the songs were in a language I couldn't understand.

Then I heard "The Voice."

Wow. He was ~20 when he recorded this? I was stunned. His voice was spectacular. Even if you had no idea what the words meant you still managed to understand them! And it was because of the emotion that Josh Groban protrays in singing. What makes Josh Groban such a refreshing singer are two things:
1. He manages to blend the line between classical and pop with ease.
2. His voice is so mature he could sing opera but the music he sings reflects his age.

Altogether it creates a wonderful package that leaves you wanting more. This is the best debut album I have ever heard in my life. ... Read more


9. Haunted Heart
list price: $17.98
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0007Z9QUS
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 99
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

While countless fans flock to see soprano Renee Fleming's performances of the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro because she's got the voice and the dramatic ability to handle such meaty roles, the versatile singer throws her fans a curveball on Haunted Heart, singing popular standards and ballads as well as a few altered classical pieces. In her liner notes, Fleming calls this album a "look back at the road not taken" -- she played a weekly gig in a jazz club while in school. Nonetheless, her feel for the material here is undeniable. Interestingly, she drops her voice a full octave from her usual tessitura, and the change reveals a robust gospel-oriented approach filled with dramatic breaths and moans. The lyrical Fred Hersch (piano) and the idiosyncratic Bill Frisell (guitar) provide support, and both are adventurous jazz players who create subtle and uniquely haunting backdrops. It adds up to an interesting cross-section of ideas well carried off by the generous talents of all involved.--Tad Hendrickson

\

Interview with Renee Fleming
Renee Fleming speaks about recent projects, including her memoir The Inner Voice and her recent Handel CD, in our interview. ... Read more

Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars When it comes from the heart...
After hearing Renée in the Classical repertoire and being at times pleased, at times perplexed by her recordings and performances, I seem to have "discovered America" so to speak.On this CD I think we finally hear Renée at her best.I truly believe that singers perform their "own" music the best.Here Rènée is singing from her heart...the meaning and expression is pure, sincere, lucid..."natural"...When she sings in Italian this is not the case, although she has done some wonderful things with the Italian operatic repertoire, and she certainly does put her heart into everything she sings, it's just not the same.She is singing in her mothertongue. Although she is good at languages, the authenticity just isn't there when she sings in Italian, French or German...Here she is playing in her own ball park! It's a wonderful CD, relaxing, inspiring, sensual, bewitching...It's Renée Fleming

5-0 out of 5 stars Sing Sistah!...........You deserve it!!!!!!!!!!
As an Aquarius, Renee Fleming certainly has a link to all humanity and a special fondness for black inspired music and excellent black musicians. Her tribute to Leontyne Price is very moving in her biography. However, here I thought I heard Sarah Vaughan, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin's softer moments, Nora Jones too, and an uncanny tonal resemblance to Anita Baker.Who knew her voice was so covered...deep and rich?
Now, I know the music is in her soul but is she "keeping it real"?

I gave her 5 stars because she is brave.

Renee Fleming is a beautiful person, whether you like it or not and I do hope she can find her own voice, but I guess with a talent so refined like hers it must be difficult to control the full gamut of her abilities including her ability to be a chameleon.If nothing else, her goodwill shines out like a beacon.

So sure, you can take out the Port but I'd prefer some espresso!

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
I fine this album to be great it show's that renee can sing stuff other then opera and I think she does this kind of music just as good as opera.Not to mention the song choice's are great.

4-0 out of 5 stars Yes,Renée Fleming sings Cabaret, too - Give it a Chance!
The first reaction to an album such as this HAUNTED HEART venture by the current Diva of the opera and recital stage Renée Fleming is one of pessimism: why do opera singers feel the need to enter the pops field?Well, remember Helen Traubel? While she was the reigning Wagnerian soprano at the Met she visited clubs and sang popular music and suffered the wrath of Rudolf Bing!So why, we ask, is Renée Fleming taking this same risk?

Well, in the case of this recording and with the wholly professional backing of pianist Fred Hersch and Guitarist Bill Frisell, Fleming not only pulls it off, she adds another dimension to her already startling career.Just when the listening world was adjusting to the addition of Handel to her repertoire, along comes jazz and just as with her other ventures she is able to coax her voice into a different range and behavior.

While not every track on this album is successful ('When did you leave heaven?' and 'Answer me' are a bit over-mannered), there are some truly beautiful pieces here.Fleming uses her chesty lower range to limit her renderings to the low projection, up close to the mike style.It works.There are those who would quibble about the inclusion of such classics as Mahler's 'Liebst du um Schönheit', Ginastera's 'Canção do Amor' and Emile Paladilhe's 'Psyché', works which Fleming seems to be reassuring her audience than she truly is a soprano, but get past the prejudices and settle in to enjoy the fact that she has a lot of courage in making this album.

Doubtless this HAUNTED HEART will polarize her fans, but if this particular 'recital' is approached for what Fleming means it to be, it is more of an homage to ALL music rather than a 'stepping out'.Grady Harp, May 05

1-0 out of 5 stars Saturday Night Live Spoof
This is an unbelievably bad recording of jazz vocalism. It sounds as though it was meant to be a spoof on a Saturday Night Live program. Renee Fleming did not do herself any favors by allowing this release. I am surprised at the recording company for letting this release out to to public. ... Read more


10. The Chorus (Les Choristes)
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0002OWY3K
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 246
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Already a box office sensation with a million-selling soundtrack in its native France, writer/director Christopher Barratier's tale of a post-war music teacher's lasting impact on his young charges rode its formulaic Hollywood roots all the way to Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations as Best Foreign Language Film, as well as an Oscar nod for Best Song ("Look To Your Path [Vois Sur Ton Chemin]," a collaboration between the director and film composer Bruno Coulais). Taking his inspiration from the boy's chorus at the center of the film's drama, Coulais has concocted a masterful, classically rooted score that showcases the crystalline, youthful harmonies of Les Petits Chanteurs de Saint-Marc Choir. The composer bridges the baroque and modern eras in a collection of mostly Latin choruses and chants, a skillful, often haunting fusion that also netted Coulais' compelling score BAFTA and Cesar Awards in Britain and his native France, respectively. -- Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars il est incroyable!
I love Cinema Paradiso, so I followed Perrin to this movie. I havent seen a french film in a long time, and this one was great. The story was nice, but if you really look at the whole, its the musical compositions which really stood out and made this a hit. The lyrics paint a beautiful picture and make me want to figure skate even if I dont know how. Heck, I think it would make a football team want to figure skate! Every highschool chorus should learn one of these songs and sing it, they are just so darn purdy!

PS- 3 hours after I wrote this and Im freakin cryin here, this
darn waltz called "cerf-volant" lifts you and your dancing
partner higher and higher, after waltzing on the sea?!
*sniff* Its like the scene with Uma Thurman and John
Neville in Baron Munchausen. And "Vois sur ton chemin" has
such strength as in a march!
"Caresse sur l'ocean" has the prettiest lyrics
of them all I believe! I havent felt this certain emotion
from a soundtrack since "The Secret Garden" starring Kate
Maberly and that scene in "Green Card" where Gerard
Depardieu is playing the poem piano song. Not as sad as that
but have the same potency to me. *sniff* go away bye.

5-0 out of 5 stars Music to go with the beauty of La France
I happened to casually mention to a dear French friend on a recent trip to France (March) that I had heard something about a movie called Les Choristes and did she know anything about it.My friend, who usually is not overly enthusiastic about movie music or even movies unless they are excellent, jumped up from the dinner table (another unusual action for a Frenchwoman) and ran to get her CD.She put it on and could not stop gushing (in French) about the movie, the music and Jean-Baptiste Maunier, the soloist and main protagonist in the film.After listening to the music, I had her take me the next day to a Supermarche and bought it (the European version has 5 additional tracks on the CD).Several days later, when I left to drive from her town (two hours south of Paris) back down to the southwestern part of France (Toulouse), I listened to the CD the whole way.It was glorious, the combination of the lovely, uplifting music and the gorgeous, green French countryside.Of course, I am a Francophile anyway, but I think we Americans often think we are the only ones who can compose great music and make great films!We often do not give sufficient credit to other countries for their beautiful, funny and moving films and music.

Like another reviewer, I listen to this CD all the time; it's the best traveling music I've ever heard!I have the added advantage that I understand the words.After listening to the music myriad times and trying to figure out how the story will unfold, I'm anxiously awaiting my copy of the DVD which has just shipped from Amazon.com.And, yes, in answer to another reviewer who was confused by the conversation during track 21, the teacher is auditioning the boys, finding out what parts (soprano, alto and bass) they are best suited for.Evidently, because the boys sing individually in that part, they thought it would be a good addition to the CD.The songs do, indeed, have very uplifting words.I only have them in French, but I'm happy to hear that they translate them for those of you who do not speak the language.

I will add, however, that I think the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made a mistake by having Beyonce sing this song at the Oscars.As my French friend said, "If they'd let Jean-Baptiste Maunier sing it, it would have won the Oscar!"(She doesn't understand that the voting takes place before the actual Oscar presentations!)Perhaps just the American boys' choir would have been a better choice.

I highly recommend this music to anyone who loves easy-to-listen-to, uplifting, mood-lifting music.It's a delight.And I quite agree with the other reviewers that the boys' choir voices are perfect in combination with the music.They already had a "More with Les Choristes" CD out in France!Unfortunately, I didn't have room for it, so hopefully Amazon.com will be able to get it eventually.Happy listening!



5-0 out of 5 stars Short and sweet
My review is short -- the music is sweet. It is beautiful, wonderful music.

5-0 out of 5 stars Haunting
Like a previous reviewer, I heard a story on NPR about this movie and soundtrack.I was instantly taken with the beauty of the excerpt they played, and as soon as I got home I ordered the soundtrack.I have listened to it at my computer, in my car, and at work every day since I received it.Far from being put off by the repetition of a few musical themes, I find that the repetition helped me to become familiar with the music more quickly, and has given me more enjoyment.

I know that "Vois Sur Ton Chemin" is the most well-known track on this CD, but I love "Caresse sur l'Ocean".Sometimes a piece of music is so beautiful it hurts, and I find this melody, and the hauntingly pure soprano voice of Jean-Baptiste Maunier,lingering in my head all the time.If you like choral music, buy this CD.You won't be disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great
I really love this soundtrack. Every song has great feeling in them. My choir has even begun singing La Nuit. The tunes do get a bit repetitive, and it gets annoying sometimes, but it is still catchy and beautiful music. I wish they had added the performance song from the Oscars ("vois sur ton chemin", performed by Beyonce Knowles and the American Boychoir, which I'm in ^^)... ... Read more


11. 25 Mozart Favorites
list price: $4.98
our price: $4.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000058HV
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1137
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent pick-up
Although I would have liked to have seen more selections from Mozart's formidable operas, this CD offers a very comprehensive selection of old favorites and a few pieces casual fans most likely have not heard before. For 5 dollars, do yourself a favor and pick up this collection for someone perhaps not familiar with the man who remains ahead of his time, even today.

5-0 out of 5 stars any classical music
I have been trying without success to order OPERA MUSIC ON
CASSETTE TAPES. The only thing that appears for me to choose from is Compact Disks.

I have a cassette tape player in my automobile, and would like to purchase cassette tapes of classical/opera selections. Does Amazon.com offer opera cassette tapes for sale?

P.S. the "help" department wasn't - much . . .

5-0 out of 5 stars Stunning...Tranquil...Amazing
The music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the world's most acclaimed and brilliant composers, is undeniably essential in anyone's library of classical music. "25 Mozart Favorites" is a wonderful collection to start with. Not only does it include the basic necessities, but the choice and flow of the movements is perfect. Another quality of this collection is that it doesn't exploit his music and give buyers the idea that if you play it over your baby's crib at night, it will turn your child into a genius.
Two of the many highpoints: "The Marriage of Figaro" and "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" (or, "A Little Night Music").
The music of Mozart is stunning, tranquil, and amazing, a world of its own.

5-0 out of 5 stars Must have for Mozart fans
If you're a lover of Mozart's glorious music, this CD is for you. It is also a good intro cd for beginners who are interested in the music of Mozart. The selections are some of Mozart's finest: Overtures to Figaro and Magic Flute, piano concertos, violin music, flute music, and even his Requiem. The only thing that they left out was his actual opera arias and highlights (for example Don Giovanni or Nozze de Figaro arias). But otherwise it is a very excellent taste of Amadeus' unforgettable music and, i will emphasize.. AFFORDABLE. The price is great. ... Read more


12. Baby Einstein: Lullaby Classics
list price: $6.98
our price: $6.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0001IXTU4
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 907
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful music to sooth baby to sleep
This CD has become an important part of my son's bedtime ritual. The music is very calm and soothing... wonderful instrumental versions to familiar classics. The music is so nice that my husband has enjoyed listening to it as well (thru the baby monitor in the other room). This cd is harder to find than some of the other popular Baby Einstein cds (Baby Bach, Mozart, Beethoven), but it's worth the buy when you find it. ... Read more


13. Andrea
list price: $18.98
our price: $12.98
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Asin: B00063M112
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 25
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Amazon.com

It's no mean feat being the world's foremost crossover artist--a task that risks alienating two disparate audiences and everyone in between--but somebody had to do it, and Andrea Bocelli again walks that artistic tightrope with impressive deftness. The title may imply a casual intimacy (indeed, the singer admits to taking a more "hands-on" approach to the album's conception and production), but it's a collection that nonetheless continues to expand on the Italian tenor's ambitious internationalism. His collaboration "Sin Tu Amor" immerses his voice in the Gipsy Kings' own rich Iberian folk-pop fusion with compelling results, while "Where Love Goes" (a musical focal point of the film Lazarus Child), his English language duet with 11-year-old prodigy Holly Stell, achieves an almost liturgical grace. "Tu Ci Sei" (You Are There) continues in the romantic vein of his familiar theme "Con Te Partiro" (Time to Say Goodbye), while the single "Dell' Amore Non Si Sa" (With Love You Never Know) features Bocelli in a signature dramatic tour de force collaboration with arranger Mauro Malavasi, the accomplished producer of the singer's Romanza andSogno albums. Bocelli's shrewd taste and vocal prowess here not only again redeem an oft-maligned genre, but elevate it considerably in the bargain. --Jerry McCulley ... Read more


14. Mamma Mia! (The Musical Based on the Songs of ABBA)
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.49
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Asin: B000031WEN
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 264
Average Customer Review: 4.11 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Put together by Abba's own Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, Mamma Mia! manages to cram over 20 of the Swedish supergroup's songs into a threadbare plot. It goes a little like this: Young Sophie is getting married and she's trying to identify which of three men is her father. That's about it. Wisely, the musical doesn't mess around with the songs, save for the insertion of some dialogue or for having some of them performed by a man (it works amazingly well). Abba fans will jump on this import of the London production, but traditional fans of musical theater should consider it as well. After all, Andersson and Ulvaeus's songs have always felt as if they were more than isolated pop gems and actually belonged to a longer narrative. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (120)

4-0 out of 5 stars Mamma Mia Groupies
"Mamma Mia" is an experience to behold. If this show does not lift your spirit and leave a big smile on your face, nothing will. We have the previledge of seeing "Mamma Mia" twice during its recent Chicago run. We will be seeing it again in Toronto in a couple of months. We are becoming regular "Mamma Mia" groupies!

The CD does not quite capture the energy and exhilaration that one experiences during the live show, but it will remind you the great time that you had. We now prefer this CD over the original ABBA version of the songs because it tells a funny and poignant story. The singers on this CD are all just fine. Our 2-year old loves this CD and requests it whenever he just wants to goof around the house.

Some of the outstanding players that we saw in Chicago, namely Louise Pitre and Tina Madigan, are now playing in the Broadway edition of "Mamma Mia." We hope that a CD version of the Broadway Cast will be forthcoming, and please include the unforgettable final curtain call encore that is missing on this CD. Those of you who have seen the show know just how that encore brings the house down everytime.

5-0 out of 5 stars MAMMA MIA - WHAT AN ALBUM!
Recently I saw the show Mamma Mia on Broadway and couldn't wait to buy the album. As a fan of Abba for many years I have many of their original recordings. But I wanted this CD for several reasons. First it offered many of my favorite songs on one album. Second it provided me with wonderful images of the show which I loved. And lastly, one can never have enough albums of Abba music.

I know that many reviewers and listeners continue to object to the London cast on the album but I found it made little difference to me. The selection of songs are wonderful, among them Money, Money and Thank You for the Music which are my favorites. And as you listen to them you will find the lyircs music have an energy and vitality which will have you tapping your feet and singing along. Also included aer wit, humro and pathos at times. Whether or not you can see the show, consider buying this album. And see if after only one song you don't become the dancing queen yourself.

2-0 out of 5 stars ABBA, YOU ROCK, MAMA MIA, YOU DON'T
I DO NOT SAY THIS IS A BAD MUSICAL, IT'S JUST THIS CD MAKES IT SEEM LIKE IT. I AM TOTALLY LOST. IS THIS THE ORIGINAL BROADWAY SOUNDTRACK OR THE ORIGINAL LONDON CD? (...)

1-0 out of 5 stars REAL Broadway Cast Recording PLEASE !
I just saw this marvelous and upbeat show on Broadway - Dee Hoty(Donna)..Jenny Fellner(Sophie-just adorable)..Harriet Foy(Rosie)..Tamara Bernier(Tanya). I purchased the CD at the theater -- very ambiguously labeled "Broadway Cast Recording" and then ORIGINAL LONDON CAST. Whatever the reason for such labeling what a huge mistake to label it as 'Broadway'. I agree with previous critiques that the British recording is bland, underplayed. I must add absolutely BORING compared to what I saw and heard last week. On the British recording each song was rendered the same as another...same beats...no great belt voices (could have used AT LEAST Elaine Paige as Donna)...Donna and Sophie sound identical. All those little, young voices the British seem to favor. We in the U.S.A. like voices with MEAT. This is BROADWAY -- like no other venue on earth -- and deserves it's own cast recording, especially when the performance I saw was 100% more melodious, energetic, harmonious (some of the arrangements seemed quite different) and theatrical. AFTER the last song (I HAVE A DREAM) is when the fun began! The performance involving Curtain Calls and mini concert was the best thing and an absolute surprise. The whole theater was up and rockin'. So WHAT'S THE SCOOP? Cast Recordings of every horrible Broadway show are released -- why not this phenomenon? Dee Hoty has just the right maturity and huskiness to her voice. Tanya and Rosie were marvelous -- comic foils to each other with belts to win stars. The CD version of DOES YOUR MOTHER KNOW made me cry -- from sheer frustration -- after the rendition I heard by Ms. Bernier! The three "dads" (John Hillner, Adam Lefevre, Michael Winther) seemed more human in (sight and) their sound and the voices were markedly different and easy to distinguish one from another, unlike the British recording where you sometimes cannot tell the women from the men!

PLEASE, SOMEONE WHO CARES! Issue a true Broadway Cast Recording and cut us a break! The wonderful ABBA score deserves better than the vocalizations on this CD. How did it become such a hit sung like this? Not much talent there.

3-0 out of 5 stars Better at the show
I saw Mamma Mia last weekend in Baltimore and it was amazing. The singers were just UNBELIEVABLE! However, the singers on the CD aren't nearly as great as those on tour. If you want the good music, go buy tickets. Still, buy this CD. I love the music from Mamma Mia, even if these singers aren't the best. ... Read more


15. Romanza
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000041OG
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 268
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

From his childhood on the family farm in rural Tuscany to the worldwide stage, Andrea Bocelli has achieved phenomenal success. His singing is only partially the point, and his fame owes much more to the aura of romance and the romantic archetype that's attached to him. Romanza is by far Bocelli's largest success, winning adoration thanks to the swooning vocals and the easy, sometimes lush, always pop-safe instrumental textures and melodies. As far as his opera chops go, Bocelli has won the approval of Pavarotti but likely will not wow enthusiasts. The upside is that Bocelli will likely grow the opera pie, convincing labels to take on more operatic projects. --Andrew Bartlett ... Read more

Reviews (284)

5-0 out of 5 stars Haunting, fresh and beautiful
Okay, I admit it. I discovered Bocelli and his music through the television commericial for Bellagio, the new resort in Las Vegas. I heard a portion of the song, Con Te Partio, only once and could neither forget the song or the performer. I purchased the CD immediately after locating it at Amazon.Dom. The songs are either contemporary or wonderfully traditional - and address topical issues like world peace, self-awareness, and romance. The insert provides both the Italian lyrics and English translations. Bocelli, whose voice is more beautiful and clear (and less overblown) than Pavoratti, sings with such wonderful empathy that you can not help be moved. Bocelli is joined by several feature performers, including John Miles and Sarah Brightman of "Phantom of the Opera" fame. Although I personally think Brightman is a thin soprano at best, her joint venture on the second version of Con Te Partiro that the CD provides, is worth hearing. Bocelli's version of Rhapsody is truly glorious. Although the music is clearly Italian, there are touches of Brazilian and French influences in a couple of pieces that enhances the freshness of this glorious CD. Thank you, Bellagio, for bringing this musician and music to America's awareness.

5-0 out of 5 stars raw and pure
There is something about Bocelli's voice that is completely revealed, raw, yet pure. His songs climax and grow. I have some opera fans who snub his voice because they say it not purely classical, yet that is what I love about him. He is different not completely one or the other- just a beautiful honest voice.

I have been studying singing on my own with singing CDs
"Voice Lessons To Go", by Vaccarino which I gladly recommend as well. I was inspired to improve my own voice by him and Sara Brightman on this CD so that I can sing along with them. I am also signing up for a music appreciating class this fall at the community college for fun! Hey we must enjoy our 40's!

5-0 out of 5 stars Romanza
This an awesome cd. Bocelli is an amazing vocal tallent and his music is simply divine as if he was touched by the hand of God our lord and creator. His music is sublime and his tallent is God given. Highly Recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Breakthrough Album
This was the CD that bridged the gap between pop and opera. This is something that no other opera singer was able to do, certainly not on such a grandly successful scale. With his singing diversity of style (alternating between a bluesy pop voice and a clear and powerful operatic one), Andrea Bocelli did a fantastic job of putting together a great collection of first-rate songs and adding his own tremendous voice to them, a simply stunning achievement. Many of the songs are deeply moving with breathtaking moments. If you like Bocelli, you must give Sarah Brightman a chance, another opera diva with an accessible reportoir who does the pop thing very well.

David Rehak
author of "Love and Madness"

5-0 out of 5 stars italian review
Im a freshman at uc berkeley (yeah with that she bangs guy). andrea is MUCH better. i don't mind him going into pop. next pavarotti pretty much, i think. i finished taking upto italian 4 (basically the prereqs for an italian studies major), and this cd helped me review my italian. it has a lot of that subjunctive tense that i hate, but i still remember it through this cd. it's so powerful. especially the song with "fosse dentro te." and then there's that really mellow ballad. i don't know the names of this song cuz i downloaded the whole album off of winmx. oh yeah, "vivo per lei" is also a great song too. the german translation of that song is cool too. ... Read more


16. Highlights From The Phantom Of The Opera: The Original Cast Recording (1986 London Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B000001FLQ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 577
Average Customer Review: 4.76 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Highlight versions of cast recordings are by definition a compromise, and this reduction of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera is no exception. Weighing in at 59 minutes, it's over 40 minutes shorter than the two-disc version, excising many musical scenes that convey the flow and impact of the show (which include, admittedly, a lot of patter and screaming). On the other hand, all the hits are here--"Think of Me," "Angel of Music," the title tune, "The Music of the Night," "All I Ask of You," "Masquerade," and "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again"--and Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman are still on hand to make their distinctive contributions to the original London cast. So if you're looking for a convenient, inexpensive single disc that will let you enjoy Lloyd Webber's scrumptious melodies without having to immerse yourself in the action, this just might be for you.--David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (67)

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Terrific, not to mention terrifying!
I have yet to buy the complete CD version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's haunting musical version of the classic love story The Phantom of the Opera, but my copy of 'Highlights' is nearly ten years old...and I still love it.
Michael Crawford was not only the first man to play the title character but in my opinion he must be the best. Surely, it's impossible for anyone to be better than him. His voice is magnificent, his cackling laugh keeps me up at night and even on a recording his sorrow and anger seem so real.
Although I've heard she's not much of an actress, vocally Sarah Brightman is amazing as Christine, a talented opera singer and the object of the phantom's desire.
Steve Barton sings the part of Raoul, Christine's old friend and love interest. He's very good which is why it's a shame his career didn't get more of a boost out of his performance.
In fact the whole cast is simply amazing. In songs like 'Masquerade' it becomes very clear to even be in the chorus of this spine-tingling musical you have to be very, very good.
Some will appreciate this CD more after having seen it live, but in my opinion every single person should own a copy of this tremendously good recording.

5-0 out of 5 stars One Phantastic Soundtrack
I saw The Phantom of the Opera nearly three years ago, and I remember it like I just saw it yesterday. The acting is superbe and the music is magnificent!! The entire soundtrack (it's a double cd) is great, but if you are just looking for the "main" songs, then the Highlights CD is just as good. Every time I listen to this CD, the play vividly comes to life, and I feel exactly what all of the characters are feeling....especially the Phantom. The play is wonderful...the music is even better!! You will definitely not be sorry that you bought this soundtrack.

5-0 out of 5 stars This started my Crawford Kick!!!!
I never heard of Mike before hearing this in 6th grade....

I was absolutely memorized by this man's voice--and boy
if i was the only one in the classromm, i would have started crying...his singing was so cystyalized- seems like he puts
all genuine emotion in his voice and it shows....

I love when he sings with the music box in the last song....
that's better than a full orchestra...

Or Michael with that haunting piano in song 6..that'll
do it to me....

I now have joined the Michael Crawford International
Fan Club Association (well not yet, i plan to!!)--

I saw the Phantom 2wice in my life.... with Ted Keegan
and Colm Wilkonson in the lead roles respectively---

Just holds no candle to Mike.....

5-0 out of 5 stars The Abriged Phantom of the Opera
Highlight versions of cast recordings can be convient -- nice price, one disc, shorter runtime, and all of the big numbers. I originally bought this highlights version a couple months before seeing the show because I didn't have the money for the two-disc complete recording, and it is a decent purchase. All the standout songs are here -- Think of Me, the title song, Angel of Music, All I Ask of You, Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again, and others -- and for the curious who may never see the show but want a sample of it anyway, this is likely more than enough. But I made a mistake buying this over the complete set, because as soon as you see the show you'll be dying to have it all. Yes, the big ones are here, but there's so much wonderful stuff that you miss with this one, especially little things connecting the big numbers. Notes and Magical Lasso are perticularly missed here. It may not be important to you now but once you've seen the show you'll want it. So my advice is skip this version and save up a little more money for the complete double-disc album. You'll be glad you did.

5-0 out of 5 stars Audiophile friendly
I agree with the other many positive reviews. In adition if you have a high end system, the recording reproduces the soundstage and imaging of the performance. As an example in the last piece you can follow the performers moving across the stage providing a "you are (almost) there" experience. ... Read more


17. Star Wars: Episode II, Attack of the Clones
list price: $13.98
our price: $13.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000062VVV
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 7554
Average Customer Review: 4.35 out of 5 stars
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There's never been anything quite like the symphonic film music series that John Williams has forged for George Lucas's sprawling Star Wars saga. By the time the sixth chapter rolls around, Williams will have created a body of work that spans fully 30 years of his career, a virtual Ring Cycle of sci-fi/fantasy soundtrack music. While Attack of the Clones again achieves the high standards of its predecessors, it also succeeds by both forging some rewarding new musical themes at the same time it begins to bring the galactic fable full circle. The budding relationship between now-teenaged Anakin Skywalker and Amidala/Padme is informed by "Across the Stars--Love Theme from Attack of the Clones," a grand romantic motif that's infused with a subtle melancholy that hints at the tragedy that must ultimately befall the young lovers. The composer's mastery of idiom and color serve him especially well in the action cues, infusing "Zam the Assassin and the Chase Through Coruscant" and "Jango's Escape" with bracing doses of 20th-century modernism and its inherent rhythmic fury performed, as always, by the London Symphony Orchestra. Williams also incorporates the "Force" and "Jedi" themes of the first SW trilogy sparingly, before "Confrontation with Count Dooku and Finale" completes the musical/thematic tapestry by interweaving The Empire Strikes Back's menacing "Imperial March" with both the new "Love Theme" and the Phantom Menace's dramatic choral showcase "Duel of the Fates." This sweeping denouement should rightfully take its place among the saga's most compelling musical sequences. Purists may grouse at the obviously abridged music here, but given history a complete/ultimate edition of the score can't be far behind. This soundtrack is issued with one of four different, collectible covers. --Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (211)

5-0 out of 5 stars Without giving away too much...
What do Schindler's List, The Patriot, Saving Private Ryan, and Jurassic Park have in common? The musical scores for those films have all been composed and conducted by John Williams, the muscial mastermind of Attack Of The Clones. With 170 musical works to his credit, including video games, Williams also wrote all of the music for the entire Star Wars saga to date, and is expected to compose the music for Episode 3 as well. Although I don't want to give a track-by-track analysis like a the previous review, these are my favorite tracks and each gives a reason why this is an excellent CD...

Track 2-Across The Stars: One of the best Star Wars songs written, this is the theme to the love between Anakin and Padme. It starts off with an innocent kind of tone that symbolizes the loving beginnings of their relationship. And the brass instruments complement the powerful implications that the relationship will have for the galaxy.

Track 3-Zam The Assassin/The Chase Through Coruscant: Although it's the longest track, this is my favorite. As it tracks the speeder chase through Coruscant early in the film, the music's intensity reflects the danger of the high-flying chase hundreds of stories above Coruscant's streets. It gives the claustrophobic feeling of Coruscant's streets as well as Anakin's determination to catch Zam the assassin.

Track 8-The Meadow Picnic: This song starts off nicely with a bit of a royalty tone to it, which is well-suited to Padme's high stature in the movie. I love it because of the second half, which was written for Obi-wan's mission after the mysterious Jango Fett. The flutes provide an excellent touch of mystery to the movie's shadowy clone army.

Track 11-The Tusken Camp/The Homestead: The first half is pretty quiet and uninteresting. The second half is incredibly power as Anakin's rage becomes uncontrollable, even by him.

Track 12-Love Pledge/The Arena: Beginning with a surreal version of Across The Stars that shows how Anakin and Padme love each other even to the point of death. The xylophones add a touch of primitiveness to the insectlike Geonosians as Obi-wan, Anakin, and Padme fight for their lives before being saved by the clone army from Kamino.

Track 13-Confrontation With Dooku/Finale: As the Dark Side begins to choke galactic politics, this song begins with a surreal tone that signifies the evil of the Sith. As the movie shifts to the Jedi Temple, it continues to tell of the menacing threat to the Republic that the Jedi must now contend with before moving on to the departure of the clone army from Coruscant as the Clone Wars begin. And, of course, the finale begins in the classical Star Wars way.

Track 14-The Droid Factory: Although not on every single CD, this is a bonus track found in some copies. It begins with an creeping and primal theme for the Geonosians as Anakin and Padme battle their way through the dangerous droid factory on Geonisis in search of Obi-wan. An excellent song with great use of clarinets and xylophones, as well as an exciting ending wrought with trumpets, bass drums, and horns.

4-0 out of 5 stars Gave me goose bumps!
The sound track for "Attack of the Clones" is a definite must have for the Star Wars fan. While drawing on familiar elements from his work on the original trilogy Williams is able to compose some exceptional new material for his latest work.

The best track on the CD is the one entitled "Zam The Assassin and The Chase Through Coruscant". This selection combines the expected classical elements with an urban techno feel. The love theme entitled "Across the Stars" is somewhat reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet by Tchaikovsky. It is upbeat and melancholy at the same time.

My only criticism's are that the love theme is repeated too liberally amongst the other tracks of the CD. In addition, although the more dramatic tracks are good none matches the power of "The Duel of Fates" from the Episode I soundtrack (elements of which are incorporated into one of the tracks).

In the final analysis this is a fine addition to the body of work John Williams has composed for the Star Wars saga. It gave me goose bumps at times. Which to me is a hallmark of good classical music. Further, the track titles did not convey any spoiler information. One of the track titles for the Episode I soundtrack was "Qui-Gon's Noble End" which betrayed the climax of the film.

A solid effort all around.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
In my opinion John Williams is one of the best composers of our time...if not THE best. Each and every score he produces is wonderful and creates the perfect atmosphere for each scene in the movies. I especially love "across the stars" and it is my absoloute favourite classical song. It is so hauntingly beautiful and I think that John Williams has captured the meaning of Anikan and Padme's forbiden love perfectly! This soundtrack is a must have for any fan of movie music!

1-0 out of 5 stars Poor Quality
WHY THE HISSING? 1 star for the poor quality of the magnificent soundtrack "Across The Stars".

"Across The Stars" track is an excellent 5-star song but the sound quality sucks. How can a John Williams' Star Wars score in 2003 be so poorly mastered? The hissing is very very loud; it harms the delicacy of the beautiful romantic theme. I couldn't believe it. No, I'm not an audiophile; the flaw on this CD is obvious.

It's really disappointing.

5-0 out of 5 stars More Brilliance from John Williams
The soundtrack for Star Wars Episode II is as good as anything as Williams has ever produced and more than lives us to his startling legacy in scoring soundtracks. Accross the Stars, the love theme in Episode II, is as good as any theme Williams has composed in the Star Wars series and the soundtrack combines the many classics that Williams has scored the series (including Impercial March, Duel of Fates and Yoda's theme). A must buy for any Star Wars fan or any fan of classical music. ... Read more


18. Finding Neverland
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0002TQZTE
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1168
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As did the Lewis Carroll/Alice in Wonderland-rooted Dreamchild before it, Finding Neverlandexplores the all-too-human roots of an English children' s literature classic, in this case author James Mathew Barrie's (Johnny Depp) enduring fable, Peter Pan. Polish stage composer cum film scorer Jan A. P. Kaczmarek takes the film's fantasy-leavened, yet ultimately bittersweet tale of Barrie, his losing battle with adulthood and the magic world of prose it inspired and invests it with an exuberant score that positively pulses with youthful abandon. Dominated by joyous writing for strings, winds and children's chorus and punctuated by the effervescent solo piano flourishes of Leszek Mozdzer (and a few other inviting ethnic conceits), the composer's music not only playfully vamps the tale's Edwardian era, but does it with an ear towards optimistic, youthful energy that's irresistible. Mozdzer also contributes several masterful solo piano interpretations of Kaczmarek's themes that, while not strictly a part of the film's score, contribute greatly to making this album a compelling whole unto itself. --Jerry McCulley ... Read more


19. Josh Groban Live at The Greek (CD/DVD)
list price: $29.98
our price: $20.99
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Asin: B00063LTH4
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 18
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If Josh Groban's unabashedly melodramatic musical fusion inspires grousing on both sides of the classical/pop pundit divide, the screams of the (mostly) young female fans that punctuate these 2004 performances at L.A.'s historic Greek theater better underscore the real point. This set's CD and more expansive DVD complement each other well; if anything, supplemented by a live string ensemble and crack backing band, they're a warmer, more focused showcase for the singer's talents than the studio albums that made his meteoric fame. In peak form, Groban variously delivers forceful renditions of his pop-operatic powerhouses "Canto Alla Vita" and "Anna Luce Del Sole" (the former featuring a drum solo [!] from Groban, the latter a fine guest turn by Bela Fleck on banjo), takes a surprising solo piano break on Paul Simon's "America," waxes Central Asian on Troy's "Remember" and brings the crowd to its feet with the heart-on-his-sleeve dramatics of Closer's "Never Let Go." They're all informed by the singer's insouciant, youthful enthusiasm, arguing that Groban is gifted with more than just a magnificent voice; he's a complete natural as a performer as well. The DVD also includes a tour diary narrated with typical charm by the singer, as well as bonus live performance of "Believe" from the Polar Express soundtrack. --Jerry McCulley ... Read more


20. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
list price: $19.98
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000DZEA1
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 163
Average Customer Review: 4.69 out of 5 stars
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This final chapter of Peter Jackson's sprawling adaptation of Tolkien's "Ring" trilogy closes out one of the most accomplished cycles in cinema--and film music--history. As he's done for the saga's first two installments, composer Howard Shore has honed a mature, brooding orchestral masterpiece that's long on subtle shadings of mood and nuance, while eschewing the hollow bombast that's characterized all too many mainstream action and adventure films for three decades. If anything, he's pared this chapter of his music for Middle Earth even closer to the bone, the trilogy's familiar themes repeated with a sparing hand that only heightens their dramatic power. Like Herrmann before him, Shore has a preternatural understanding of orchestral timbres and their almost mystical connections with human emotions, and he's used it here to close out this remarkable trilogy with Wagnerian dramatic sweep, yet one with a distinctly modern, understated melodic sense that is Shore's alone. James Galway and Renee Fleming make key instrumental and vocal contributions, respectively, while Annie Lennox's soulful "Into the West" makes the expected, if unobtrusive, bow to the theatrical pop song conventions.--Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (217)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Satisfying Conclusion
I had high expectations for this soundtrack, and at first I was rather disappointed in what I heard. Most of the songs seemed almost the same, soft and wandering.

However, I soon discarded that and came to my senses. To fully enjoy the music of Return of the King one must listen to the entire disc together. This helped me get the feel of what seemed to be missing.

Overall, while I enjoyed the soundtrack, I believe the first two sounded much more wholesome, more rich with a varied sound to it.

There were less loud, rousing pieces to this edition, the only real ones being "Minas Tirith" and "The Pelennor Fields".

The real highlight of the CD was the final track "Into the West", sung by Annie Lennox. It makes up for all the shortcomings I think lay in this album and almost sinlge-handedly proves the CD's worth. It is an incredible song incorporating text from the novel and manages to sound both sad and joyful at the same time. If Howard Shore and Annie Lennox are not awarded at the Academy Awards this year for their efforts, then there is no justice left in this world.

5-0 out of 5 stars Music Have Never Sounded This Good; Beautiful pieces!
This soundtrack is simply amazing. From start to finish, I was enthralled by the beautiful sounds of Middle-Earth that Howard Shore has created.

A Storm Is Coming is a combination of several past sounds with new music incorporated into one beautiful introduction. Hope And Memory is one of my favourites; in fact its my ultimate favourite! This part was when Gandalf and Peregrin Took ride to Minas Tirith. A touching piece. Minas Tirith theme is another awesome track with loud and bold sounds of the horn. With the voice of Ben del Mestro adds more color and beauty to the city of Minas Tirith.

The Steward Of Gondor is a wonderful piece with the voice of Billy Boyd (when Gondor's army march to the city of Osgilliath to retake it under the order of Lord Denethor). It sounds so sad in the end.

Another of my favorites is Twilight And Shadow. I must confess that ALL compositions by Howard for the Elf kind is always soothing and filled with so much emotions. This song is so sad when Arwen is leaving to the West and sees the vision of her son with Aragorn. Her determination to be with the latter is so strong that she went back to Rivendell. The music suits the scene so well.

The rest of the pieces are beautiful as well and I can't describe all cos it'll be super long. All I can say is that this soundtrack is a classic and will be one of those songs that will be familiar to you 10 years down the road.
Kudos to Howard Shore. Amazing work of perfection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Into the West and into Greatness
In a time when most studios bank on a combination of bubble gum pop, hip hop and rap to sell soundtracks for a film, we are gifted with true greatness. Howard Shore looked at each film as a separate entity that required a continuous bridge as a theme, and different voices to carry each movie to the next. You had Enya (May it Be) for Fellowship of the Ring. For the Two Towers it was Sheila Chandra (Breath of Life), Isabel Bayrakdarian (Evenstar), Ben Del Maestro (Forth Eorlingas, and with Elizabeth Fraser on Isengard Unleashed) and Emiliana Torrini (Gollum's Song.)

On the final soundtrack, we get a host of voices to treasure. We have the sublime in Renee Fleming (Twilight and Shadow, The End of All Things) and Ben del Maestro (Minas Tirith). We also have the flute of James Galway (The Black Gate Opens, The Grey Havens.) But what is most endearing is the voice of Billy Boyd (The Steward of Gondor)and Viggo Mortensen (The Return of the King) singing laments to mark their historical journeys.

Peter Jackson has created a gut wrenching, emotional trilogy. Howard Shore has blessed us with music that grabs your heart and soul and never lets go. I highly recommend all three magnificant sound tracks.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Howard Shore has proved himself as a musical genius in The Lord of the Rings soundtracks. As the Amazon reviewer said, he mystically ties emotion and music into one beautifully. Every single track has something special here. I have never before heard music that could be so haunting, so inspiring, so beautiful, and so deeply emotional as this. If you are a LOTR fan, or just a fan of soundtracks, this is a must-buy. You will not be dissappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars excelent and epic...
This score was beautifully, and masterfully crafted. I love the "Into the West" Theme that occurs so often... The song Grey Havens nearly brought me to tears the first time I heard it and continues to be one of the most beatiful pieces of music I have ever heard written for an orchestra. Every time I hear it, I get chills. This score takes you places as only excelent music can do. Howard Shore is a gifted and brilliant composer and director... This score and its two companion scores (LOTR 1 and 2) are incredibly moving and well-crafted! ... Read more


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