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121. Mozart: Requiem / McNair, Watkinson,
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122. Mozart: Great Piano Concertos,
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123. Alexander (Score)
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124. Man of La Mancha (Original 1965
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125. 25 Bach Favorites
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126. The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection
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127. Classical Music for People Who
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128. Cieli di Toscana
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129. The Lion King: Special Edition
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130. The Red Violin: Original Motion
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131. Tchaikovsky: Concerto No. 1/Rachmaninoff:
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132. Tchaikovsky: Symphonies no 4,
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133. Little Shop of Horrors (2003 Broadway
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134. Carnivale
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135. Band of Brothers
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136. La Luna
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137. Caroline, or Change (2004 Original
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138. Troy: Music From The Motion Picture
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139. The Opera Band
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140. Star Wars: Episode V - Empire

121. Mozart: Requiem / McNair, Watkinson, Araiza, Lloyd; Marriner
list price: $16.98
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Asin: B000004137
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1871
Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

This recording of the Süssmayr completion of Mozart's beloved Requiem remains one of the most interpretively faithful and musically satisfying versions in the catalog. Sir Neville Marriner, whose contribution to the soundtrack of the film Amadeus helped launch a worldwide Mozart revival, delivers Mozart's inspired music with a masterful command of style and substance. He's not trying to prove anything, but rather lets the music deliver its own profound and moving messages. --David Vernier ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Recording in the Marriner Style
I own 4 recordings of Mozart's Requiem, and this one is one of my favorites. Marriner's version is brighter and quicker than the others I have, giving it more energy. It does have a darker feel in places, as it should being a requiem. For a truely dark rendition, I would have to recommend Karajan.

The sound quality of the recording is excellent (DDD). I found myself wishing for more from the tenors in a few places, but that is simply a matter of taste.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Work
Perhaps the best recording of this powerful work by Mozart.

5-0 out of 5 stars maravillosa!!!
coincido con los comentarios de otros en la espléndida participación de la soprano en el introito, en verdad parece la voz de un angel. debo solo agregar que es uno de las versiones de este requiem de Mozart que me ponen los pelos de punta, realmente me pone en contacto con el más allá, un exquisto trabajo sobre la muerte (no precisamente la del compositor). después de escuchar la versión de Sir Neville Mariner, muy pocas otras versiones me han gustado y me han emocionado tanto como ésta.

5-0 out of 5 stars espléndida
ya muchos han descrito las grandes maravillas que esta versión del requiem posee. indudablemente, la voz de la soprano es la mejor que oido para el requiem de Mozart. desde el introito la soprano se impone, irónicamente, con su delicada voz de angel. Solo diré que despues de escuchar la versión de Mariner, no he vuelto a oir otra versión que me impacte tanto como ésta, ningun otro "lacrimosa" de este mismo requiem me ha conmovido tanto como el que se presenta en este disco, y ninguna otra versión de este mismo requiem me ha hecho pensar tanto en la muerte como éste.

4-0 out of 5 stars Can't go wrong
This is a very fine recording of the Mozart Requiem. You won't find much fault with it. Great energy, tempo, dynamics, soloists. Sir Neville loves his Mozart! ... Read more


122. Mozart: Great Piano Concertos, Vol. 2
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Asin: B0000041AB
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5006
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars Such a bargain.
Here are five of Mozart's finest piano concertos within a two-disk set which is the companion of a volume one.

This is vintage and essential Brendel and is very good. Not excellent, not truly beautiful, not illuminating, but good, intellectual, workmanlike Brendel. His tone is just about perfect and his attention to detail is admirable. The slow movement of no. 15 is probably the finest track in this entire set - Brendel develops the theme along with Mozart's subtle recontouring and harmonic changes. Tempi are well-chosen, the orchestra is standard Marriner (excellent), and absolutely nothing is out-of-place.

The recording quality is good, although it reveals its age in that it is not as clear as modern recordings and the bass is sometimes murky or "fuzzy".

This is a minor point, but any collection that bills itself as "The Great Piano Concertos" and doesn't include no. 17 is, in my opinion, incomplete. Thankfully, the brilliant and utterly soulless no. 26 is not included.

These are good recordings for the price and are an excellent introduction to Mozart's piano concertos.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brendel....My Favourite Performer of Mozart and Beethoven
Mozart is the greatest composer of all times...and his best works are his late piano concertos...Brendel is one of the best Mozart performer of all times (in my opinion)...The combination of this situation gives us a great recording...And the orchestra...Academy of St. Martin in the Fields...They are the most experienced orchestra about Mozart.Because Phillips had an engagement with this orchestra to record Mozart's complete works...They have the Mozart soul...Everything is wonderful about this recording...but there is only one problem...we can't say that it is a real problem but there is a wrong note played by Brendel in 22nd concerto's 2nd part during the 5th minute...
well if we look at the whole performance everything makes me forget about this wrong note...it is the one you have to get ...you Can't go wrong if you buy the combination of Mozart and Brendel and ofcourse the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields...

5-0 out of 5 stars Great performances, great price
This is an inexpensive way to get five concertos by two great Mozarteans: Brendel and Marriner. The recordings are from their much-lauded cycle dating from the 70s and early 80s. These are great performances, and this release includes Brendel's compelling 9 and his nonpareil 15.

This recording of 9 is my all-time favorite, surpassing even the marvelous Ashkenazy/Kertesz (London). In 15, perfect tempos and perfectly judged phrasing, along with the superb orchestral accompaniment, make this one simply unbeatable. II is exceptionally beautiful. At 1:49, where the strings take over the melody and the piano plays arpeggios, it's just gorgeous beyond belief. No other recording of this moves me more. I can find nothing wrong with Brendel's 22, but here he doesn't smile as much as Barenboim (EMI) and Ashkenazy (London). It's worth mentioning that 22 is split between the two discs.

25 is the only concerto from this cycle with Marriner that was recorded live. It's a barnburner and Brendel is superb throughout. You'll never guess it's live until III, where it becomes quite obvious. Two more great 25s are Barenboim (EMI) and Ashkenazy (London). Brendel is graceful in 27 and the Academy plays wonderfully. But my favorite here is Serkin/Abbado (DG), which, for me, yields the best blend of sunlight and darkness in this reflective piece. Also not to be missed is the almost miraculous performance by Emil Gilels with Karl Böhm and the Vienna Philharmonic. There is also the very fine recording by Daniel Barenboim on EMI.

There is a companion to this release on Philips that includes five more Mozart concertos: Brendel's fabulous 19 and 23 along with 20, 21 and 24. If you like this cycle, you can always go for the complete set of concertos by Brendel and Marriner (Philips 422 507), like I eventually did.
Cheers,
Murray

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent performances of excellent music
See my review for Vol. 1 of 'The Great' Piano Concertos. All the same stuff applies.

Great performances by a great pianist of great classical music. What more could you ask for?

It is said that Mozart brought the piano concerto to maturity. If you listen to these, you will ponder how a piano conerto could get any better. If I had to choose one composer to listen to for the rest of my life, it would be Mozart. I can't recommend this enough to anyone who likes (or thinks they might like) classical music.

4-0 out of 5 stars This one has some DDD
Persons ( a fan what people use in summer time) mkp51 and A music fan, and other potencial buyers, on volume 2 Philips gave us some DDD recording.

The concerto Nº 9 , Mozart wrote for his own enjoiment.

On volume 1 concerto Nº 23 the second movement was used for tv series "The charter house of Parma" ... Read more


123. Alexander (Score)
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Asin: B00064AF1E
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 885
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Amazon.com

Put the saga of history's greatest overachiever -- Macedonian emperor Alexander the Great had conquered 90% of the pre-Christian world before his death at 32 -- in the hands of Hollywood's favorite over-reacher, Oliver Stone, and the result is three-hours ofepic blood 'n' bathos. The soundtrack by Greek synth-score pioneer Vangelis Papathanassiou may be bookended by heroic orchestral/choral pomp of suitable scale and melodic dignity, but they buttress a far more compelling cocktail of primitive martial rhythms ("Drums of Gaugamela") and ancient ethnic-folk conceits ("Roxanne's Dance"). Though his film scores have become increasingly rare since the twin breakthroughs of his Oscar-winning Chariots of Fire and the sci-fi masterpieceBladerunner, his work here argues that Vangelis' restless curiosity and musical range have only blossomed in the ensuing decades. With the exception of the final, club-targeted bonus cut, gone are his once overt electronics, replaced by a more organic, post-modern sense of fusion that evinces itself seductively on cues like "One Morning at Pella" and "Eastern Path."Elsewhere, cuts like "Across the Mountains" and "Tender Memories" are powered by Vangelis' trademark graceful lyricism, a trait that helps set this score apart from sword 'n' sandal contemporaries like Gladiator and Troy.--Jerry McCulley ... Read more


124. Man of La Mancha (Original 1965 Broadway Cast)
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Asin: B00005A8KE
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2017
Average Customer Review: 4.76 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Man of La Mancha, the show that introduced "The Impossible Dream"to the world (and lounge singers everywhere), was the hit of the 1965Broadway season. Richard Kiley is magnificent in his career-definingperformance as the deluded wannabe knight Don Quixote. His leading lad JoanDiener sings the role of the kitchen wench Aldonza with just the right balanceof dignity and vulgarity. Irving Jacobson turns in a fine comicperformance as the Don's faithful squire, Sancho Panza. The score,with music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion, was revolutionary in its time.The orchestra had no violins--just brass, woodwinds, percussion, and flamencoguitars. Man of La Mancha is one of Broadway's most inspiringmusicals and it well deserves its high reputation. --Michael Simmons ... Read more

Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars "I shall impersonate...a man."
Richard Kiley shines as Don Quixote in this original 1965 Broadway cast recording of MAN OF LA MANCHA. Listening to his voice, one can "see" the legendary "knight" he portrays: a man with noble ideals and a gleam of madness in his eye. Joan Diener, though her tone occasionally grates, inhabits the character of Aldonza, the prostitute whom the Don imagines as a lady of spotless virtue, "Dulcinea." Another standout in the cast is tenor Robert Rounseville, who as the sympathetic "Padre" sings the lovely "To Each His Dulcinea," a song that should be much better known than it is. The recording includes the Don's death scene, and it is very moving, with wonderful acting from Kiley and Diener. The recorded sound itself is bright and vivid. And there is that delightful Al Hirshfeld drawing on the CD cover! No Broadway CD collection is complete without this MAN OF LA MANCHA.

5-0 out of 5 stars AN INCOMPARABLE MUSICAL...GLORIOUS IN EVERY WAY!
This is one of the all time best musicals. The music and lyrics are yet to be rivaled by any other musical. There is not one bad track on the entire CD. The cast does an outstanding job. When one hears Richard Kiley sing, he does so with such feeling that he makes one weep. Whether it be "Man of La Mancha", "Dulcinea", or "The Impossible Dream", one cannot help but be moved. Juxtapose those songs to the despairing refrains of "It's All the Same" and "Aldonza" or to the light and whimsical "I Like Him" and "A Little Gossip", and it is no wonder to the discerning listener that the original Broadway show was a long running hit. Every song is terrific!

Having been fortunate enough to have seen "Man of La Mancha" when it was first on Broadway, I can attest to the powerful effect that the music had on the audience. This is a wonderful recording that brings back memories. The original cast was magnificent, and this CD is a memorable recording of their triumph. No music collection should be without this CD. It is positively glorious!

5-0 out of 5 stars Brings back memories
When I was 15, I took a School Field trip to The Martin Beck Theatre in NYC to see this play on Broadway. This CD rekindled the joy and satisfaction of that day many years ago. I enjoyed it then, and I enjoy it now. One of the best. Thank you Miss Brach , wherever you are ,for taking us on that field trip.

5-0 out of 5 stars Certainly better than the movie cast!
The only other time I heard this music is when I watched the movie, and this CD is so much better than that! Everything is well done- the voices are excellent! It is thrilling to listen to this fun yet sad CD. I would recommend it to anyone who likes musicals. :-)

5-0 out of 5 stars The only musical like
I is a great CD to listen to, most of my friends think I am nuts but I like this musical and the CD is great. ... Read more


125. 25 Bach Favorites
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Asin: B0000058I1
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5409
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Back To Bach: 25 Smash Hits
Johann Sebastian Bach, without a doubt in any music scholar's mind, was the greatest composer of the Baroque Period. His flair for instrumental music was rich, melodic and grand. He mastered everything that could possibly be mastered as far as Baroque musical convention- except for opera. Had Bach also taken an interest in writing music for operas, like George Frederic Handel did, he would have gone above and beyond. This collection is affordable and offers you 25 of his musical works that best depicts his style. The compilation album is one in the many series of "25 Favorites". Others include 25 Handel favorites, 25 Vivaldi Favorites, 25 Mozart Favorites, 25 Beethoven favorites, 25 Tchaikovsky favorites, 25 Dance Favorites and 25 Opera Favorites.

The album opens with the famous Toccata And Fugue In D Minor, originally a work for the organ. It was later re-made into a work for full orchestra. The conductor Leopold Stokowski popularized the music in Disney's Fantasia 1940. The "evil" sound of the ominous organ, particularily the opening toccata, was featured in the original 1930's "Dracula". It is still regarded as a sort of Halloween anthem. The toccata, strongly accented, is followed by a lyrical fugue which he builds on later to a dramatic crescendo and finale. This was Bach's specialty- counterpoint; many melodies being played at once. Also worth noticing is that Baroque music always ended in a decidely dramatic major chord because it was thought to really be the right way to end a piece of music. Bach could never imagine closing his music in pianissimo or a minor chord because it would seem unfinished. The rest of this album features Bach's Brandenburg concerti excerpts, Organ Prelude, Well-Tempered Clavier keyboard music, works for chorus Magnificat and Mass in B, Violin Concertos 1 and 2 and Harpsichord concertos. The Mainz Chamber Orchestra, which is mostly featured on here, may not be the most talented or perfect Baroque performers, but they do deliver a splendid job. If anything, this cd should get you hooked into Bach.

5-0 out of 5 stars It contains many of bachs greatest works.
This CD contains many excerpts from Brandenburg Concertos and organ music. It has excerpts from 3 Concertos for Harpsichords. I'd say this is an excellent Cd! You should buy it if you dont already own it! ... Read more


126. The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection
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Asin: B00000I0XW
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1197
Average Customer Review: 4.11 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

Sarah Brightman's career was launched by her success in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera, so it's no surprise to hear the soprano paying homage to the composer on this disc. Really a Brightman best-of, the album includes the Phantom theme (a duet with Michael Crawford), the light-opera fare of "Chanson D'enfance" from Aspects of Love, "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" from Evita, and numerous other Lloyd Webber classics. Throughout, Brightman's diminutive voice lends a fragility to these musical theater tunes that you'll either love or despise. On Evita's "Another Suitcase, Another Hall" and Cats' "Memory," she literally chirps through the vocal lines. No matter. The growing legion of Brightman fans wouldn't have it any other way. --Jason Verlinde ... Read more

Reviews (80)

5-0 out of 5 stars She's still happily married to his music
Sarah Brightman and Andrew Lloyd Webber are no longer married to each other, but as I stated above, she's still happily married to his music. I was raised during the Rodgers & Hammerstein era nd it took me time to grow to apprciate Webber's influence on musical drama. Sarah Brightman's performances of Webber's music has been instrumental in my tastes maturing with the development of Broadway musical plays. No matter how often I listen to them, "Phantom of the Opera", "All I Ask of You", "Music of the Night", "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina", "Memory", all remain fresh while the less familiar works become more precious with repeat listening. Also outstanding is the theme song Webber wrote for the Barcelona games and sung by Sarah and Jose Carreras, "Amigos Por Siempre". And don't overlook the devout rendition of "Pie Jesus", a duet with Paul Miles-Kingston, from "Requiem". Other notable voices on the CD are: Michael Crawford, Cliff Richard, and Sir John Gielgud.

There are those who might not like this CD which is one of my favorites, but the only people I would advise not to buy this are those who just don't like the modern theater music as represented by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

4-0 out of 5 stars Spotty "Collection"
Not many people have a musical written around their voice, but that's what Andrew Lloyd Webber did for ex-wife Sarah Brightman, by creating the classic "Phantom of the Opera" musical. And in "The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection," Brightman sings various songs from Webber's works -- some mesh with her voice, and some don't.

It starts off on a strong note with the gothic "The Phantom Of The Opera," a duet with Michael Crawford. Following that is the ethereal "Unexpected Song," the rich but forgettable "Chanson D'Enfance," and the enchanting "All I Ask Of You," a duet with Cliff Richards. Following a few dud songs are the warm "Love Changes Everything," the Latin-tinged "Amigos Para Siempre (Friends For Life)" with Jose Carreras, and the entertaining duet with John Gielgud, "Gus the Theatre Cat."

Brightman starts to falter with "Don't Cry For Me Argentina," "Another Suitcase in Another Hall," and "Memory." Her voice sounds restricted and uneasy, and at times her crystalline vocals sound shrill. "Maclivity: The Mystery Cat" is perhaps the lowest point of "Collection," with Brightman sounding completely weird. But the album rises again with the gently melancholy "Tell Me on a Sunday," soaring "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again," and finishing up with the majestic "Music of the Night."

Certain voices are best suited for certain songs, and Brightman's vocals are clearly suited for songs from "Phantom of the Opera" and "Aspects of Love." Some of the songs sound astounding and heartfelt, but some of them just sound strange coming in her rich soprano.

Brightman's voice is given a good range -- she can sing in a little high girlish voice, soar like an operatic diva, or just sound sweet. At her best, Brightman can give you goosebumps. In many of the songs, she emotes subtlely, as if she really feels the heartbreak, joy and fear behind the songs. But when her voice is poorly used, as in the "Evita" songs, she just sounds confused.

The selection itself can't be faulted -- there's stuff from "Cats," "Phantom," "Evita," and other Webber musicals. And Webber's writing is just beautiful, simple and heartfelt: "In all your fantasies/You always knew/That man and mystery/ Were both in you..."

Sarah Brightman is not in top form in the "Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection," but in several songs she is simply astounding. Flawed but definitely worth checking out.

4-0 out of 5 stars How ALW Should be
This is a very good compilation of ALW songs. Sarah Brightman is a very good vocalist. Her voice can be shrill sometimes, but the good dominates the bad. The songs are very good choice for a CD. What ALW album would be complete without songs from "Phantom"? Some of the songs are featured on every tribute and compilation album, but there are some hard to find ones. ALW is a very good composer of Popular songs, but they dont seem to work well in his shows. This is the ultimate way to experience him at his best.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautifull Singing
Her rendition of Chanson D'Enfance is wonderfull.
While her version of Don't Cry for me Argentina lacks the bite necessary to listen to it in the context of the play, it is much better as a stand alone song than the original version with Elaine Paige. Sarah sings the song rather than the part.
Her delivery of Another Suitcase in Another Hall is just incredible. I can accept the reduction in the marimba part just for her delivery of the opening to each verse. That song alone is worth the money.
Otherwise it is quite good. The only song that I feel is anything but strong would be her rendition of Memory.

1-0 out of 5 stars Dim Brightman
I don't get it and I never will. I first saw Brightman as Christine Daae in ALW's "The Phantom of the Opera," in April, 1988. Her voice was both shrill and weak back then and nothing has changed. Don't Cry for Me Argentina and Unexpected Song are the only two songs she can tackle other than Phantom obviously. Otherwise, you'll find yourself skipping through ALW's beautiful work to find something that won't blow your ear drums. Mem'ry is a disaster of epic proportions and should NEVER have been recorded.

I have followed Brightman's career since April of 1988 and fail to understand her popularity. There is nothing unique or spectucular about her voice. Case closed. ... Read more


127. Classical Music for People Who Hate Classical Music
list price: $19.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B000003QWH
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2355
Average Customer Review: 3.65 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (23)

3-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but not the best performances
I fondly remember the LP record "Classical Music for People who Hate Classical Music" from my undergraduate days in the early 1960's. Now I teach music literature online and in college. I haven't purchased this CD yet because of a couple of disastrous customer reviews and its price.

Most customers who purchased this don't seem to know much about classical music, but like this CD very much. I've noticed that unsophisticated listeners like music that's well performed much better than mediocre performances by "no-name performers" and performances that were digitally recorded better than those that were transcribed from analog to digital, even though they usually can't explain why they like one better than the other. I listened to the samples on your web site. The performances weren't great, but the pieces were very "forgiving" (even played badly they sound good).

Your top 500 reviewer, John Grabowski, trashed this CD for good reasons, but he's trashed some other things I like too, for good, thoughtful reasons. I decided to buy the CD anyway. If it's as good as I remember, I'll play some of it in my class. If it's as bad as he says, I'll give it to my brother-in-law.
Thomas J. Donahue, M.A., Ed.S., Ph.D.

5-0 out of 5 stars I'm Sorry, Bob!
I don't hate Classical Music. I just don't know much about it. This kinda K-tel's Greatest Hits of Classical Music 4 CD set is not for the Classical Music afficiando. It is McClassical for the masses. It is an overview - a Classical Music 101 that is a lovely motivational background for housework & home office work (I find myself playing "Name That Tune" as I whistle while I work,) and it soothes the soul of the savage beast (Lucy Inda Sky, my Basset Hound.) /TundraVision, Amazon Reviewer

5-0 out of 5 stars for classical beginners
I understand the criticisms that have been levelled at this CD set, and the criticisms are sometimes more or less fair, but the point of this anthology, the aim of it, is to make classical as accessible and enjoyable as possible for people totally new to it, who don't own any classial music. It's true that a lot of this is lite easy listening, but certainly not all. I mean, look at Beethoven's finale from Symphony No. 9 "choral" or Offenbach's Can-Can. Those are pretty heavy, powerful pieces, and fast. Whatever its drawbacks, this is an excellent introduction to accessible classical music which has a good catchy tune to it and will show you that there's a lot in classical that doesn't suck, and there are many composers and songs on here, so you will find something(s) here to like a lot, if you come to it with an open mind.

David Rehak
author of "A Young Girl's Crimes"

3-0 out of 5 stars It all depends on the listener.
Whether this is a good introduction to classical music, or will instead turn people off even more, depends on where the listener is coming from.

For those who just don't know much about classical music, maybe aren't very passionate about a particular kind of music in the first place, just want something nice to listen to, or maybe want to explore and learn about classical music but don't know where to start, this may be a perfect introduction.

But for people who actually think they HATE classical music, this may simply emphasize to them all the things they already don't like about it. For the most part, it's pretty, but not powerful. It's polite, but not demonstrative. It's passive, not aggressive. Etc. If you're a fan of rap or hard rock or alternative rock or something that's more or less the opposite of classical music, and hate the dainty, delicate politeness of classical music (not to mention its lack of obvious powerful "beat"), then this won't do anything to change your mind, even though there's a lot of classical music out there that is neither dainty nor delicate and is sometimes not even polite! If what you like about your music is the angst, this collection emphasizes the opposite. There is classical music to equal the intensity and power (and the angst) of the hardest hard rock (and even some with a pretty good beat), but you won't find much of it on this collection.

The most frequent complaint I've heard about classical music from people who don't like it is along the lines of "it puts you to sleep." Like my local classical radio station, which emphasizes "soothing, relaxing, stress-free..." in its marketing, this type of collection only serves to reinforce that attitude.

"Classical Music for Beginners" might be an apt title for this collection, but "...for People Who (Actually) Hate Classical Music" is probably not.

1-0 out of 5 stars Well, they got one thing right...
Judging by the title, I figured I'd somewhat like this cd. I was dead wrong. This cd is straight-up a waste of time, space on a disk, and your life if you decide to buy it! It's the most pathetic attempt at pulling a new crowd into classical music, when the truth is, it sucks anyway! GIVE IT UP!! As for the cd, I don't think it would ever live up to its title. I mean, I hate the cd, therefore I like classical music?!?! WHO DO THEY THINK THEY ARE?! I should sue them! ... Read more


128. Cieli di Toscana
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B00005OWJV
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 721
Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Not content with the simplistic "crossover" formula, superstar tenor Andrea Bocelli has been pursuing alternative paths since he emerged as a vocal phenomenon in the mid-1990s: operatic classics and contemporary popular song. The singer's last few albums have showcased his love for the former (including homages to his beloved Verdi: the Requiem and Verdi aria collection). But Cieli di Toscana ("Tuscan Skies") marks a triumphant return to the pop idiom last explored on Sogno, offering a highly varied series of the kind of beautifully crafted contemporary melodies that initially won Bocelli acclaim.

The familiar cast of songwriter-collaborators (including Francesco Sartori, responsible for the smash success "Time to Say Goodbye") mixes with new blood; Bocelli himself unveils his songwriting talents on "Il Diavolo e l'Angelo." It's a highly produced affair, but behind all the gloss, Bocelli sings with a newfound, relaxed, even mellow quality. There are intimately touching moments--"L'Incontro," a tribute to his first son featuring Bocelli's own poetry as read by U2's Bono--as well as soaring flights of lyricism (the duet "L'Abitudine" with Italian singer Helena). And on "Mascagni," with its quotes from that composer's operas, Bocelli makes another nod to his classical affinities. But whatever the style, Bocelli is a singer who knows how to go straight to his listeners' hearts. --Sarah Chin ... Read more

Reviews (142)

5-0 out of 5 stars What an Intro!
Flipping TV channels one evening I was stopped by one of the most powerful and passionate voices I had ever heard during the International Music Festival show from Monaco. It was Andre Bocelli singing L'Abitudine(#10)with Helena, I had never heard of this Bocelli fella before, and didnt even hear the whole song. But the voice made such an impact I made a mental note to try to find this artist. I did, I sampled it and then made the purchase of one of the BEST CD's I have ever heard!! I had never been exposed to this genre of music before but WHAT AN INTRO! Mr. Bocelli's voice can take you soaring like a great bird of prey or to a quiet meadow all within the space of the same song! Yet each song provides a different sparkle like the facets of a dimond, seperate and distinct yet making up a wonderful whole audio sensation! I am hooked! All the songs on the CD are wonderful(having both the Italian and English verse was a nice addition), and #14 L'Ultimo Re is in my opinion one of the greatest love songs ever written and sung!! Andra Bocelli's voice is so encompasing the fact that I dont know any Italian didn't affect my enjoyment of this CD one bit! My recommendation.....BUY IT! ENJOY IT!

5-0 out of 5 stars I Love This CD
I never though anything could top Romanza but Cieli Di Toscana is absolutely fabulous. It is constantly in my CD players at home and in my car. This album is so brings me so much serenity and is so beautiful its amazing. Bocelli has the most beautiful voice I have ever hear. Its so amazing how gentle and powerful he can sing at the same time and hold the note so beautifully, its such a gift from God. There are so many highlights on these CD Melodramma, Mille Lune Mille Onde, E Sara A Settembre, Resta Qui, L'Abitudine (with Helena such a cute voice), E Mi Manchi Tu (possibly my favorite song of all time), and I'Ultimo Re. This is a MUST BUY for any Bocelli fan and any fan of great singing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply one of his best!
Andrea Bocelli has a superb voice. You cannot go wrong with this CD. His voice is just so peaceful and is very relaxing and soothing. You cannot go wrong with Cielli di Toscana.
This one is superb!

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Bocelli's Best
Although I don't live in Tuscany, I do live in Italy parttime now, and I love the music of Andrea Bocelli more than ever (I have all of his CDs and DVDs). Bocelli, a Tuscan, himself (he was born in Lajatico), isn't my favorite when it comes to opera, but I think his voice is perfect for the songs on CIELI DI TOSCANA. He's a singer who puts his heart and soul into everything...and it certainly shows.

The fourteen songs on CIELI DI TOSCANA were written by Bocelli and others and they are all pure joy to listen to. They all evoke the blue Tuscan skies, the rolling hills, the groves of olive trees, the hidden treasures tucked away in the ancient villages.

Bocelli's voice on all fourteen tracks is at its best. The CD showcases his full range and his full range of abilities. The orchestra is never overpowering and compliments Bocelli wonderfully. And, wonderfully, the lyrics are included in the liner notes. I've learned enough Italian now to understand the songs without the notes, but I need the notes to sing along...something I like to do...but something my family might not like so much. "Il Diavolo e L'Angelo," written by Bocelli, is one of my favorites. It's a bit glossy, but it's so much fun, I didn't mind. And, for those of you who prefer Bocelli "mellow," there's plenty of that on this CD as well.

I definitely think CIELI DI TOSCANA is a much more accessible CD than ROMANZA and if you're new to Andrea Bocelli (you shouldn't be), I would begin with either this CD or SOGNO. Both are wonderfully evocative of Italy and both showcase Andrea Bocelli's talent, warmth and love for the country of his birth.

5-0 out of 5 stars surprise
I've heard Andrea sing on television several times. I always thought he sang nicely but I never purchased any of his music. I borrowed his CD from the local library just for fun. I was pleasantly surprised by this CD. It was different from seeing him on TV--somehow more powerful. I don't know much about opera but I know this is nice music. I also know I could never sing like Andrea does, it really is something to admire. Anyone who gives him less than 5 stars for this work better know how to out-sing Andrea! This CD would be a nice addition to any music collection. ... Read more


129. The Lion King: Special Edition
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B0000CABJ2
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2358
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (69)

5-0 out of 5 stars I LOVE LION KING!
Lion King is a great movie with great music! First there's the full-of-spirit "Circle of Life", performed by the wonderful Carmen Twillie and Lebo M., and another version performed by Elton John, as well. Then there's the lively "I Just Can't Wait To Be King", performed by Jason Weaver, Rowan Atkinson as Zazu and Laura Williams as Nala. "Be Prepared" is the song that warns us about Simba's evil uncle's plans of becoming king. "Hakuna Matata" will always be a classic,with Timon and Pumbaa telling about how to live a worry-free life. And the lovely "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" as a perfect love song, also performed beautifully by Elton John. It's a great soundtrack for fans of the movie or beautiful music!

5-0 out of 5 stars Lion King Reigns!
"Lion King" is a different kind of classics. It is not so much like Snow White or Cinderella. Tim Rice, 1992 Academy Awarding-winning lyricist, is joined by Grammy Award-winning songwriter and performer Elton John, and composer Hans Zimmer for the production of the soundtrack that adds magic and polished touch to the tear-jerking animated picture of 1994.

Philosophical but jubilant "Circle of Life" and "Hakuna Matata" become the kids' all-time favorite sing-along songs. Elton John, the king of soft rock, whose debut Disney motion picture theme "Can You Feel The Love Tonight?" has inevitably captured (amd melted) so many souls!

Never a soundtrack ever provokes and adds such emotional touch to the picture so much like "Lion King: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" does. Disney storytelling music has simply met the musical power of the men behind the scene.

5-0 out of 5 stars King of all cd's
By far the best soundtrack will be the original soundtrack of the original lion king, but this Cd is a s good as can be. The morning report which takes a while to like just add's an extra bounce to this cd. If you love the lion king and missed out on the orignal cd then BUY, BUY, BUY.
If you could choose from 10 stars it would be a 10.
Awesome soundtrack and a must have.

5-0 out of 5 stars Easily the greatest soundtrack of all time- and I mean that
Whenever I finish watching the miracle of cinema that is The Lion King, I have a problem- I want to watch it again. I realized that I wanted to hear all the dazzling music whenever I wanted. That's where this soundtrack comes in. The music is incredible. "Circle of Life" is magnificent with all of its beautiful African rhythms and powerful vocals. "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" is a nice, snazzy little number. "Be Prepared" is sinister and excellent. "Hakuna Matata" is a wonderful, upbeat piece. And then, there is the Academy Award-winning "Can You Feel The Love Tonight".

It is impossible to describe with words the beauty and passion that is the one of the two greatest pieces of music ever made (the other being Eric Clapton's "Layla".) "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" is lyrical poetry. It is amazing art in melody. Even as a grown man, it still brings tears to my eyes.

And even in addition to these, there are wonderful selections from the Oscar-awarded score, and Elton John's version of "Can You Feel The Love Tonight". I would pay any price for this soundtrack. If you listen to the soundtrack, I know you will agree.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great CDs...but the Circle of Stars Circle of Life was BAD!
Even though I had viewed the movie in theaters when it first came out in 1994, I had never bought the soundtrack. With the special edition coming out, I thought it would be great to get not only the soundtrack, but some added songs too. Well, I enjoyed all the songs from the original film, as well as Morning Report (well, it was kind of cheesy in the movie, but one grows to like it). One big surprise to me was that the (as far as I knew) out-of-print CD "Rhythm of the Pride Lands" was included, complete with inserts. I don't know if this is a rarity or what, because I can't find anything like my two-pack on the internet or elsewhere. On the afore-mentioned-CD, I really liked the deleted song "Warthog Rhapsody" and the "Busa" theme. But the one thing I hated on that disc was the Disney Channel Circle of Stars version of Circle of Life. The first vocal on that track sounded like some teen boy singing falsetto. I'm serious! I stopped midway through that song, and skipped to another track it was so bad. If you haven't gotten the soundtrack at all, I do recommend you getting this, and if you can even find it, get the one labeled 2-CD and get the extremely rare Rhythm of the Pride Lands. Two CDs for the price of one! ... Read more


130. The Red Violin: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
list price: $13.98
our price: $13.98
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Asin: B00000J28V
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2431
Average Customer Review: 4.74 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com's Best of 1999

Leave it to composer John Corigliano and violinist Joshua Bell--two of biggest names in classical music--to team up and create one of 1999's best soundtracks. For many, the soundtrack to The Red Violin was just as impressive as the film, a moving blend of gypsy, folk, and classical compositions. --Jason Verlinde ... Read more

Reviews (46)

4-0 out of 5 stars A great score from a foremost American composer.
It's refreshing to see that, for once, the Academy was courageous enough to give the Oscar to an all-orchestral, sophisticated score for an excellent but obscure movie carrying the somewhat discouraging label "artsy". No pseudo-Lloyd Webber songs here, the Red Violin score is an involving, inspired piece of symphonic music. Despite the disparate styles required by the movie settings, Corigliano is able to maintain an admirable coherence of style throughout, thanks to the brilliant use of the Main Theme, which is a jewel in itself : impossible to forget, dark, intense, and the way it seamlessly rises from the woman's voice in the beginning to seamlessly flow in it at the end is nothing short of magical. The story's unfolding through different ages in different countries allows Corigliano to show off his eclecticism : he can effortlessly compose music ranging from Neo-Vivaldi (track 6) to pseudo-gypsy ( 9 ) or Chinese-sounding ( 15 ) Also, tracks 16 and 18 are menacingly tense, almost in a Herrmanesque way. I especially liked the inclusion of a concert piece (Chaconne) that assembles in a more tightly structured way some of the material from the score. Hopefully Joshua Bell will bring it in the concert halls. The soloist is one of the cd's strongest assets: among the young violin virtuosi Bell is for sure the most subtle and refined, so he's totally attuned with such finely nuanced music. I appreciated very much Sony's no-expense-spared approach to the production (world-class orchestra and conductor) , rather less so the actual Sony sound . Both the soloists and the orchestra sound too closely miked, and the engineering favours the basses so much that in some passages the sound becomes too cavernous and booming. Maybe that was the composer's choice ( Corigliano co-executive produced it ) but I would have liked more space around the instruments. Minor reservations, though, ( basses can be adjusted! ) for an altogether very rewarding issue.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Score of 1999
As soon as I left the theater after seeing "The Red Violin," I immediately bought the magnificent score. I have found that the most amazing thing about this score, aside from the fact that it is truly and simply amazing, is that one does not have to see the film nor know what the plot is about in order to enjoy Corigliano's moving composition; however, I am glad I did see the film first. He poetically captures the mood of The Red Violin's travels across five time-periods and regions, and it is a wonderous trip that I enjoy more and more every time I listen to the soundtrack. It is absolutely the PERFECT studying/reading/relaxing/resting music that I own or have ever heard. Hopefully, if the Academy is reasonably competent, Corigliano will walk away the winner of the Academy Award for Best Original Score--I don't know of a more appropriate award that could be bestowed upon this exquisite work. But even if he leaves the Oscars as merely a nomminee, treat yourself to "The Red Violin." Trust me, it is the one piece of music that you will keep forever. Five stars and more!

5-0 out of 5 stars Terrific Recording by Itself, But This is a Private Preview
THE RED VIOLIN is a deeply moving film, a magical and wonderful tracing of a musical instrument's journey from creation of the Cremona Violin through its multiple owners and the subsequent impact this rare instrument has on the lives of those it touches. Listening to John Corigliano's exquisite score creates all the mystery and beauty of this fine film, but this soundtrack recording goes far beyond that. Creatively programming a piece for violin and orchestra from fragments of the score of the movie, this disc includes a fine performance of THE RED VIOLIN: CHACONNE FOR VIOLIN AND ORCHESTRA and this concert piece is exquisitely performed by the gifted Joshua Bell and Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra. The Chaconne has found its way into the symphony concert halls already. Now John Corigliano has composed a full CONCERTO FOR VIOLIN AND ORCHESTRA ("THE RED VIOLIN") which he has dedicated tot he memory of this father, who was Concertmaster for the New York for twenty-five years, and the strength of this initial disc is actually a private preview of the Concerto. Having just heard the West Coast premiere with Joshua Bell and the Los Angeles Philharmonic I am convinced that this Concerto will have a secure life. The first movement is the original Chaconne from this disc, and to this movement Corigliano has added three movements of extraordinary brilliance and beauty. The passion of the Chaconne is set aside for the second movement 'Pianissimo Scherzo' which whispers and scampers along with themes from the scores lighter moments. The third movement 'Andante flautando' is closely based on the film's main theme and recalls the tenderness and beauty of Anna's theme in a conversation between the violin and alto flute. The fourth movement 'Accelerando Finale' is all virtuosity both in composition and playing. Hopefully the Concerto will be recorded soon - it is one of Joshua Bell's finest achievements, matched by the virtuosic playing by the LA Phil (the conductor was Miguel Harth-Bedoya). Get to know this disc and when the Concerto is played near you (or is released on recording) you will be all the more ready for the intricacies and beauties of a unique American piece.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Soaring, Virtuoso Performance
I found the movie, THE RED VIOLIN, to be somewhat strange and not quite as good or as haunting as it could have been. The same certainly cannot be said about the film's beautiful score.

The RED VIOLIN centers around a violin crafted in 17th century Cremona, Italy and haunted (or possessed) by the soul of the craftsman's dead wife, Anna. While the violin, itself, may not have been haunted, John Corigliano's gorgeous score, played to soaring perfection by virtuoso Joshua Bell, is definitely haunting and, if you give it but the slightest chance, it will certainly come to possess your very soul.

The score of THE RED VIOLIN is not only haunting, it's also lyrical, complex and highly imaginative. I can't imagine watching the movie without hearing this beautiful music in the background.

There's nothing light and sunny in the film, THE RED VIOLIN and so, quite fitting, there is nothing light and sunny in its score. This music is lyrical and soaring, but it is also brooding and darkly romantic. Well, everything Joshua Bell plays has a romantic touch, be it sweet, sentimental, passionate or brooding. THE RED VIOLIN definitely belongs in the "brooding" category (it puts one in the mind of WUTHERING HEIGHTS and Catherine and Heathcliff).

Despite the perfection of the orchestra, the emphasis in this score is definitely on Bell's violin, which is all to the good. Bell's technique is perfect as he moves from elegy to heavily ornamented and capricious orchestrations to savagery and heartbreaking torment.

Moving between delicacy and savagery, THE RED VIOLIN is quite intense and the beauty and passion of the composition, along with the beauty and passion of Bell's performance, simply pull you into the music. It becomes a part of your soul and yes, you are definitely changed...but for the better. This isn't background music you put in your CD player while you finish your chores or read a good book. This is music that demands your attention and engages the full range of your emotions.

While I adored the entire soundtrack, I especially loved the concluding piece, "The Red Violin Chaconne." All in all, THE RED VIOLIN is one of the most haunting, lyrical, brooding and romantic soundtracks I have ever heard...and each piece is given a virtuoso treatment by Joshua Bell. Bell, more than other violinist I can think of, seems to be "at one" with his instrument, clearly letting his soul flow into the music, while the music flows into ours.

I rarely stray from classical and baroque violin compositions, but THE RED VIOLIN is truly something special. I take it with me everywhere and listen to it almost daily.

4-0 out of 5 stars Four sophisticated strings in five sophisticated stories
Corigliano does not consider himself a film-music composer, not even after winning an Academy Award for this score, and tossing high eyes with his score for "Altered States". He is more the type for 'classical music' such as chamber music and concertos. That is perhaps one reason why he's asked to score such films of this calibre. In particular the tale of the cultural, literary and geographical travails of a small, melancholic fourstring.

Corigliano's approach is awesome and at the same time the only right one. As the violin passes from culture to culture, the music changes with it. However, at the centre of each of the five 'chapters' is one theme: "Anna's theme". And seeing that - in a certain spiritual approach - Anna herself incorporates the violin, her theme is also the Red Violin's theme. This is beautifully illustrated in the soundtrack's first piece (properly named "Anna's theme") - which is first hummed by a woman's voice and then deftly handed over to solo violin.

After departing from the violin's place of birth - Cremona - the listeners relocates it in baroque Vienna. So far the music had been rather ageless (meaning: modern, non?contemporary film-music), yet here it has started to absorb some Zeitgeist. This three?track chapter's most outstanding moment is "Kaspar's etude", which, symbolically and narratively, features a violin-solo and an accelerating metronome that abruptly stops ticking.

Next stop in our time-travail is a group of Gypsy-travellers, who end up with the musical instrument in English Oxford. This chapter features some wonderful Roma music and a truly virtuoso etude by featured violist Joshua Bell (who plays all the solos and leads in the score). These five tracks are the zenith in an already outstanding body of composition.

We journey to Shanghai next, but there is little original composition here, especially in the second track, which features an appearance of the Chinese Red Guard accordion band (still a very famous accordion/children's choir musical piece). Nevertheless, the music adds value to the whole with its oriental folklore and flavour.

And with the fifth chapter we have arrived in more modern times - in Montreal to be exact. What you get here is music with very mysterious quality. "Morritz's theme" is a slightly altered "Anna's Theme", very interesting.

After the "End Titles" - in which "Anna's Theme" is given back to the humming female vocal by the solo violin - we are treated with a 17-minute long orchestral piece. Here, Corigliano used stagnation in the film's production-process to further delve into some of the earlier themes. (Normally, composers are called in only AFTER all the imagery has been shot, but here characters being filmed IN the film had to play a composer's film-music, which is why Corigliano came into the moviemaking early.) This music is much more than "suite" and a living identity of its own.

The music on this album is intelligent and sensitive, varied and literary. And there aren't simply excerpts from it: there is a lot of it. It doesn't break boundaries, and it will not define new standards. But the album's content is great quality all the way, which will move you with deep instrumentations, astounding virtuoso performances and vibrant storytelling, each time you grace it with a listen.

This is worth at least four stars.

Bram Janssen,
The Netherlands ... Read more


131. Tchaikovsky: Concerto No. 1/Rachmaninoff: Concerto No. 2
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B000003EUG
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1580
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

What a story there is behind this recording! When Van Cliburn won the InternationalTchaikovsky Competition in Moscow at the height of the Cold War with his playing of this concerto, itcreated an international sensation. The recording followed immediately thereafter, and Cliburn waslaunched on an international career of unprecedented celebrity for a classical musician. Perhaps theattention was too much, too soon, given his subsequent burn-out and retirement from public life.Fortunately, we have these unique recordings to document what was, by all accounts, a genuinephenomenon. This is the disc "heard 'round the world." --David Hurwitz ... Read more

Reviews (24)

4-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding rendition!!
I prefer Barry Douglas' rendition of the piano concerto in B flat with the majestic support of the London Symphony lead by Leonard Slatkin. I also prefer Sviatoslav Richter's at the piano with Stanislaw Wiskock as a conductor. They have won my 5 stars, but there is no doubt in my mind that Van Cliburn did an outstanding job as one of the few top performers of this Concerto. The sound of the orchestra is acceptable as it is in the impecable playing of Vladimir Ashkenazy with Lorin Maazel and Gary Graffman's with Szell as a conductor, all of them outstanding performances and very dear to me. Any of the above will give you a lot of listening pleasure. For the Rachmaninov's No.2, the performance of the pianist is equally good, though I still don't understand why the orchestra did not live to Reiner's standards. This does not mean it is a bad one, though. It just make it acceptable.

I have this CD, I have listened to it many times and I recommend it without reserve as much as any of the Pianists/Orchestras mentioned in this review: they all perspirate the passionate drama Tchaikovsky wanted to instil in this Opus and won't let you down after in your listening pleasure.

4-0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings
In the Rachmaninov, Cliburn himself is of course incomparable in the warmth and romantic feeling he brings to the piano part (as he is in his supreme reading of the Third Concerto). However the *recording* is absolutely dire. The sound itself is acceptable from both piano and orchestra, but the guy twiddling knobs in the control room ought to have been shot. Whenever there is a solo in the orchestra, it sounds as if a microphone has been thrust up the instrument of the unfortunate musician. This has especially unfortunate results when the piano takes up the main theme in the slow movement, as the clarinets and strings are totally out of time (where were you, Fritz Reiner?)

The recording is better for the Tchaikovsky, but Cliburn himself was always at his most inspired in Rachmaninov, and this performance is not really in the same league as Argerich, or, especially, Horowitz with Toscanini.

I would still buy this CD for Cliburn's contribution to the Rachmaninov. But shortcomings elsewhere prevent me from giving this disc 5 stars and an unqualified recommendation. And what are RCA doing putting out this almost 40-year old disc at full price?

4-0 out of 5 stars Amazingly well played, not-so-well recorded
This is a historic recording, featuring Cliburn's performance of the Tchaikovsky 1st (which helped win him the gold metal in Moscow) and Rachmaninoff's 2nd concerto.

An adjective I would use to discribe Cliburn's playing here is 'thoughtful'. He has an amazing talent for bringing out melodies and voices that get lost in the bustle of many other performances of this concerto. Although he takes some passages at a slower tempo than I've heard elsewhere, the payoff is that the listener gets to hear in exquisite detail each voice and melody in the piano portion of the concerti. This is one of the best played performances out there of these works.

Unfortunately, it is not quite so up there in terms of the recording quality. The problem isn't so much with the sound (which is perfectly clear) as with its balance. As one reviewer already remarked, there is a tendency to focus on whichever instrument is carrying the solo/melodic line at the moment, making the other parts much less audible by comparison (both for the piano as soloist and various instruments in the orchestra).
If only the engineers had brought the same clarity and balance to the voices in the orchestra as Cliburn brought to the voices in the piano part, this would be my ideal recording.

5-0 out of 5 stars Full of passion
This is one of my favorite CDs, especially for the powerful, passionate play of the Rachmaninov Piano Concerto #2. There is no word could describe what the enormous emotion the music has brought. I had another version which was played by Vladimir Ashkenazy. By comparing these 2, I would just simply grap Cliburn's, which really brings out the fantasy of the music. I highly recommend this piece.

5-0 out of 5 stars Heaven on Earth
There are no words to describe this CD accurately. It is, by far, the greatest recording of the Tchaikowsky concerto ever made, by the greatest pianist in the world. (If you disagree about the pianist part, I beg your pardon :)
I recently had the wonderful privilege of hearing Van Cliburn live, at Chrysler Hall in Norfolk, VA. He played the Tchaikowsky concerto, and I've never been so thrilled in my life. Though even the live performance didn't match up to this recording.
The Tchaikowsky is played with a passion and sincerity so beautiful and genuine that it makes your heart ache. The Rachmaninoff has all the gusto, fire, and flair that you could ever wish. Five stars is not a high enough rating for this CD - an unbelievable recording.

If you don't have it, get it so you'll find out what you've been missing! ... Read more


132. Tchaikovsky: Symphonies no 4, 5, & 6 / Karajan, Berlin PO
list price: $17.98
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Asin: B000001GYJ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1946
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

This moderately priced package gives you the best of Herbert von Karajan's Tchaikovsky performances, and when he was "on" with this composer, he was very impressive indeed. These are exceptionally well played, exciting, even noble versions of the composer's three most popular symphonies, and although Karajan recorded each of them four or five times, this least expensive edition is still the one to get. --David Hurwitz ... Read more

Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking!
Being a big Tchaikovsky fan, I'm picky when it comes to recordings of his works. This CD is, by far, one of my favorites out of my entire collection. I've listened to all three symphonies on this album many, many, many times, and this recording, as well as the pieces themselves, never gets old. I've heard other Karajan that didn't impress me as much, but I have yet to find better interpreted, better played Tchaikovsky 4th, 5th and 6ths... ESPECIALLY the 4th. The coda of the last movement is the most exciting ending to any piece I have ever heard, it gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it, which is quite often. As far as I'm concerned, this is THE defining recording of the Fourth, in addition to the CD as a whole being a great deal. Do NOT pass up on this recording if you're any kind of Tchaikovsky fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Karajan Discovers His Genius - Finally
Simply amazing. During the same time Karajan was desecrating the Mozart symphonies on DG in the mid 70s, he was recording these beautiful Tchaikovsky performances. I always thought Karajan to be overrated in the bread and butter Beethoven/Brahms symphonies, which he beat into the ground until they were dead and buried, and seemed much more at home in orchestral showpieces by Ricard Strauss, Debussy, or Mussorgsky. But could he find a symphonic medium that fully realized his and the Berlin Philharmonic's talents? These recordings answer that question: the playing is passionate and red-blooded, and Karajan actually seems to be fully involved in the music, as opposed to riding on auto-pilot. There are other wonderful performances scattered around, but here you get all three late symphonies, gloriously played and recorded for the price of a single premium cd. Such a deal.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb in almost every category
I admit that despite the precariousness of the conditions - the coughing, talking, moving around, distractions, uneven playing - I prefer a live performance. There is something absolutely electric about hearing one of the grand Romantic Symphonies in person. Alas, a CD may be the next best thing.

One usually associates Karajan with German composers - Brahms, Beethoven, Schumann, Strauss - but his innate musicality allowed him to excel in almost any category. While the Brahms is titanic and the Strauss is so very personal this is music for the ages - the apotheosis of Tchaikovsky's artistry. Both the composer and the conductor were great fans of that most outstanding of Romantic features - the singable melody. Despite the notorious onslaught of modernism, post-modernism, primitivism and other such "movements", Karajan remained wedded to the idea that music should make a statement without the need for explanation of what the composer "is trying to do."

There is certainly no question in this case - he was pouring his heart out into lush, quirky, grand works that have since become immortal to people both familiar and unfamiliar with classical music. THe Fourth is great, the fifth is larger than life, the sixth is incredible. Great CD at a Great Price.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tchaikovsky!
Fantastic recording! The 6. Symphony is done in an amazing way! The only recording I like more than this one is of Mravinsky with St. Petersburg (Leningrad) Philharmonic.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good interpretations, but Karajan & DG have done better!
Herbert von Karajan made fabulous recordings of the last 3 Tchaikovsky symphonies during every decade of his recording career. I believe (but I may be mistaken) there was a recording of the 6th in the series of post-war recordings made by EMI in Vienna. There were some made with the Philharmonia in the fifties also, sadly unavailable. Then, he made the first of 3 sets of all 3 symphonies for DG in the 1960s. He recording the same symphonies for DG in the late 1970s, which are the recordings reviewed here. Then, he recorded them in the 1980s with digital technology.
There was another cycle for EMI sprinkled somewhere in between the 3 DG cycles, but those have always seemed tremendously inferior to the 3 DG cycles, and I will not review them here.
Interpretively, the set reviewed here is certainly superior, as are all 3 DG cycles. The 4th and 6th have little variation in interpretation, dynamics, or tempi. The 5th is a different story all together. The 1960s 5th is more humane, less obtuse, more deeply felt, whereas the recording of the 5th in this set from the late 1970s seems more distant, almost cold-hearted in comparison. The digital recording lies somewhere in between the other two.
The biggest difference between the three sets, though, lies in the sound. And it is with the sound quality that a clear choice exists among the three sets. I rule out the digital set. Im not even sure it is available any longer. The digital set was marred by terrible digital graininess, scratchiness, and what I term "digital twang", which occurs especially with brass, ever so important a section for Tchaikovsky's symphonies.
So, the choice comes down to the set reviewed here and the recently reissued 1960s set (Amazon asin # B000001GCR). And I firmly tip my hat toward the 1960s set. The set being reviewed here comes from the late 1970s, when DG had a habit of using as many microphones as humanly possible. I sometimes wonder if they placed a seperate microphone in front of every instrument in the orchestra. It certainly sounds that way sometimes, with very close highlighting of individual instruments or sections. Listen to the 1960s set, though, and you'll hear a difference in the sound that will bring the music to life. I'm reminded of tourists visting the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, only to find it shrouded in fog. It still looks magnificent to them, but because of their short visit, they never get to see it without the fog. Some, however, get to go back when the fog has lifted, and then they are truly in awe of the structure. An appropriate analogy I think, given that Karajan is always described as a great architect in his intertretations. And when you listen to the 1960s recordings after hearing the 1970s recordings, the shroud is truly lifted, and only then can you fully realize that you are in the presence of true greatness.
So, go get the 1960s set if you want to hear Karajan work his magic in these works. And the digital remastering of the 1960s set is superior to any of the others too. Cleaned of all eveidnce of tape hiss, restored to perfection. An excellent example of current digital restoration techniques.

Those 1960s recordings are also available in a Collector's Series box of 8 disks (Amazon asin # B00004SA8B) that also has some other Karajan Tchaikovsky gems, like the Rococo variations with Rostropovich, a decent Serenade for Strings, the Piano concerto with S. Richter, a very good Romeo and Juliet, the ballet suites, and more. ... Read more


133. Little Shop of Horrors (2003 Broadway Revival Cast)
list price: $18.98
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Asin: B0000CEROJ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1547
Average Customer Review: 4.11 out of 5 stars
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Does this score kick butt or what? While the staging of the 2003 Little Shop of Horrors revival is entertaining enough, the recording is even more rewarding. Since you're not distracted by the sight of a huge plant devouring one cast member after another, you can focus on Howard Ashman and Alan Menken's ace songs. No wonder the show is a high-school and summer-stock fave, packed as it is with appealing characters and catchy 1960s-flavored tunes. As Audrey, Kerry Butler won't make anybody forget Ellen Greene, but she certainly is lovely. Hunter Foster's Seymour strikes a perfect balance of sweetness and klutzy desperation as he delivers perfect interpretations of all his songs. Even better, this cast album is a complete rendition of the show, unlike the recording of the 1982 Off-Broadway production ("Call Back in the Morning" is now included for instance), and comes with a glossy booklet. Cherry on top: Five previously unreleased songs are included in demo versions performed by the show's authors. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (45)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Little Shop That Can!
After Listening to both the Broadway cast CD, and The Off-Broadway cast CD I have come to the conciliation that this is the better of the two. The changes to the Score are both Fresh and entertaining giving the show a new flavor to thrill advances.
The cast is outstanding Hunter Foster is a delightful Dork as the meek and mild Seymour. Kerry Butler Shines with her amazing vocal talents as Adurey the ditzy subject of Seymour's seemingly unrequited love. Rob Bartlett and Douglas Sills are both stunning as Mushnik and Orin both bring wonderful talent to there roles. Then Last But not Least The Urchies Played by Dequina Moore, Trish Jeffrey, and Carla J. Hargrove have a show stopping quality rounding the cast out very nicely.
The CD is definitely a must have for any Broadway collection. The show and the CD deserve way more praise then it seems to be getting! The show and CD are Both excellent and I highly recommend both!

5-0 out of 5 stars Finally, the Complete Score! (and then some....)
Little Shop of Horrors has a disappointing album history. The Original Off-Off Broadway Cast recording was incomplete, and the film version, while it did update and improve on Alan Menkin's amazing score, left much to be desired as far as performances go, and that includes Ms. Ellen Greene.
Then along comes this nearly perfect recording. One of the obvious highlights is that this recording includes the complete score, and massive amounts of dialogue not included on any other Little Shop CD. The five bonus tracks are fun to listen to, but only two are any good. "The Worse He Treats Me" is a fun little ditty sung by Audrey about her abusive boyfriend, but it appears to poke fun at the situation, which is, I assume, the reason it was cut, despite the character development it adds to Audrey. The treasure of the bonus tracks is the amazing ballad "We'll Have Tomorrow," sung by Audrey and Seymour. More serious than any existing song, this darkly foreshadows the terrible events to come. It's serious nature surely is what led to it's removal from the show, yet it would have added more to the relationship of Seymour and Audrey. (NOTE: the demos are sung by Alan Menkin, Howard Ashman, and Ron Taylor)
I find it a shame that Kerry Butler has been criticized for her performance. While I agree that her dialogue during the "Somewhere That's Green" reprise is overly comical, I applaud her for straying from the Ellen Greene Audrey. While Greene's portrayal was a wonderful one, it is GREENE'S portrayal, and it should remain thus. Butler takes Audrey to a more realistic, and human, place. She has been greatly criticized for her accent, which is surely better live, especially now that she has had time to discover Audrey. You have to remember: these albums are recorded long before the first curtain goes up.
Hunter Foster is fine as Seymour, though he takes the geekiness a bit too far. As Orin Scrivello, Michael-Leon Wooley leaves much to be desired. The Greek Chorus' improvisations seem too planned, though not to a fault.
Overall, this is the Little Shop of Horrors album to buy, and not just for it's completeness. Kerry Butler alone makes it a more appealing show, removing the shrill tone usually heard from the character. This is a wonderful album, with clear vocals, a more lively orchestra, and the best cast yet.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun Fun Fun
I love this musical...but then again I should, I spent 3 months working on it my sophomore year in high school. I played a semi-lead role, but it wasn't an original character I played Mrs. Mushnik a crazy yeddish wife, with my not-so-crazy Husband-- which was so much fun to do. My directors just changed the script a bit so I'd get to sing Mushnik 'n Son, Closed for Renovation...and a few others. The Broadway CD really helped our whole cast really get to know the words to the music because we used the same script with minor changes. Its great and I loved it. I will always remember the success we had with this musical.

5-0 out of 5 stars Broadway is alive!
What's so amazing to me is that I actually just saw this on Broadway with a few other shows on my recent trip to New York. I feel like I was part of Broadway history. This is a story to be told again and again. It will survive many decades like our operas have. After the show I bought singing lesson CDs at The Colony on Broadway called Voice Lessons To Go by Vaccarino(available on Amazon too)- they are great, and the piano vocal scores to quite a few shows. If only Baz Lurman could here me now! That store was so amazing. So fun to be in the smack middle of Broadway with dancers, actors, singers and tons of tourists everyway- buying my "singing supplies" like I was really a part of it. OK, so we all have secret fantasies! So happy that Broadway is becoming revitalized again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
This is a great recording of LITTLE SHOP. It includes a lot of material that is not on the first cast recording. ... Read more


134. Carnivale
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Asin: B0006J2GA2
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2045
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135. Band of Brothers
list price: $18.98
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Asin: B00005NNM5
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2209
Average Customer Review: 4.69 out of 5 stars
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When Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks collaborated on the Academy Award®-winning Saving Private Ryan, an abiding passion to further honor the young fighting soldiers of World War II was born in both men, resulting in Band of Brothers, an ambitious 10-part miniseries based on historian Stephen Ambrose's account of a 101st Airborne regiment as it fought its way across Europe. In scoring the sweeping project, Michael Kamen has eschewed much of the martial music familiar from past war epics in favor of the quiet, largely introspective sound that's informed modern battle films from Platoon through Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line. And if his reverential, often somber tones capture the dignity of the soldiers and the gravity of the events, they sometimes do so at the expense of other human dimensions--and the lively pop music of the '40s. Still, Kamen's work strikes an impressive balance, fusing the pastoral with subtle modern rhythm touches and utilizing spare piano solos, a darkly ironic use of Beethoven's String Quartet in C-sharp Minor, and a memorable, elegiac main theme. --Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (32)

4-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful band of music
Michael Kamen, who wrote about 10 hours of music for this series, was very dedicated to this project for a long time and his dedication to the music and the story shows in this soundtrack, which is a brillant piece of music. The music really takes off in the first 4 tracks, with the main theme, 2 lengthy suites from the film, and "The Mission Begins" which showcase all of the themes. The rest of the tracks go to traditional orchestral underscoring with the lack of these themes, except in just a few places. Had the themes been played like they were before more often, this would have gotten a solid 5 star rating. "Swamp" contains a great solo for woodwinds. "Spiers' Speech" contains light strings, along with a piano solo. The theme returns again in "Winters On Subway", this time in a piano solo. A boys choir is featured in "Plaisir D'Amour", which gives a unique and light touch to it. The last 3 tracks do shine once again, with the main theme making a final appearance, and the use of Michael Kamen's daughter, Zoe, on vocals in the final track. Overall though, a great soundtrack that although not as good in the middle, really shines at the beginning and at the end (especially at the beginning). One of the better war movie scores that showcases Kamen's great writing talent and a job well done by the London Metropolitan Orchestra.

5-0 out of 5 stars What are you waiting for!?
l have just finished listening to the entire soundtrack and felt obligated to write a review so that other people can feel the same amazement that l did when experiencing this soundtrack. That is important. You do not listen to this soundtrack - you experience it.

It is very difficult to describe this soundtrack. It evokes so many themes in so many different ways. For those of you familiar with the works of other film music composers, the best description l can give is that the composer, Michael Kamen, combines the delicate rolling sounds of James Horner (A Beautiful Mind) with the action-packed tempo that is characteristic of John Williams (Jurassic Park, Jaws, Apollo 13).

The music stands very well on its own. You could listen to this music at any time of the day. At work, in the car, while you are falling to sleep, doing the dishes - anything. l bought it in particular for background music while l am studying and always feel inspired, no matter which track l am listening to. Whether it is the all too familiar Main Theme (Track 1), the serious, determined sound of The Mission Begins (Track 4), the despairing but hopeful mood in Bull's Theme (Track 10) or the intricate folk melody and vocals contained within Plaisir D'Amour (Track 14), you will be nothing short of breathless by the end.

Through headphones or speakers, the sound is first-rate. Full bodied bass and light as a feather treble will give you goosebumps in no time. You can easily picture the movie playing out in your mind as the CD spins away. l suppose a good measure of any soundtrack is its ability to enhance and not detract from the picture - as though it maintains a subtle yet inseperable presence. Such is the case with Band of Brothers. It maintains continuity of theme for its duration without shocking you or making you want to press the skip button to the next track. It is very easy to listen to all 20 tracks sequentially and feel like you've listened to a single, evolving composition.

In any case, the proof of the pudding is in the eating so get out there and get yourself a copy of this timeless soundtrack. You will wonder how you ever did without it. l cannot even bare to study in silence anymore after listenting to this CD. l suppose invigorating is the best way to describe how one feels after letting this soundtrack make itself known. Do yourself a favour and get it now! You certainly won't regret it. If you're anything like me and have a soft spot for vibrant theatrical orchestrations with plenty to say, this soundtrack will very quickly become one of your most treasured possessions.

Cheers

5-0 out of 5 stars A requiem "for those who didn't come back..."
One of the truly outstanding scores composed for a television series was the late Michael Kamen's music for the HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers," a 10-part adaptation of the late Stephen E. Ambrose's non-fiction book about E Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. Executive produced by Ambrose, Tom Hanks, and Steven Spielberg, this monumental miniseries follows an elite light infantry unit from its training stages at Camp Toccoa, GA to the 11-month campaign in Northwest Europe, starting from the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944 to the surrender of Germany and E Company's capture of Hitler's private "Eagle's Nest" in Bavaria.

When I finally saw the first episodes of "Band of Brothers" on the History Channel a few weeks ago and heard the strains of the "Main Theme" (Track 1), the credits had not finished rolling, and because the style was similar to John Williams' music for Saving Private Ryan, I said to myself, "Oh, what a beautiful Williams contribution!" Instead of being an overtly "warrior music" theme with heavy use of brass and snare drums (think of almost every pre-1970s war movie or TV-show military show, or even today's "Theme from JAG"), the Main Theme features a more melancholic approach, featuring a full orchestra (London Metropolitan Orchestra) and voices, very much in the same vein as "Hymn For the Fallen" from Saving Private Ryan. Pure Williams, I thought, and certainly not without precedent; the composer has long teamed with Spielberg, working with the director/producer in all but one of his major movies. Williams has also written quite a few TV themes, including Land of the Giants, Amazing Stories, and the NBC Nightly News theme "The Mission."

Imagine my astonishment when I saw the credit "Music by Michael Kamen."

Well, maybe I shouldn't have been so surprised, because before his recent death, Michael Kamen was one of the most sought-after composers in Hollywood, having written scores for such for such films as Creepshow, Die Hard, Die Hard 2, and Die Hard with a Vengeance. He is able to convey the emotional context of diverse films by melding all sorts of musical references and styles (note how he works Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and bits of "Singin' in the Rain" into the score of Die Hard, for instance).

The album, obviously, is not a comprehensive recording with the complete score for a 10-hour miniseries. Rather it is a nicely conceived 20-track sampler with music from each episode (conveniently, each track is labeled with the cue name and episode title.)

Key tracks include:
1. Main Theme
2. Band of Brothers Suite One
3. Band of Brothers Suite Two
4. Part One -- CURAHEE: "The Mission Begins"
10. Part Four -- REPLACEMENTS: "Bull's Theme"
12: Part Six -- BASTOGNE: "Headscarf"
16. Part Nine -- WHY WE FIGHT: "String Quartet in C-Sharp Minor" (Op. 131) by L.v. Beethoven
20. Part Ten: POINTS: "Band of Brothers Requiem"

Kamen, who dedicated his score to his father's twin brother, Captain Paul Kamen (who was killed in Germany three days before the end of the European campaign), composed the music for "Band of Brothers" as a requiem, so even though there are hints of militaristic music, it's all infused with solemnity and sadness, reflecting the proud achievements of E Company's surviving members while remembering the ones the veterans consider to be the real heroes, "those who did not come back."

3-0 out of 5 stars Not original but a fine listening experience...
Another composer who has borrowed from his own work, to be more specific, Michael Kamen has taken his orchestral music to the fine cable series From the Earth to the Moon and rehashed the score to the work we have here. Its basically the same music, nothing original.

*sigh*

5-0 out of 5 stars Wow-- moving movie music
I bought my family the series. We love it. Bought the soundtrack because love the sound and feeling it gave you during while watching the show. We love it. Definitely one of those few soundtracks that flow and give feeling to the show. It is a cd that you can listen to and know where in the show the music was playing. I even bought the book because of the show. Just an all around good set (dvd set, soundtrack, book). ... Read more


136. La Luna
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B00004UDNP
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2020
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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Superstar crossover vocalist Sarah Brightman greets the new millennium with an even surer, bolder sense of her unique musical niche than that evident from 1999's Eden. Like Eden, La Luna is a concept album only in a vaguely free-associative sense. The selection of material here touches on images of the moon that reinforce its ambiguity as a force known to draw together "the lunatic, the lover, and the poet" (Brightman's photo shoots for the album do seem to suggest a sort of Titania-like figure out of a New Age Midsummer Night's Dream). And it's a stylistic as well as thematic voyage, coursing from such contemporary sounds as synth pop (on "This Love") through vintage jazz standards (Billie Holiday's atmospheric and haunting "Gloomy Sunday") to high opera for the title track (a version of the sublime "Song of the Moon" from Dvorák's fairy-tale opera Rusalka), and drawing elsewhere on the gorgeously sinuous melodies of Bach, Handel, and Rachmaninov--one song, "Figlio Perduto," even adapts the slow movement of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony. Throughout, producer Frank Peterson swathes Brightman's shiny small voice in luxuriant fabrics of sound. Detractors will lament the resulting sameness of tone--no matter what the style involved--but Brightman's focus on spinning an ethereal spell never gets eclipsed. This domestic release includes three tracks not available on the import version and has a special treat hidden in the final track as a bonus.--Thomas May ... Read more

Reviews (196)

3-0 out of 5 stars A few gripes for the "Angel of Music"
I have only one suggestion for buyers of the new Sarah Brightman CD, "La Luna": DON'T READ THE LYRICS! I mean, how inane! OK. I've gotten used to the dress-up "floozy" style that Ms. Brightman uses to court an audience beyond the mere opera-lover, so I know enough not to dwell on the white-bikini-'neath-gossamer-gown photo, but I have to draw the line at elves. Elves? Yes, not just elves, but the "king of the elves." Didn't New Age ambient music go out with the advent of the nineties? Or maybe I simply outgrew it. So why is such nonsense couched in a haunting melody as that minor movement from one of Beethoven's later symphonies; and why waste such a beautiful, clear, angelic voice on over-mixed, "echoey" nonsense as Hijo de la Luna and Whiter Shade of Pale? Surely our favorite soprano has not run the full gamut of delicate arias and deeply moving love songs (e.g., Time to Say Goodbye) so that she can no longer please the audience whom her more serious attempts won over originally! There are a few bright spots on this CD (such as the Dvorak and Moon River at the end of the final track), and I may eventually be able to allow Brightman's sweet, hypnotic voice to drown out the stupidity of her songs' content, but she will only truly regain this fan by returning to her more operatic and serious style in the future.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Amazing
This is the first Sarah CD i bought myself, having listend to 'timeless' several times that i have permanently borrowed from my mum. I love it, I cant say if its my favourite because I love all her work.

None one of the tracks on this album are bad

I really love 'Figlio Perduto', 'A whiter shade of pale', La Califfa', 'La Luna' and the hidden track at the end that follows after 'La Luna', 'Moon River'. Its all a very moving album, and takes you into a different world. I find it all very relaxing, even the more upbeat tracks. I really love 'La Califfa' its so beautiful. La Luna is great, as she makes it her own, its not the typical 'song to the moon'. I have wanted to write a review for ages, now I am here doing it, im finding it hard to put what i think into words. All I can say is, its an amzing album, don't listen to anyone who says otherwise. Her voice is very distinctave(however it is spelt) and the songs are all beautifuly sang.

From buying this album, I have went onto to buy every other albums she has and appears in.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
I haven't got much to say about this album other than check out the track "He Doesn't See Me." Gorgeous!

5-0 out of 5 stars As Good As EDEN & TIME TO SAY GOODBYE!!!
~..which is saying a lot! These 3 Sarah B. albums are among the most timeless pop/classical albums ever recorded! Every song here on LA LUNA is worth the price, and there are some really incredible pieces! (1) The tune based on Beethoven's 7th Symphony Slow Movement, (2) Scarboro Fair, (3) Whiter Shade of Pale, and (4) most amazing of all the very strange and mysterious Gloomy Sunday, among the most haunting ballads ever, and here done to perfection! I've heard this song was banned in France for~~ its suicidal interpretation during WW II, much like Goethe's "Sorrows of Young Werther" over 200 years ago! Any Sarah CD is worth while, but this may be her best! . And for a nice final touch , MOON RIVER ,which is not even mentioned in the album notes! l~

5-0 out of 5 stars La Luna
Sara Brightman has the voice of a tiny sweet angel and uses her vocal ability to the outmost of her ability. Many people do not like crossover music and for them I say this 'sucks to you'. Miss Brightman makes crossover music fun and vital whilst still showing her great prowess. Highly Recommended. ... Read more


137. Caroline, or Change (2004 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $24.98
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Asin: B00028HOG8
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1875
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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Remember 1958, when milquetoast The Music Man won the Tony for Best Musical over brashly innovative West Side Story? It's likely that one day we'll remember 2004 as the year wholesome Avenue Q won over brilliantly daring Caroline, or Change. The Tony Kushner-Jeanine Tesori collaboration proves that a show can be smart, inspirational, provocative, touching, and simply beautiful all at the same time. And lest you think Caroline is the kind of musical that's good for you in a spinach kind of way, this two-CD set demonstrates that the show's also terrifically fun. Because the plot is set in 1963 Louisiana, Tesori's ultra-melodic score, delivered by a superb cast, expertly weaves together R&B, gospel, doo-wop, soul and girl-group pop (check out the lovely "Salty Teardrops"). And of course there's a bona fide showstopper for Caroline (Tonya Pinkins) in the heartwrenching "Lot's Wife," which had New York audiences in tears during the show's run. Truly extraordinary. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars The most thrilling cast album in years
"Caroline, or Change" is one of the more unusual musicals I've ever seen; it's virtually sung-through, yet it feels much more like a musical than an opera. It pushes the boundaries of contemporary musical theatre in its form, its style (yes, there is a singing washing machine, radio, dryer, and bus), and its content: there aren't easy answers here, nor is there anything resembling a traditional happy ending. Instead, the show's conclusion is true to life - a combination of deep sadness and hope.

Jeanine Tesori, Tony Kushner, and director George C. Wolfe have achieved something monumental here, and if listening to the show is an altogether different experience from seeing it (I've been four times and counting), it is no less moving on disc. Indeed, to call this recording incredible would be an understatement. The more I hear this show, the more I think of it as this generation's "Sunday in the Park with George." It's as seminal a work as that is, and it's equally moving in its own way. Where "Sunday" is about (among other things) the ability of one human being to connect to the rest of the world, "Caroline" is about (among other things) the pain of being confined to one's inner world, unable or unwilling to share it with anyone, not even God. It's about the different ways people react to change and to life itself; it's about waiting for a bus that won't come. Caroline Thibodeaux ranks among the greatest roles written for a woman in musical theatre, alongside Mama Rose, Mrs. Lovett, Dot, and Norma Desmond, and Tonya Pinkins gives the performance of a lifetime both on stage and on this recording. Please buy it, and please see "Caroline, or Change," which has become one of my all-time favorite musicals.

5-0 out of 5 stars Caroline, Or Change - Changing Musical Theatre as we know it
I had the extreme priveledge of experiencing Kushner and Tesori's Operatic Masterpeice, Caroline, or Change live in NYC. The driving rythms, the passion, the heartbreak, the longing, the uprising, the earth shattering performaces. Tanya Pinkins as Caroline, was a revelation, especially in her monumental aria, "Lot's Wife". This song rivals "Rose's Turn". So sincere and believable in her performance she led us through her day to day life as a house maid for a middle class Jewish family, and we followed closely.

I saw this production in early June and was so eager for the Cast recording. Luckily Hollywood Records took on the task of producing this cd, in it's COMPLETE entirty, with full libretto, for all to enjoy. While I was watching the production I was thinking to myself, "will they release this as a single or double cd? Which songs will they choose, and which will they omit?" I am so glad they were able to archive every word, every hum, every breath.

This cd is a crisp, clear interpretation of the production. I heard the opening scene and immediatley wanted to see the show again. The voices are strong, clear, powerful and effective. Most musical theatre lovers won't know how to react while listening to this cd. Think on the lines of groundbreaking storytelling like "Songs for a New World," "Myths and Hyms," "Parade," and anything Sondheim. The songs are complex, intricate and constantly changing with each person's mood. The overall musical theme is the 60's Louisana rhythm & blues/rock and roll/gospel opera. You've rarely heard anything like it, with the few exceptions I have mentioned (or if you've encountered Tesori's Cult favorite, "Violet.")

The cast is simply superb. Chuck Cooper (Tony Ward Winner of The Life) as the bass-voiced Dryer and the amazing solo as the Bus. Anika Noni Rose in her Tony Award winning role as Caroline's activist daughter. Broadway Veteran Veanne Cox as comedic, yet suffering Rose Gellman, Caroline's new Boss. The entire cast is extremely talented, with exstacy inducing voices. This cd packs a punch to the senses.

I recommend this cd to any musical theatre lover, and to anyone who appreciates beautifully inspiring music. This musical, I felt, (alongside (Sondheim & Robert Brown) will help to redefine the mainstream musical theatre creating a new and exciting Musical experience.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Recording
I bought Caroline or Change about two weeks ago, and found it good but unimpressive at first. Then I started to listen more and more, and became slowly obsessed with it. The melodies go from jazzy to fun, and the lyrics are almost always touching. Tonya Pinkins, Veanne Cox, Anika Noni Rose, and all the female leads are tremendous. I implore everyone who didn't like this recording on a first listen to continue to try it out. You won't regret it if you find it half as wonderful as I do.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great CD
I think this is a great CD. The lyrics are so deep and thought out. The music is so catchy you'll be singing alone immediately! My son loves it too!

5-0 out of 5 stars rebirth
Quite simply, the first evidence in years that American musical theater is not a dead, decadent, utterly backward-looking art form. Kushner's talent as a lyricist matches his extraordinary skill as a playwright, and Tesori's music is remarkable (particularly surprising after her generally colorless contributions to Thoroughly Modern Millie, speaking of decadent and backward-looking). Beautifully performed too, by the way, happily preserving a performance in its lead role that, years from now, people will rightly refer to as legendary. ... Read more


138. Troy: Music From The Motion Picture (Score)
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Asin: B000244F7I
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 4099
Average Customer Review: 3.04 out of 5 stars
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Director Wolfgang Peterson took Homer's The Iliad, excerpted theepic Trojan Wars, ditched those troublesome Greek gods, and largely hunghis film's fortunes on copious amount of CGI wizardry and Brad Pitt.Immersing himself in the sword 'n' sandal genre largely revived byGladiator composer James Horner (whose work here replaced theoriginal score of Gabriel Yared) faced some challenging musical choices:Employ the dark synthetic goth textures of Hans Zimmer, or evoke a moretraditional, heroic orchestral tack? The veteran scorer's "3200 YearsAgo" arguably goes Zimmer one better, its dissonance-laced textures anddark percussion evoking an ancient, frightening world. There are similarintrigues ("The Temple of Poseidon," "Hector's Death," "The WoodedHorse...") elsewhere, but whether because of the haste with which hecomposed the score or other filmmaking pressures, Horner also dispensessome cliched, orchestral heroism more worthy ofSteve Reeves orAh-nold. Aficionados often accuse the composer of repeating himself, andthe repetitive brass arpeggios he uses as frequent punctuation here doseem straight from the playbook, not to mention Enemy at theGates; at least he's thematically apropos. There's a closing nod toJarre's Lawrence of Arabia lyricism, and then JoshGroban gets to burnish his career with a suitably melodramatic take onDavid Foster's bathetic, neo-exotica ballad Remember Me.-- Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (100)

2-0 out of 5 stars Appalling.
Absolutely appalling. This score breaks down into two catagories. The first is the "straight copy of Hans Zimmer's Gladiator score" catagory, and the second is the "main Trojan theme sounds depressingly similar to David Arnold's Stargate theme." So what does that leave you with? A completely unoriginal, utterly forgettable and absolutely pathetic. James Horner has done some marvelous work in the past, but this is just disgraceful. I have only heard brief samples of Gabriel Yared's original score to the picture, but it was vastly superior to this, despite being bombastic and classical in style (not to mention far more original). Warner Bros. and director Wolfgang Petersen should be ashamed to have scrapped that in favor of this garbage. From the sub-par score to the awful "pop" tune that rolled at the credits, this music is trash.

EDIT: After a second viewing of the film Troy, and more careful scrutiny of the soundtrack, I believe I was a bit harsh in my scathing first review. While I still believe this film to lacking in what truly makes great movie music (real themes), I will admit it has a few high points I failed to notice before. The film and CD start off strong aurally, with the opening track 3200 Years Ago. It's a powerful piece, and simply slams you down (in a good way). However, I will stand again by my statement: It still sounds too much like Horner is trying to mimic Zimmer's Gladiator score in this number, and especially in the Temple of Poseiden track (Zimmer could probably sue over the Poseiden track, given it's so similar to his own Earth track from Gladiator). Hector's Death is also a high moment on the CD. The focus of the drums is perfectly suited to combat. Achilles Leads The Myrmidons is also decent, with more going on in the music that you're able to detect on screen. The theme of Troy, however, is still quite wanting; the softer moments are inspired, but are few and far between. The lack of themes for major characters is a major disappointment, especially given how important characters like Achilles and Hector are. It would have been nice to hear some more intimate moments in the score (say a Hector and Andromache piece), and Achilles' character just screams for a proud, brass theme specifically for him, and nothing worthy of note is delivered. I would have liked to have heard the completed version of Gabriel Yared's score with the film, or if Warner Bros truly wanted the feel of Gladiator, an entirely new score by Hans Zimmer. However, I would not like more music like the cringe-worthy "Remember" nubmer sung by Josh Groban. Groban has a tremendous voice, but this cheesy and out of place song is tremendously awful.

3-0 out of 5 stars Troy Soundtrack
I purchased this CD solely for the purpose of hearing the touching "Remember Me" by Josh Groden without even seeing the motion picture itself. Josh has a spectacular voice and it was a shame he didn't have more minutes to share it with us. I thought the rest of the music basically was "ok" but I heard bits and pieces of "Titanic" coming though. Horner is a musical genius for sure but I felt that this soundtrack should have had more "drums" and french horns to relate the sheer excitement exploding from the music that would make the listener sit up and take notice. I hope when I see the movie it will do so. I have always felt that music can make or break the mood of a motion picture and Titanic being one of the best I have ever heard still moves me. I play "Remember Me" over and over again, it has a lasting beauty that lingers with the listener and relates so much to the imagination even tho I do not know to whom this song is meant for in the movie but I imagine it to be for Achillies and his lover.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hey, War is Jarring
This is one of the most spectacular orchestrations imaginable. It accurately represents to feel of steel, the flash of bronze, the dash of bodies down those sandy hills to the beach or up those walls. The songs of the eastern European women are typical of scenes when the war dead are being cleared away. Hey, it's not a joyful occasion. I think there are many features about this movie and its presentation that are European in flavor and difficult for some Americans to get a handle on.

I liked the music so much I bought the soundtrack I can't remember ever having done that since a hundred years ago for "Somewhere in Time".

It's like an opera, each character has his own theme. The music as the Greeks (Achaeans) move toward the walls of Troy for the first time is dissonant and unresolved, like ... hey ... war itself.

Th love music for Briseis and Achilles is really beautiful. I love this album and recommend it highly for careful listening as to how the themes match the epic actions.

5-0 out of 5 stars i love the soundtrack
I loved the movie, amazing indeed, and the soundtract is plus 5stars, in fact i give it a 10+ james horner did an excellent job, also Josh Groban, he's outstanding, if u havent heard of this young man then go out and buy this cd plus his latest cd closer, which he sings in 4 langauges....Remember Me, is brillant, as well as tanya....i cant spell her last name, but her vocals to the song, outstanding,....
I cannot say enough great things about this cd!!!

1-0 out of 5 stars Lousy
Horner's score is a pastiche of themes he's used in countless other film scores. While his work during the 80's was still fresh and interesting, his recycling of those same elements today is tired and grating. Listening to the score I was constantly reminded of other films. "Oh yeah," I'd think, "that's that horn he used in Red Heat. And in Willow. And in Aliens. And in every score he's written in the last 20 years." With so many "borrowed" elements, Horner's score never finds its own voice (except for the 'wailing woman', and I can't believe anyone can enjoy her caterwauling) and remains a pedestrian, rushed, and utterly forgettable effort. Yared's score is far superior: haunting, uplifting, epic. Shame on Warner Brothers for forcing its removal. ... Read more


139. The Opera Band
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000V0DE2
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1916
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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The debut of the young, classically trained international quintet of sopranos Jo Appleby and Tsakane Valentine, tenors David Habbin and Geoff Swell, and basso Nick Garret offers up a familiar take on the crossover formula that has enriched everyone from genre pioneers The Three Tenors to Russell Watson and beyond. While their occasionally electro-pumped rhythms and youth-angled marketing shtick ("The world's first opera band!") may borrow a page from Opera Babes and Bond, it still manages to evoke the spirit (if not the letter) of its eclectic classical sources. And if the world hasn't exactly been burning for yet another dramatized update ofTurandot's melodic "Nessun Dorma," The Pearl Fishers, or--for that matter--"Unchained Melody," Amici Forever's takes on the pop side of the crossover equation are indeed promising,recasting Alex North's "Unchained.." ("Senza Catene") and their reworkedtheme to the miniseries Band of Brothers("Requiem for a Soldier") in a successful, neo-classical light. If Neopolitan-shaded originals like "Canto Alla Vita" and "Vita Mia" sound like Josh Groban clones, their glorious harmonic vocal reworkings of Faure's "Pavane" ("Whisper of Angels") and Elgar's "Enigma Variations" ("Nimrod: Lux Aeterna") bristle with an ambitious sense of adventure that's missing from much of their crossover competition. Serious opera buffs may still quarrel with the daring "impurity" of it all, but if Amici Forever prod a few more pimply punters to peruse Puccini, won't it all have been worth it?--Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (32)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Nice Surprise by a Wonderful Group of Musicians
I'm not sure I knew what to expect from Amici Forever's THE OPERA BAND. When I first saw the recording, I think I expected it to be a somewhat cheesy attempt at making classical music and opera more mainstream. I am a believer that most classical music is good enough to stand on its own, and a quality performance does more to help people appreciate good music than any attempts to modernize the music. I probably thought I would view the album as nice, but somewhat lightweight fluff. What I found when I listened was a very pleasing album by five very talented vocalists and a lush orchestra which accompanies them. It has the pleasurable characteristics that make popular music enjoyable and a professionalism that gives the recording quality.

The five members of this group are all classically trained musicians, all for whom have exceptional voices as well as the ability for ensemble performances. The album contains contemporary music: some pop, others semi-classical pieces, as well as vocal tunes set to classical works and of course arias and duets from the world of opera. The arrangements are unique as "Senza Catene" (their version of "Unchained Melody") demonstrates. Their arrangements of songs set to the works of Elgar, Handel, and Faure are moving and well performed. While their renditions of the opera pieces are somewhat popularized, which may be to the chagrin of some opera buffs, there is a beauty to the arrangements and their vocal abilities do the pieces justice. Of course, since opera fans have been subjected to boy band wannabees who attempt to sing some of these same works and young people whose voices are hardly ready to tackle the likes of the great opera composers, maybe it is pleasing just to hear popular singers who can do give their works their due.

My guess is that this recording is not the last we will hear ffrom Amici Forever. Their popular appeal in Europe and their matinee idol good looks will probably ensure television specials and successful concert tours. With their musical talenst they should have wonderful careers, though it should be interesting if their foray into a more popular music genre will hurt their chances at starring on the stages of the major opera houses. Still, this collection is well done and will be enjoyed by people with a variety of musical tastes.

3-0 out of 5 stars A for effort, C for performance, F for originality
One is tempted to give five stars to a CD simply because you don't want to admit that you paid 18 bucks for something and didn't like it. I like some opera selections (Verdi, Puccini in particular) and what I truly enjoyed were discs of selected works, e.g. Love Songs I (solo) and Love Songs II (duets). This is a hybrid though.

In order to attract the non-classical music crowd, a semi-pop beat was introduced as well as some odd instrumentation and some "popular/popularized" tunes. The voices were adequate although I agree with another reviewer that a Berlitz refresher course was needed for the Italian. This is not to say that it was an unpleasant experience; rather, it was an inoffensive, slightly boring series that neither challenged nor excited.

And who did the selections? Unchained Melody? Please. Nessum Dorma? The zillionth time. Pavane? Another old standby that Barbara Streisand did better 30 years ago. This group would be perfect for some of the love duets but they are nowhere to be found. I have an idea (may be mistaken) that a different selection and arranger could have produced a far better CD. Here's wishing them luck...

5-0 out of 5 stars As I see It
a blind purchase, attention caught by cover and Border's album description notes. sampled their italian lyric version of "unchained melody" was stunned. this is a fabulous album with extroadinary performances by five very talented young performers. this album should appeal to anyone that says they love music

5-0 out of 5 stars Brits Have Done It Again
This CD is a must have for anyone who appreciates the classical genre. Their rendition of Handel's Zadok The Priest (Track 11) is among the best I have heard. Little wonder that this song has been performed during the coronation every British monarch since the early 1700s. Simply amazing! Requiem for a Soldier, theme song from Band of Brothers, (Track 5) and Whisper of Angels (Track 6) may well, if you listen with your heart, move you to tears.

5-0 out of 5 stars AMICI FOREVER FLOWS FREELY
This is an outstanding CD! I admit that opera has never been my musical genre of choice - but the title of the CD, "AMICI FOREVER - The Opera Band", piqued my curiosity. The performances here are a seamless union of modern and classical music. Each of the five members of the group possesses outstanding talent and range. Most memorable for me is "Whispers of Angels", based on Faure's Pavane. The music transports you through space, effortlessly and gently - yet speaks to the heart with tremendous intensity. I will be anxiously awaiting their next release! Amici Forever, indeed! ... Read more


140. Star Wars: Episode V - Empire Strikes Back
list price: $21.98
our price: $19.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0002YCVJC
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 10822
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