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    $13.99 $12.49 list($18.98)
    1. Sondheim Sings, Vol. 1: 1962-72
    $30.49 $18.32 list($37.98)
    2. The Phantom of the Opera (Original
    $13.99 $13.18 list($18.98)
    3. Pacific Overtures (2004 Broadway
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    4. 25 Mozart Favorites
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    5. Andrea
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    6. Mamma Mia! (The Musical Based
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    7. Romanza
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    8. Highlights From The Phantom Of
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    9. 25 Classical Favorites
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    10. Time to Say Goodbye
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    11. Silk Road Journeys: When Strangers
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    12. Beethoven's Wig: Sing Along Symphonies
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    13. Let Yourself Go with Rob Fisher
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    14. The Frogs (2004 Broadway Cast)
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    15. Assassins (2004 Broadway Revival
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    16. Obrigado Brazil
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    17. Baby Mozart
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    18. Rent (1996 Original Broadway Cast)
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    19. The Most Famous Opera Duets
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    20. The Most Famous Opera Arias

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

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

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

    Reviews (5)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Buy this CD because it is worth every penny!

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

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


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

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

    Other Recent Sondheim Releases


    The Frogs (2004 Cast)

    Sondheim Sings (vol. 1)

    Assassins (2004 Cast)

    Sweeney Todd (DVD)

    Bounce

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

    Reviews (1)

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    5. Andrea
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $12.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00063M112
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 25
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    Amazon.com

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


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

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

    Reviews (120)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    7. Romanza
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
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    Asin: B0000041OG
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 268
    Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com essential recording

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

    Reviews (284)

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

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

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

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

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

    David Rehak
    author of "Love and Madness"

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


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

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

    Reviews (67)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Just holds no candle to Mike.....

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

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


    9. 25 Classical Favorites
    list price: $4.98
    our price: $4.98
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    Asin: B0000058HT
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 725
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very good quality music
    I had purchased an abundance of the "Favorites" collection, and some were better than others.

    ***This one stood out from many of them.***

    Only flaw:
    I was kind of perturbed when some same tracks on this CD were on another CD, and visa versa.

    Excellent price for this CD.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best of the classics - timeless
    The Cd is "Classical" favorites so the emphasis is not so much on emotions but rather on instrumentation and orchestration. These are all very exceptional and I guarantee satisfaction. Anyways, I am not a classical listener as far as radio stations go but my musical tastes vary dramatically. I found this album to be a phenomenal bang for the buck as I can, on occasion, listen to the classics of which I have heard and thoroughly enjoy listening to. This album has it all.......Mozart, Brahms, Chopin, Bach, Pagony, Tchaikovsky, etc.

    I really like listening to this CD........

    Musical tastes vary dramatically which, if you think about it, is kind of ironic given that a CD is anywhere from 60-90 minutes and a book may take 3-5 hours to read but, for some reason, people tend to be socially grouped more by music than books. Just something to think about.

    5-0 out of 5 stars fabulous collection
    Mozart, Brahms, Chopin . . . need I say more? This offers a great introduction to anyone who has not yet given classical music a try. And, if you absolutely love classical pieces, then you won't regret purchasing a cd that includes varying composers and well-known pieces.

    5-0 out of 5 stars 25 Famous Classics
    The 25 selections are all well performed and are popular classical compositions. Mozart's music, Tchaikovsky ballet music, including the beautiful finale to Sleeping Beauty "the Panorama" scene. The music of J.S. Bach, his 1st violin concerto and Rachmaninoff's piano classic Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini. These are a great collection of music for a beginner or a fan of classical music. I recommend it highly. I am a fan of Mozart, Grieg, Mendelsshon, Wagner and Tchaikovsky. Grieg and Wagner are not to be found here. That would usually be under the Romantic Era composers. There are many cd's under that category. The Cd is "Classical" favorites so the emphasis is not so much on emotions. The emphasis is on instrumentation and orchestration. These are all very exceptional and I garauntee satisfaction.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Priceless masterpieces for an affordable price.
    If this record costed ten times more it would have still a small price.

    The selection is excellent. In my opinion, the record has some of the most remarkable works of art ever created.

    Some of my preferred are Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and Symphony in D, Tchaikovsky's Russian Dance, Vivaldi's The Four Seasons and Violin Concerto No. 1 and Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3.

    It was a pleasant surprise to see a so good record costing so little. ... Read more


    10. Time to Say Goodbye
    list price: $17.98
    our price: $13.99
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    Asin: B000002SMW
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 651
    Average Customer Review: 4.32 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com essential recording

    Fans of small, pretty-voiced soprano Sarah Brightman will not be disappointed by this CD. In addition to some pop songs, Brightman sings high-flying excerpts from Orff's Carmina Burana, Puccini's "O mio babbino caro" (performed better by almost any other operatic soprano elsewhere), and "Alleluia" from Mozart's Exsultate Jubilate. One might call this a crossover disc; others might just see it as a recording featuring a pop singer with artsy aspirations. Whatever it is, Brightman's fans love her; others do not. Two duets with tenor Jose Cura remind the listener what opera singing really ought to sound like. --Robert Levine ... Read more

    Reviews (207)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Surprise Pleasure for Not Particularly a Brightman Fan
    I'd rather listen to Sarah Brightman than watch her. Her voice is lovely, but very small. Her technique, I think, is miniscule. She does not belong in operatic repertoire. All that criticism out of the way, I'll say this is a most delightful album! (Surprise!).

    I'm weary of hearing Bocelli, who I find sometimes pleasant at best, but essentially boring, so forget the first number. "There's No One Like You" is gorgeous. The two duets with young Jose Cura are sensational, although that's because of Cura, who has a stunning voice and with his singing and acting skills and appearance/personality ought to be a much bigger star than Bocelli. Any of you who haven't: listen to him, watch him when you can. This is THE big tenor star on the rise.

    The "Aranjuez" number by Brightman is ever so appealing, as is "In Trutino". Yes, her voice is too small for the "La Wally" aria, but it's pretty nonetheless, as, of course, is "O mio babbino caro." All in all, this CD is somehow just an enjoyable listen. I even like her read on the Gypsy Kings number.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Songbird Soothes Our Tensions
    This album is particularly relaxing. I love to kick back with a glass of wine in a comfortable chair with my eyes closed and just listen.

    Sarah's voice is complemented by Andrea Bocelli on the title track and Jose Cura on several others. The material runs from classical to pop, all with an operatic flavor. This is a great album to ease into opera or classical appreciation with. It is not true opera, but emulates some of the vocal and orchestral stylings associated with classical opera. Classical "purists" should look elswhere.

    Sarah puts on a strong performance, exhibiting a multitude of qualities with her voice, ranging from strength to wispy warblings and everything in between. She even speaks between the final two tracks, recorded live. Her speaking voice is a surprise! If you enjoy relaxing music in a classical style, you will enjoy this CD. I would put this in her top three recordings, alongside "Eden" and "La Luna."

    5-0 out of 5 stars Whoever said that Miss Brightman has a thin voice is crazy!
    I must say that this is one of my most listend to Sarah cds. I wish that some people would just get over the fact that she has a small voice sometimes, and just listen to the music. For heaven sakes, she is famous and it making more money than i ever will, she can sing bad all she wants!! who are we to say anything different??
    Go to one of her concerts. It is the most amazing thing. If you close your eyes, you will literally think that you are in heaven!! Because, obviously, she is the "Angel of Music"!!!
    I think that Miss Brightman deserves 2 thumbs up!! BRAVO!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Time to Say Goodbye
    Miss Brightman sing like a little angel and the song become very nice and heartfelt. She is a tremendous vocalist that put many singers to shame with her sheer tallent and poise. Ok, so it is not high art or culture but it is fun album with great songs. Highly Recommended.

    1-0 out of 5 stars If you've never heard anything better, this sounds good
    I liked this CD for a little while when I didn't know of any singers that could sing better than her. She sounds okay on songs that are written for her because they make her voice sound less breathy and thin. Her voice is "sweet" but very thin. I have heard singers who have pretty voices that aren't so dramatic and full of vibrato as some of the other reviewers complain of opera singers.
    Rebecca Luker
    Dawn Upshaw (And she's a true opera singer)
    Hayley Westenra

    And if you think this is real classical singing or even anywhere close to classical singing listen to any decent Soprano over 16 who is classically trained and you will be amazed and how much better they are than her. ... Read more


    11. Silk Road Journeys: When Strangers Meet
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $14.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0000641CG
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 2552
    Average Customer Review: 3.65 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    This disc introduces Yo-Yo Ma's latest and most ambitious adventure, the Silk Road Project. It explores the cultures that flourished along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route that for centuries connected Europe and the East. Founded by Ma in 1998, the project aims to create connections, mutual trust, and cultural interchange between people from different parts of the world through their only shared language: music.

    This recording includes music from Mongolia, China, Persia, Japan, Iran, Azerbaijan, and an improvisation on an Italian Renaissance street song, performed by musicians from all those countries, as well as America, on both Eastern and Western instruments. Ma, who participates in every piece either as soloist or part of the ensemble, plays cello and a Mongolian "horse-head fiddle." There is also a Mongolian soprano, who sings a traditional song native to her region. For the uninitiated Western listener, the music requires some getting used to. Much of it is based on rhythmic ostinatos. The melodies use Oriental scales; the intonation is untempered; the music seems all color, texture, and atmosphere, without what might be called themes; and repetition takes the place of development. Contrast is achieved through sudden change, buildup by adding instruments. However, the music is often beautiful, delicate, dreamy, or peaceful; every listener will find his or her own favorite pieces. The playing is splendid, with much inventive improvisation. Inevitably, Ma's tone and personality stand out, but he never dominates in fact or spirit. The booklet offers essays by Ma and the project's musicologist, Theodore Levin, photographs of the players, and drawings of the Eastern instruments. --Edith Eisler ... Read more

    Reviews (17)

    5-0 out of 5 stars It is Pure Silk
    Silk Road Journeys "When Strangers meet" Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble

    This has to be one of Yo-Yo Ma's finest CD's. With the cello there is such a magnificent blend of instruments that one feels right on the Silk Road. I found that the "silky" feeling is particularly strong on Track 5: Zhao Jiping: Moon over Guan Mountains through Tracks 6 and 7: Michio Mamiya: Five Finnish Folksongs and then Track 8 Avaz-e Dashti (Pesian Traditional)
    but then continues in a different feel of different kinds of silk. Although it is an auditory feeling there is very much a kinesthetic feeling in this CD.

    Besides traditional orchestral instruments, there is a fascinating array of musical instruments with their own kind of onomatopoeic names other than flutes, lutes, organs, drums, and fiddles. The printed insert is a superb piece of poetic writing to guide one on the origins of this Ensemble. It is certainly a masterpiece of music to listen to on one's own in particular. It is a kind of meditation and one where one can relate to immediately for peace of mind and spirit. The ensemble was formed on trust, according to Yo-Yo Ma. So "trust" me this is splendid! I look forward to more of this type of music.
    Genie Albrecht
    Windhoek Namibia.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and fascinating mix of East & West / new & Trad.
    If your exposure to Yo Yo Ma is primarily through his classical performances on cello, Silk Road Journeys is likely to be a shock. However, if you have heard and enjoyed the beautiful soundtrack to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, SRJ will be a treat. This is not pure traditional folk music, but rather contemporary music inspired by the traditions of the cultures who inhabit what was known as the Silk Road, from China to Europe. I am amazed that such a mix of styles fits together so well. This collaboration of musicians from different traditions reminds me of the West-meets-East recordings of Yehudi Menuhin and Ravi Shankar. Even if SRJ does not have the cultural impact of Menuhin and Shankar, I admire the creativity and boldness of this project. Fortunately it is also very listenable.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
    This is an amazing piece of work. I had the opportunity to see Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensamble in concert and sat in the front row, orchastra center where I could see the preformers and their instruments. The music is marvelous - a true east meets west experience. For anyone wishing to experiment with the tastes of other cultures - give this cd a try.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Nice try, but it doesn't turn out right
    Maybe YoYo Ma wants to promote Asian music, maybe he wants to create some fusion style, maybe he wants to inject western interpretation into the mysterious thousands of years old culture. He tried it, and tried it hard. But, even with all the good intention the CD doesn't turn out right. Firstly, the instruments are so distinctive, they belong to their own stages, I cannot imagine what kind of harmony it could bring if you put cello, pabla, PIPA or cidar together, or Magonia folk songs and Turkish spiritual music? Secondly, call me conservative, I would like to perserve Asian music's own style as much as I would like to western classical. Granting a western music formula doesn't go along with its melody. Lastly, these music don't mix with each other. I have visited the silk road in Western China and also had a great journey in India. The art and the music are just fascinating, but very different, even though both cultures share lots of common.

    Listening to this CD is like drinking British style Chinese tea, you can still taste some original tea flavor, but milk and sugar are added.

    But I applaud to Mr Ma's reaching out of introducing Asian music to the rest of the world. The forgotten corner has been discovered.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Exquisite
    One of the most exquisite, haunting, creative and sumptuous works of musical art to be produced in my lifetime. I cannot play this CD as 'background' music; it captures 100 percent of my heart and mind each time I play it. It is breathtaking and disturbing and almost heartbreakingly beautiful.

    It is especially touching at this moment in time, when so much of our daily consciousness is caught up in the conflicts between cultures. This weaving together of musicians and instruments from different 'worlds' is healing for my soul at a level almost too deep to express. It portrays to me with delicate artistry what it means to be an individual member of a worldwide, ancient and variegated human race. ... Read more


    12. Beethoven's Wig: Sing Along Symphonies
    list price: $12.98
    our price: $11.99
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    Asin: B000060OLA
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 810
    Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Inspired and wildly imaginative, Beethoven's Wig is one of the best introductions to classical music you could give to your children. Featuring snippets of 11 classical music staples--Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Haydn, et al.--the disc and its creators, Richard Perlmutter and friends, pour on the silly lyrics the first time around to familiarize young ears to the old masters. Then in the last half of the record, the orchestra plays the same "serious" music pieces instrumentally. You might cheerfully recall Alan Sherman's popular spoofs of old classical works in Wig; pieces like "Drip, Drip, Drip," which adapts Delibes's "Pizzicato from Sylvia," and if so, you'll again chuckle. You'll also marvel at the expertise throughout the CD, with all the pieces well played and thoroughly fun. Beethoven's Wig is an orchestral treasure with a sense of humor as old or as new as its listeners (and the fun questions that run throughout the CD's liner notes are almost as entertaining as the zany musical interludes). Highly recommended. --Martin Keller ... Read more

    Reviews (34)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A gift to children: lovable classics
    A couple of weeks ago, shortly after I tuned in the Today Show, I left the room for a minute and returned to find my 5-year old looking up from his play, mesmerized, at the TV. Richard Perlmutter was performing a selection from his new CD, "Beethoven's Wig." I'd never heard anything quite like it (Mozart with children's lyrics!) and found myself as drawn in as my son. But it wasn't until hours later, when I actually heard my son humming the melody from the beginning of "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik," that I realized what had transpired: my kid was singing classical music. We bought the CD, and have now listened twice together all the way through, from Beethoven and Tchaikovsky to Haydn and Offenbach and beyond. It's really delightful, from the first track to the last. And because Perlmutter had the good sense to also include the original versions of these classics without the lyrics, performed by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, now my son likes to sing the lyrics himself sometimes along with the orchestra version so that he's the only voice (classical karaoke, kid-style!). He'll outgrow that someday, no doubt, but he'll always have these incredible melodies forever -- thanks to "Beethoven's Wig" and Perlmutter's fertile imagination. We highly recommend it.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Great lyrics, mediocre lead singer
    I cheerfully admit to being more ignorant about classical music than I want to be, so I bought this CD as much for my own edification as for my 4 year-old son's. I thought that the concept of using humor to introduce classical music would really work for my son, as he is constantly singing his favorite songs (over and over and over....).

    The lyrics are really very funny ("I can Can Can if you Can Can/Can you Can Can?"-- Offenbach's "Can Can"), and sometimes even educational (I might actually memorize the kings and queens of England set to Purcell's "Trumpet Tune"). Unfortunately, Perlmutter's voice isn't particularly melodic, so the CD isn't as enjoyable as I had hoped. So far, we've gotten more use out of the liner notes than the actual CD: I've been reading/sorta singing the lyrics to my son.

    I don't regret this purchase, but I am a bit disappointed...I would actually give this three and a half stars if possible. Just listen to all the audio samples (like I should have) to see if Perlmutter's voice gets on your nerves or not.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Irritating
    Humor is subjective. I liked the idea of this cd but when I bought it, I found the lyrics annoying and not really funny. Obviously a lot of other people like but I found it frustrating to have wasted the money. My kids prefer it when I put on regular classical music. They (3 and 4) like listening for all the different instruments. The lyrics seemed more distracting than funny (older kids probably "get" the lyrics in a way preschoolers don't).

    5-0 out of 5 stars Can I only give it 5 stars?
    Warning - do not listen to this for the first time while driving. There is a very serious risk of wrecking your car because you are laughing so hard. This CD is wonderful. It the most creative music I've heard since Tom Lehrer. We have both CD's and listen to them constantly. My kids, 7 and 5, get most of the humor and love every hilarious, wonderful song. Thank you, Richard Perlmutter!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars My 2.5 year old loves it!
    My daughter loves this CD. She is 2 1/2 and loves the songs and the silly words. We refer to each song by it's correct symphony name, and we often listen to the versions without the words, so she is becoming familiar with the music and the names. I'm ordering the 2nd one! ... Read more


    13. Let Yourself Go with Rob Fisher and the Coffee Club Orchestra
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000059T4T
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 1975
    Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Kristin Chenoweth won a Tony for the supporting role of Sally Brown in the 1999 revival of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, made a memorably vampy Lily in the 1999 television film of Annie, and had an NBC sitcom created for her, Kristin! Now she grabs the spotlight in Let Yourself Go, her first solo recording. She mixes torchy standards ("My Funny Valentine," "How Long Has This Been Going On?") with Faith Prince-style sauciness ("If"), gets to show off her operatic and scat chops in the miniplay "The Girl in 14G," and shares a light duet with Jason Alexander (reviving his musical theater career post-Seinfeld). Perhaps her "Stranger Here Myself" isn't the weightiest you've ever heard, but this is an enjoyable album with a good deal of old-fashioned class, expertly accompanied by Rob Fisher and the Coffee Club Orchestra. --David Horiuchi ... Read more

    Reviews (50)

    5-0 out of 5 stars I love this CD so much I have two copies
    I adore Kristin Chenoweth. I didn't quite know who she was until her short-lived NBC sitcom. It is because of that show that I purchased this CD. I listen to it a portion of it at least once a day.

    Kristin has such an amazing voice and she really shines on this album. When I first listened to the CD, I enjoyed the faster songs more than the slow ones. Then I liked the slow ones more. Now I just love it all.

    "Let Yourself Go" is a fabulous song to wake yourself up and get moving. It has the pep and spirit that shines so well in Kristin's personality.

    "If You Hadn't But You Did", at times my favorite song, starts out slow but gains speed quickly. In this song, you can hear Kristin's ability to get into a character using only her voice.

    "How Long Has This Been Going On" and "My Funny Valentine" really show off Kristin's voice and her ability to hit those high notes and hold them.

    "Hangin' Around With You", a duet with Seinfeld's Jason Alexander, is a pleasant surprise. It's fun to listen to Kristin and Jason argue, they both have fabulous comedic timing.

    "The Girl In 14G" is amazing. Here, Kristin showcases the range of her voice and shows off her opera training.

    In "I'll Tell the Man in the Street", "I'm A Stranger Here Myself", and "Nobody Else But Me", Kristin captures her characters so well.

    "Nobody's Heart Belongs To Me/ Why Can't I?" at first seemed like a slow boring song to me, but I found myself loving it. This song just packs so much emotion and can sometimes bring a tear to my eye. I could listen to it all day long.

    "Should I Be Sweet?" is hilarious. Kristin switches her mood back and forth so easily.

    "Just An Ordinary Guy", "Goin' To the Dance With You", "On A Turquiose Cloud", and "You'll Never Know" continue the flow of the album, bouncing from sweet and slow to peppy to a song merely showcasing Kristin's abilities to a beautiful love song.

    "Daddy" is a great song to end the CD with. It is so much fun to listen and sing along with. Kristin sings it so well, and I always find myself listening to it twice.

    Overall, this CD is fabulous. In the booklet in the CD, Kristin tells John Lahr of the New Yorker, "The one thing I don't want to do is sing a song because it's pretty. I want to tell a story. I want people to be transformed in the song." With her first solo CD, Kristin achieves this goal and so much more.

    I can not reccomend it enthusiastically enough. Buy this CD! :)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Voice, Mixed Bag of Standards Chosen
    Being a huge fan of Kristin Chenoweth since seeing her perform on the Tony Awards as "Sally" in You're A Good Man Charlie Brown and on Rosie O'Donnell's Christmas Special, I was very excited to go out and purchase her debut album. While her voice is elegant, humourous at times, emotional, and basically just all around, great.....the songs she chose do not showcase her talent fairly. With the exception of Let Yourself Go, If You Hadn't But You Did, My Funny Valentine, Hangin' Around With You (With Jason Alexander), and The Girl in 14G, the rest of the songs are just filler. I hope the next time around, her producers select a complete track listing of songs that really show what a national treasure KRISTIN is! I look forward to her sitcom this next week! Keep up the great work Ms. Chenoweth!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent CD!
    Kristin Chenoweth, as Idina Menzel said in her speech at the 2004 Tonys, is the "grace and light upon that stage every night." And her debut CD "Let yourself go" certainly shows how talented and charismatic Kristin is. This CD utilizes Kristin's amazing versatility and range. She can go from singing ballads such as "My funny Valentine" to upbeat numbers ("Let yourself Go") to "The Girl in 14-G" that has her singing opera and jazz in one number. If you are a fan of show tunes or just good music, you should buy this CD! Kristin is a rare gem in musical theatre today but her talent doesn't stop there. She is also a classically trained opera singer and has proven herself able to sing jazz, country, and gospel as well. On top of that, she is a kind woman who doesn't take anything for granted.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Let Yourself Go into many different types of singing
    Kristin Chenoweth has the perfect combo of comedy and ballads...I love it!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Kristin Chenoweth is perfect once again!!
    What can I say? The amazing Kristin Chenoweth has done it again. This CD showcases her voice beautifully; she has quite a range. A really good thing about this CD is that all of the songs are not exactly the same, so Kristin has a chance to show off her comedic singing ("If", among others), as well as her more serious material ("Why Can't I?", etc.), both of which she does extremely well. This should be a must-buy for any Chenoweth, music, or musical theatre fan anywhere! Kristin Chenoweth never ceases to amaze me, and I'm sure you will feel the same way after you listen to this fabulous CD. ... Read more


    14. The Frogs (2004 Broadway Cast)
    list price: $18.98
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    Asin: B0006SSMWY
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 1394
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    For a long time, Stephen Sondheim's 1974 compact offering The Frogs was known for two things. It was originally staged in Yale's swimming pool with a chorus that included Sigourney Weaver and Meryl Street; and its song "Invocation and Instructions to the Audience" has become a perennial in Sondheim tributes and cabaret shows. The show was given a belated studio recording in 2001 with Nathan Lane in the lead role of Dionysus. Lane then went back for more--literally, since he adapted and expanded Burt Shevelove's book--and Sondheim wrote several new songs. Finally, The Frogs was a full-length musical, staged in 2004. New tracks "I Love to Travel" and "Ariadne" are on par with Sondheim's best--the first a bouncy song, the latter a wrenching love song that could become a new recital favorite. While this recording is more enjoyable than the actual show, which could be a bit of a slog, it's hard to shake the feeling that maybe The Frogs should have remained a curio. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

    Reviews (4)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Looking for a metamorphosis
    I listened to this album twice while driving in the Nevada wilderness. Nathan Lane is always a charming person to spend some time with, even if he's just a voice coming out of my CD player. The problems the critics identified in the Lincoln Center production are vaguely apparent on the recording: With the exception of "Shaw" and "Ariadne," the songs sound like Sondheim using half his considerable brain -- the songs are clever, but they're not tied to the passions or thoughts of complex characters. The final song really is a letdown -- it's a call to action, but to do what? And the humor presented in the dialogue is pretty routine. Still, you should by this if you're either a Sondheim or a Broadway score completist, and there are several minor rewards.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I love it
    Up front admission:I love Stephen Sondheim perhaps above all other muscians in the world (runners up include Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays, YellowJackets, Keith Jarret).That said, I am completely delighted with Frogs.It has, in full quality, both things I always love about all Sondheim's work:the rich musical composition, and the perfect rhyming and delicious wit of the lyrics.I would mention that the wit, in this case, is even greater than his past works, though I would fear you might think that is why I love it so much, and that would be wrong.It's not the wit, it's the music.But the wit is great in this one. You can tell the actors love it too, and they are all in prime form in this recording.My advice:get it.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Sondheim has done it again: "The Frogs" hits the mark
    I suppose it depends on how you feel about Sondheim in general, but I think that this recording- while far from his masterwork- does showcase the Sondheim tunes that made him famous.Certain songs are forgettable- "Shaw" I could do without- while others really are well done."Ariadne" is utterly gorgeous, wrenching, and altogether perfect.The title song is really incredible, and at one point a five-part counterpoint is done with different famous songs pieced together.It is at the same time jaunty and eerie, not an easy mix to acheive."Dress Big" is an example of what Sondheim has been criticized of in the past- tying together rhyming lyrics without a real melodical pattern."I Love To Travel" is, however, a good example of Sondheim at his best.It's fun, fast-paced and catchy, with the lyrical style that made him famous.Other songs, like "Fear No More" are surprising, but in the best possible way, beautiful ballads that catch the listener off guard.It is easy to see where the new songs were written and which ones were preserved from the version he did at Yale, so certain songs, no matter how good, seem out of place.Over all, the music is very good, but it's the kind of cast recording where you have to skip tracks.

    As for the performers, I really must say this was well cast. Nathan Lane does a great job of being a robust and energetic Dionysos, and even proves his vocal versatility in "Ariadne", although it would be nice to hear that particular song recorded by somebody else with a less distinct tone.Because Lane's voice is so easily recognized it is very hard to get past on songs like that.(I never saw the show on stage, by the way.I am just saying what I understand from listening to the CD.)In addition, I was disappointed that Roger Bart didn't have a larger singing role.He's a fabulous performer, immensely talented in both his singing and acting, and he did the best he could with the little solos he had.Lane and Bart were actually the two biggest reasons I bought this CD, being a huge fan of The Producers.I don't feel they let me down.The other actors do a good job, most notably Michael Siberry as William Shakespeare.His "Fear No More" is soft and despairing, a true delight.Peter Bartlett was just so perfect for the role of Pluto, and he's very fun to listen to.It is hard to gauge Daniel Davis' performance from listening to the recording, but I saw him recently in La Cage Aux Folles, so if his performance in The Frogs was anything near as good as he was in that, he must have been amazing.

    Over all, a very good recording.Poignant at parts and redundant at others, it has higher amitions than it can live up to- perhaps if it hadn't taken itself so seriously, it would have really been superb.A worthwhile recording to listen to, I recommend this for any Sondheim fans or general musical theatre enthusiasts looking for a good time.It hits the mark, even if at times it fails to remember "It's only a play".

    4-0 out of 5 stars Sondheim Aficianados, Jump to It!
    Being a Sondheim fan is a chronic exercise in exhiliration and frustration, and the newly refurbished score of "The Frogs" provides no exception to the rule.Stretched to 2 1/2 hours on the stage of the Vivien Beaumont, last summer's lumpen production exposed a slight effort collapsing under the weight of its own ambitions.What is preserved here, for better and worse, is also the best of what was offered.It's a mixed bag, for sure, with a handful of floppo numbers surrounded by beautiful examples of Sondheim at his best.The famous opening "Instructions to the Audience" is cute rather than funny, and that's no compliment.In addition, Sondheim continues his 20-year tradition of composing over-rhymed patter songs with the lyrics laid across note clusters in rhythmic cadences."Dress Big" and "Hades" are the culprits here.In these songs, the words run away with themselves in true "Gilbert and Sullivan" fashion and you get riffs instead of melodies.Worse, they both sound VERRRY familiar.And "It's only a Play" is downright irritating, with Nathan Lane's broad liberal polemics juxtaposed with another annoying Sondheim jab at "critics" (didn't he exorcise this demon twenty years ago with "Merrily..." and "Sunday in the Park"?).Still, there's a lot of good stuff here.The jaunty "I Love to Travel" has a delightful swing to it and is very "atypical" Sondheim.The gourgeous "Ariadne" is equal to any of his classic ballads, once again proving that this talented composer is a true melodic master, and the moving "Fear No More" strikes just the right note of melancholy mixed with longing.The march-like title song, so over the top on stage, here preserves its ominous, foreboding tension and frames the score with chilling intensity.The cast is a bit of a mixed bag, though mostly they do just fine.Nathan Lane is, as usual, Nathan Lane.However, his comic timing remains exquisite and his singing voice is rather better than some would have it.Peter Bartlett brings zest to his every word and Michael Siberry, in particular, shines in his showcase "Fear No More".No, this isn't a masterpiece.However, there's enough here to more than satisfy any musical theater fan.Of course, Sondheim fans will be delighted that an almost new, fullblown work from the master is now available for public consumption.All aboard. ... Read more


    15. Assassins (2004 Broadway Revival Cast)
    list price: $18.98
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    Asin: B0002B161Y
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 852
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    "Everybody's got a right/To their dream." So begins Stephen Sondheim's 1991 show Assassins--and in this case, said dreams involve killing an American president. The characters form a veritable rogues' gallery, including John Hinckley, Lee Harvey Oswald and John Wilkes Booth of course, but also half-forgotten luminaries such as Leon Czolgosz (who killed McKinley) and "Squeaky" Fromme (who aimed for Gerald Ford with an unloaded gun). While Sondheim's lyrics are trenchant as ever, his music, which ranges from Sousa pomp to clever little waltzes, is technically brilliant but also oddly uninvolving. (Many fans prefer the recording of the 1991 Off-Broadway version, though "Something Just Broke," which was added to the 1992 London production, makes its recorded debut here.) Still, there are several high points. In "Unworthy of Your Love," for instance, Hinckley and Fromme wax poetic about their unrequited love for Jodie Foster and Charles Manson, respectively, in a Burt Bacharach-style ballad that's deliberately (I hope!) sappy. And of course as with most Sondheim shows, the cast of this revival--Michael Cerveris, Mario Cantone, Becky Ann Baker, Marc Kudisch, Denis O'Hare--is very good. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more


    16. Obrigado Brazil
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.99
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    Asin: B00009ZKXD
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 608
    Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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    This enchanting, flavorful CD finds the ever curious Yo-Yo Ma traveling to South America, and Brazil in particular. The music varies from classical to samba to bossa nova; the combinations range from guitar, flute, and cello to female voice (the remarkable Rosa Passos), cello, guitar, percussion, piano, and bass; to simple cello and piano; to cello and two guitars. The overriding element is rhythm; each selection has a beat which is both infectious and sensual, but the contexts are splendidly varied. "Dansa brasileira" has a Debussy-like, impressionistic flavor, "Dansa negra" is sultry with an easy melody, "1 x 0" is a dance scored for guitar, percussion, and cello with a solo clarinet riff. It's impossible to get bored or tired listening to this creative CD; it's unique--just like Yo-Yo Ma himself--and endlessly surprising. It may not be quite what we'd call "classical" music, but it is many kinds of music, and they all will delight. The other musicians are as impressive on their instruments as Ma is with his cello, and that's saying a great deal. --Robert Levine ... Read more

    Reviews (26)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great overview of the Brazilian spirit
    I was blessed to spend almost 2 years in the beautiful country of Brazil. I learned the language and loved the people. I'm a musician myself and have been recently discovering the beautiful sounds of Heitor Villa-Lobos. This CD has 2 of his pieces as well as a fantastic selection, ranging from the smooth jazz of A. Jobim to the more traditionals sounds of Paxinguinha with the samba. There's nothing like jazz sung by a native of Rio and there's nothing so wonderful as the samba.

    I admire the selection of music on this CD as it covers a wide variety of genres and a large chunk of Brazilian history. Several of the newer pieces were also quite enjoyable, especially because they were performed by the composers themselves.

    Of course, Yo-Yo Ma outdoes himself again. His playing is impeccable as is his ability to become part of the larger ensemble. I'm so glad he's willing to blend in and let us hear all the different and beautiful aspects of this music. He's truly a class act as well as an astonishingly accurate and polished musician!

    2-0 out of 5 stars Once more...with feeling.....
    Let me say first that I really wanted to like this cd. When I saw the title "Obrigado Brazil" I believed that I would adore this album since I'm a huge fan of Brazilian music, but after my first listen I was highly disappointed.

    Usually, Brazilian music is inviting - the performances are emotionally honest, open, and warm. But, I can't find that vitality on many of Obrigado Brazil's songs. The artists' performances are mechanical. Although they are technically sound because they play all the correct notes, they are unconvincing because emotionally they are dry, inhibited, and uninspired. Even renown Brazilian singer Rosa Passos's voice failed to inspire on Jobim's classic "Chega de Saudade."

    I'm surprised -- and then not surprised - - at the four or five star ratings for this bland album. I realize there are many who are not well aquainted with the Brazilian standards - - or other artists' interpretations of these classics. For me, the classics never get old as long as the artist's interpretation is well-done and done with vitality.

    I've heard much better interpretations. If you're a fan of Yo Yo Ma or Rossa Passos, then I probably would add this to complete my collection. Bu if you're looking for emotionally honest "classical" performances - - I'd try Morelenbaum(squared) and Ryuichi Sakamoto's tribute to Composer Antonio Carlos Jobim's "A Day in New York" which is much, much better than Obrigado Brazil. They perform the standards not only with precision, but with alegria(happiness).

    5-0 out of 5 stars Yo Yo Ma does it again!
    Obridgado Brazil is a great album. I highly recommend it along with the brazilian music of Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Versatile YoYo Goes Brazilian
    As liner notes declare, "many musicians, from Arthur Rubinstein to MIles Davis, to fas under the spell of Brazil's seductive sounds." YoYo brings his cello to a group of talented Brazilian artists for this collection of ecclectic snapshots of this blended music of jazz, ragtime, samba, etc.

    Love the clarinet sounds of D'Rivera and the great guitar and who can not like the percussion of this vibrant culture.

    Ma continues to explore and venture out musically, ala Appalachian recordings, Silk Road journeys, baroque, etc.
    He is so talented and his intoxicating cello adds much here, yet never overpowering or smothering his talented musicians which surround him.

    This is joyous, celebrative music!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Obrigado in the studio
    Yo-yo Ma is one of the most interesting musicians working today. His eclectic tastes bring us fascinating music from around the globe, and his astonishing musicianship guarantees excellence in every new adventure. Recent CDs have seen him venturing to China via the Silk Road and to the Belle Epoque of France. His attention has also been focused on Latin America with Soul of the Tango and this first, studio version of Obrigado Brazil. He has even followed up these recordings with Obrigado Brazil Live in Concert, which repeats some pieces from the earlier studio recordings but is primarily new work in the same vein.

    Ma is joined by a septet of mostly Latin American performers, two of whom also double as composers: composer/clarinettist Paquito d'Rivera, singer/guitarist Rosa Passos, guitarists Sergio and Odair Assad, Ma's long time accompanist at the piano Kathryn Stott, and a bassist and percussionist.

    Listen to one of my favorite tracks, the lovely Menino, and you wil hear that Ma brings real sensibility to this music. Occasionally his performance reveals that he isn't as familiar with the style as d'Rivera or the others--he tends, for example, not to bend pitches but approach them as his Classical training would have--but this is no significant flaw, as the qualities of line and rhythm he does bring to the music compensate. Those who complain that Obrigado Brazil isn't truly Brazilian music, that it's perhaps over-refined miss the point entirely, and are advised to look elsewhere for their entertainment. Certainly if "authentic" folk music is what listeners are after, they won't find it here. But they will find wonderful music, played with love and dedication by superb musicians, and well worth hearing.

    Now, to compare the studio version with the live concert recording. The liner notes of Obrigado Brazil Live in Concert claim that the energy of a live performance makes the works the two CDs share sound totally different, with the implication that live is better, but I can't agree. There are subtle variations, to be sure-for example one of the pieces has much more percussion in the studio version, and even the ambience of the studio recording is audibly different from the live concert-but these aren't wild distinctions and certainly not necessarily improvements. The energy of a live concert may well be counterbalanced by the control of a studio version. It's surely a matter of taste. Personally I usually prefer studio recordings to live. Here, though, the biggest difference is not in the comparisons of the pieces that are on both CDs, but on the contrasting approaches of the overall programme. The studio version of Obgriado Brazil is more introspective and melancholy; the concert recording has more fast, joyful works and moves beyond Brazil for its sources. In this particular case, I prefer the live concert material for the most part. The two final pieces of the studio recording are glorious, though, and I wouldn't want to miss them by only purchasing the live recording. I'm totally taken by the joyous exhuberance of the penultimate track, Brasileirinho, and the crazed final track, Salvador, with its wild improvisation. Admittedly, what I prize many listeners may despise--so much so that the marketers label this last a "bonus track". And I'm not so much a Bossa Nova fan, but if you are, I think the studio CD leans more in that general direction. Whether to buy one or the other, or even both, will surely be a matter of personal taste. But certainly, do buy one--you're almost guaranteed to enjoy it! ... Read more


    17. Baby Mozart
    list price: $6.98
    our price: $6.98
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    Asin: B000065VCG
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 1334
    Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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    Of all the reasons you'll click the Add to Shopping Cart button next to Baby Einstein's Baby Mozart--and there are many--the best one is that playing this record for babies doesn't feel weird. Instead of subjecting tiny, tender ears to the kind of Mozart that can make adult classical fans wilt when tackled by a maestro who means business, this is Mozart lite, mixed and mastered by a dad, Bill Weisbach, who's clearly hung around for his share of crib-side cooing. The slightly tinny sound of a child's piano sweeps the sting out of Piano Sonata in B Flat's third movement; the first movement of Concerto for Flute and Harp in C floats by, birdlike; variations on "Ah vous dirai-je, Maman" translate to a fancy-sounding (but adorable) "Twinkle, Twinkle"; and Piano Sonata in F's third movement snuggles so deeply into its childlike setting that if you close your eyes, you'll see a pastel parade of animals floating by overhead. Other pieces (more aptly called fragments, since only one track stretches beyond the three-minute mark), like Symphony No. 41's fourth movement, wander into more robust Mozart territory, but it's here the claims about classical music enhancing young kids' abstract reasoning skills and spatial intelligence crystallize. Babies strapped in for a roller coaster of sounds that gracefully dips, swerves, and high-jumps like this version, do have to process what they're hearing somehow (and a case could be made that the instruments Weisbach's chosen--the vibraphone, glockenspiel, and music box among them--make it more appealing for them to do so). Followers of Julie Aigner-Clark's Baby Einstein empire, many of whom opted out of the fan club once Disney bought the company in 2001, won't trip over a single Mickey Mouse-ified sound here. This is pure, plugged in, and muted Mozart, and if it doesn't make your baby smarter, it'll at least sound awfully sweet issuing from your nursery's speakers. --Tammy La Gorce ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Creative & Soothing
    I like classical music, but some of the pieces have crescendos and accents that make it very difficult to listen to when you just want to relax. When I saw Baby Beethoven, I bought it and enjoyed it. I saw Baby Mozart at a different store and instantly picked it up.

    The music doesn't have the sudden musical attacks that classical music has because the instant sound can frighten little ones. That is one of the great things about this CD. I can listen to in when I just want to sit down and relax.

    I also like that the pieces and the CD itself, it's too long. I can finish the CD during a nice bath. The music also isn't too loud in general, so you don't have to have the CD player volume at full blast one moment, just to hear the music and almost off the next, so you can keep your hearing.

    I highly recommend this CD, whether you have little ones or not.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fun for the kids
    My twin girls loved the video so I bought the CD and they love it!We listen to it in the car and they relate the CD to the video. It's great and keeps them happy on the road.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fun - cute songs- also check out Troy & Genie Nilsson
    This is fun. Also, if you're like me you probably also want to get more music that has fun + deep moral/spiritual meaning + pro music that you can stand hearing a million times. My favorite of that kind that I would highly recommend to you is Troy & Genie Nilsson's stuff like Scripture Rock. ... Read more


    18. Rent (1996 Original Broadway Cast)
    list price: $32.98
    our price: $26.49
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    Asin: B000005ALT
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 333
    Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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    Into Broadway's creative vacuum of revivals, movie adaptations, and Hollywood star vehicles comes Rent, the story of squatters, junkies, performance artists, struggling musicians, drag queens, aspiring filmmakers, and HIV-positives (and you thought Miss Saigon's helicopter landing was cool). Undoubtedly among the defining pop cultural events of 1996, Rent has already won four Tony awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. More importantly, it threatens to bring substance back to the Great White Way.

    Transposing Puccini's 100-year-old opera La Bohème into modern day Bohemia (19th-century Paris's Left Bank becomes late-20th-century New York's East Village where the scourge of tuberculosis becomes the plague of AIDS) Rent celebrates life among the young, sick, and unconventional. While Broadway shows are hardly the place for authentic portrayals of the latest marginalized hipsters, composer Jonathan Larson (who died at age 36, days before his musical opened) managed to sculpt vivid characters and scenes that bring Avenue A as close as it will ever come to 42nd Street. And by telling a socially relevant story of living without the guarantee of a future (renting, that is), Larson does his own little bit to define an X'ed generation. At worst, Rent is the Hair of the '90s.

    For the majority of us who won't be seeing Rent anytime soon, the Original Cast Recording is more than just an after-show souvenir. Well-packaged with a complete libretto, the two-CD set is a worthwhile album separate of live performance. Full of songs that are funny and catchy, inspiring and touching, smart and hip and not overly sentimental, Rent mixes showtune pop with elements of rock, R&B, dance, gospel, and tango to make one of the best albums of the year--certainly the best rock opera in decades. La vie bohème, indeed. --Roni Sarig ... Read more

    Reviews (482)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Modern Musical
    "Rent" is the realization of the brilliant Jonathan Larson's dream based on Puccini's opera La Boheme. Larson changed the way musicals are heard by providing rock music, and modern day topics. "Rent" deals with homosexuality, disease, and growing up in America. The story follows the lives of eight friends as they try to survive in New York's alphabet city as seen through the lead Mark's eyes. Through him, we see the relationship of the friends, and love blooming, and dying, between Roger and Mimi, Tom and Angel, and Maureen and Joanne. Ex-roommate, Benny is trying to evict Mark and Roger from their loft to build a cyber-arts studio, which would displace the homeless in the area. Add in the fact almost all of the characters have AIDS, the story borders on heavy.

    The story is pretty good, and it turns into a good theatrical presentation, but Larson scores with the musical making the soundtrack worthwhile. There is the heavy rock beginning in the title track, and continues to rock on with songs like "Out Tonight", "Another Day" and "Today 4 U". These songs are well balanced with slower ballads like "One Song Glory" and "Goodbye Love", with everything falling between the two. "La Vie Boheme" is a great cast cut al la Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire." Larson was great at adding in humor to offset the depressing scenes throughout the story. The bonus to this album is the great Stevie Wonder sitting in with the cast for a cover of "Seasons of Love", which makes the album worthwhile all in its self.

    After such a great musical, it was a shame to lose the talent of Larson. He was able to take theater to a new level, and introduce topics that have been avoided on mainstream stages. He really did bring the theater to the modern age with this musical. Add in great music, well-conceived lyrics, and a good story, it is well worth seeing live. The messages Larson tries to communicate are right on target. No day but today.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Bohemian Masterpiece
    Rent is one of the best musicals ever, and Jonathan Larson's songs are some of the most skillful and creative you'll ever hear on Broadway. He used gorgeous melodies, vocal harmonies, and chords to bring his amazing poetry to life. The soundtrack has a wide spectrum of music ranging from upbeat songs like the title song "Rent", "What You Own", and "La Vie Boheme", and simple yet gorgeous ballads like "Without You", "I Should Tell You", and of course "Seasons of Love". Some songs always make me laugh, like "Contact" or "Today 4 U", and others ALWAYS make me cry, like "Finale B". Larson's writing is so impressive too. For example "Light My Candle" seems to be (in my opinion) a metaphorical song about taking a risk to start a relationship. And the recurring festive carol-of-the-bums "Christmas Bells" theme maybe is an ironic contrast to the struggling characters lives. And the soundtrack is so complete: there are so many memorable quotes sung by memorable characters. The voices are awesome too, and the cast blends so beautifully. My personal favorite cast member is Anthony Rapp, who is the coolest guy ever and a great singer with a distinctly awesome voice. But all of the actors have awesome voices which bring Jonathan Larson's melodies to life. And if you listen closely, you will hear that Larson subtly incorporated these melodies into unlikely songs throughout the soundtrack, just as his modern-day themes are also expressed throughout. Is that a hint of "I Should Tell You" I hear in "Another Day"? Or do I hear a short piano rendition of "Sante Fe" in "La Vie Boheme" and its intruiging percussion in "You Okay Honey"? And the "No Day But Today" theme can be heard in "Life Support" and of course "Finale B" among others. This gives the soundtrack such a sense of unity, and helps illustrate the themes of Rent, like coping with AIDS, not conforming to society, and of course the ever-important love. In this way, all the songs seem to weave together to form the final texture that is Rent. In short, Rent is a skillful masterpiece full of passion, love, and hope. And its catchy songs make it the awesome musical that it is. The soundtrack is a must for music-lovers!

    5-0 out of 5 stars WOW!!! I THINK IT'S THE GREATEST MUSICAL EVER!!!!!
    <br /><br /> Rent is like the greatest musical ever!! It has drama, comedy, and romance of course. Rent is a very touching musical! I haven't seen it yet but I am dying to see it! I can't name my favorite song because I love them all!!! Adam Pascal doesn't an incredible job as Roger! Adam Pascal has an amazing voice!! I am going to get is albums soon! Anthony Rapp is really great as Mark and I love his voice! I can't name my favorite character because they are all great!! I wish that the OBC was still doing the show! And I can't wait till the Rent movie comes out next fall or winter! Some of the OBC members will star in it -Anthony Rapp,Adam Pascal,Taye Diggs,Idina Menzel,and Jesse L.Martin are going to be in it!! Yay!! I Love Rent!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars POWERFUL
    No words can express the meaning of this musical - the performers on the cast recording are excellent - the songs are heartfelt - nothing beats this one!

    5-0 out of 5 stars No day but, Today
    After making the mistake of purchasing the highlights cd before the full cd, was my mistake. this album takes you to where by the end of both cd's you begin to look at things differently, even if for just a moment. The album is filled with voice talents that will undoubtably shape this generation of musical theatre. I feel confident if Johnathan Larson was to choose to change his fate and see his musical, he would choose to not change a single thing that has happened in the time Rent has been on Broadway. And Rent teaches that throughout the play. A deffinite must have for fans of Broadway Musicals ... Read more


    19. The Most Famous Opera Duets
    list price: $3.98
    our price: $3.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000002SCA
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 859
    Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    This is a misnomer--not all of these duets are all that famous--but it's a fine compilation nonetheless. You'll hear selections from Bizet's The Pearl Fishers (Nicolai Gedda and Ernest Blanc at their most elegant French), Madama Butterfly (Carlo Bergonzi and Renata Scotto--an impassioned pair), Lucia di Lammermoor (a classy Alfredo Kraus and Edita Gruberova), the lovely Lakme duet, The Presentation of the Silver Rose from Der Rosenkavalier (with the earnest Christa Ludwig and the other-worldly Teresa Stich-Randall), and a fine Trovatore "Miserere" (with Leontyne Price and Franco Bonisolli singing up a storm). There are many others, too--a veritable cornucopia of couplings--and a treat for the opera lover. --Robert Levine ... Read more

    Reviews (11)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Selection at a Great Price
    When it comes to opera artists, my motto is "The more Gedda, the bettah." You get a substantial amount of him at his best on this CD, which has a lot of great duets from a variety of operas. You have one of the most beautiful duets ever in my opinion as the first track on the CD(Bizet's aria about two friends in love with the same woman, "Au Fond du Temple Saint" from Les Pecheurs des Perles); this recording with Nicolai Gedda singing the tenor part of Nadir is the best one could ask for.

    The rest of the best include "Bei Mannern, welche Liebe" from Mozart's Die Zauberflote(a beautiful ode to the connection between men and women), and (not surprisingly), "O mimi, tu piu non torni" with Gedda and Sereni from La Boheme.

    Other notable arias include a nice recording of the famous "Sull'aria," from Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, and an above par recording with Victoria de los Angeles and Carlo de Monte of "Un di, felici, eterea" from Verdi's La Traviata.

    This would be a great CD to start an opera collection. Enjoy.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful introduction
    I bought this CD because wanted the "Lakme" duet that I heard in a movie. Little did I know the rest of the music would blow me away. This is an excellent intro to opera for people like myself that have never really been "into" opera. The selections are short, just a taste, and the price is unbelievable. I highly recommend this selection to anyone who wants to get their feet wet.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Blissful Collection of Arias
    As an avid opera fan, I was thrilled to find this CD. The duets are beautifully arranged and the sound is superb. I love to listen to this CD on a lazy afternoon, while laying in my bed. This music simply takes me away into my own little dreamworld. I also love the idea that there are 14 songs on this CD, which is great for the price. So sit back. Have a nice cup of tea and enjoy the opera.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful Collection
    This is a wonderful collection of duets. It has been said that not all of them are that famous, well, that is simply not so. They are all famous since the operas featured are all extremely well known and part of the standard repetoire of all opera houses, and perenial favorites in small opera companies because they draw the crowds. So, don't be deceived by the official Amazon review that gives the impression there are duets that are new and relatively unknown. You won't be getting anything you have not heard before, or that you are not familiar with.

    The recordings are all wonderful, and of course, are exerpts from complete recordings. If you find that you enjoyed these renditions (not all of them are the best representation of the opera from which they come, but they are all exceptional in quality) and are not familiar with the operas, go out and listen to them, you may be surprised with the quality of the music you expose yourself to. For those of us who have been listening to opera for a long time, make sure you don't have all this in our collection. If you buy it just reading the title, you may be frustrated discovering it is once again everything you already have, and in probably more than one rendition.

    5-0 out of 5 stars You can't go wrong with this CD
    I got this very reasonably priced cd just to have my favorite duets such as "Au Fond du Temple Saint" and "The Flower Duet. If you have friends who are just starting to like classical opera, this is a terrific little gift. Almost everyone melts at the sound of these duets. And it's convenient to have so many on one CD. A real winner. ... Read more


    20. The Most Famous Opera Arias
    list price: $3.98
    our price: $3.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000002SCE
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 550
    Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Reviews (14)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction
    This CD is offered at a very attractive price, and features an excellent selection of opera arias. Most of the great composers are represented (such as Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, and Bizet) as well as some lesser-known but worthwhile names (such as Gluck, Gounod, and Saint-Saens).

    There is only one superstar singer on this album (Placido Domingo singing "Celeste Aida"), but don't let that deter you: the singing is uniformly rich, skillful, and warm. As another reviewer has pointed out, of the total of 16 tracks, 3 are performed by tenors and 13 by sopranos, but I feel nonetheless that the selection of arias found here is both broad and representative.

    The orchestras that are featured are lesser-known ensembles from Western and Central Europe, but they play with conviction and precision, and the CD's sound-recording quality (all the tracks are either "ADD" or "DDD") is first-rate.

    All in all, this is a great product brought to you from the vaults of the prestigious EMI Classical label. This is the perfect CD to add to your Amazon.com order if you need to get your grand total above $25 to qualify for free shipping

    5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction
    This CD is offered at a very attractive price, and features an excellent selection of opera arias. Most of the great composers are represented (such as Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, and Bizet) as well as some lesser-known but worthwhile names (such as Gluck, Gounod, and Saint-Saens).

    There is only one superstar singer on this album (Placido Domingo singing "Celeste Aida"), but don't let that deter you: the singing is uniformly rich, skillful, and warm. As another reviewer has pointed out, of the total of 16 tracks, 3 are performed by tenors and 13 by sopranos, but I feel nonetheless that the selection of arias found here is both broad and representative.

    The orchestras that are featured are lesser-known ensembles from Western and Central Europe, but they play with conviction and precision, and the CD's sound-recording quality (all the tracks are either "ADD" or "DDD") is first-rate.

    All in all, this is a great product brought to you from the vaults of the prestigious EMI Classical label. This is the perfect CD to add to your Amazon.com order if you need to get your grand total above $25 to qualify for free shipping

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great collection for beginners!
    I am brand new to most opera - my main exposure has been Bugs Bunny cartoons! But, I've always loved hearing the Three Tenors sing, and I liked the symphony the few times I have been. So, I thought maybe there was something I was missing. I ordered this CD and from the first minute I was transfixed. I don't understand a word of what they are singing, and I understand from other reviews that these are not the famous folks performing the selections, but this CD is wonderful! I have never been moved to tears by anyone's voice in my life, but Anna Moffo (from Rigoletto, the first selection on the album) did it to me. She also sings a selection from The Barber of Seville, which is beautiful. There's a song by Placido Domingo, and many other gifted and beautiful voices besides. If you are looking for an introduction to opera, buy this one!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Place To Start
    As some other reviews have mentioned, no, this doesn't cover the full scale of the opera repertory, but it's geared to beginners, and I can't think of a better place to start than this that's out on the market right now. So don't listen to them.

    While this collection is some small, it still has a collection of some famous arias, all sung at levels of very good and up. Anna Moffo's "Caro Nome" as the first track is mind-blowing--the cadence she pulls at the end is absolutely celestial; I've skipped back many a time just to hear her. The following aria from Rigoletto isn't done quite as well (Kraus doesn't even go for the high C), but is sufficient.

    Other notable tracks on this album include Edita Gruberova's cavatina from Romeo and Juliette "Je Veux Vivre," Yelena Obraztsova "Mon Coeur" from Samson and Delilah (absolutely beautiful), Domingo's "Celesta Aida," (definitely one of the best recordings of this aria out there), another Moffo gem with "Una Voce Poco Fa" from Il Barbiere, an excellent "Che Gelida Manina" by an underrated tenor, Nicolai Gedda, who holds the high C in "speranza" for the longest I've ever heard any tenor hold it, and possibly the best aria on the whole CD, Gruberova's rendition of "Der Halle Rocke." For some reason, a previous reviewer said this was a horrible recording of it---I beg to differ, drastically; I'd even venture to turn some people away from listening to this track, since it's possibly the best recording of this aria ever made. I've covered my ears at many sopranos her shriek through the colorature, but she sings it like an angel.

    Overall, this is a great CD to start with. There are a few problems, like another reviewer mentioned, there are few male arias and no baritone/bass arias whatsoever, but the sound and clarity is good. I must say, though, that I did have a problem with scratching on the CD---a friend of mine owns the same CD and also it appeared to scratch fairly easily, so watch out.

    Want to have some real fun? Blast Gruberova's "Der Halle Rocke" while you're driving down the street with the windows open. See how many funny looks you get.

    Enjoy.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Be forewarned
    The music is wonderful, and the price can't be beat, but be forewarned -- only 3 of the 16 selections are sung by men. Evidently the producers of this Highlights CD felt that the overwhelming majority of the great opera arias are sung by women. This is clearly a matter of taste, but disconcerting nevertheless. ... Read more


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