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    $13.99 $12.49 list($18.98)
    1. Sondheim Sings, Vol. 1: 1962-72
    $13.99 $13.18 list($18.98)
    2. Pacific Overtures (2004 Broadway
    $13.99 $12.85 list($18.98)
    3. The Frogs (2004 Broadway Cast)
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    4. Assassins (2004 Broadway Revival
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    5. The Most Famous Opera Duets
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    6. West Side Story (Original 1957
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    7. Classics
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    8. Company - A Musical Comedy (1970
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    9. Bounce (2003 Original Cast)
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    10. Andrea Bocelli - Sacred Arias
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    11. Carreras · Domingo · Pavarotti
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    12. Broadway - The American Musical
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    13. A Little Night Music (1973 Original
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    14. Bach for Babies: Fun and Games
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    15. Into the Woods (1987 Original
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    16. Prelude: The Best of Charlotte
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    17. Mozart: Le Nozze Di Figaro
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    18. Barbara Cook Sings Mostly Sondheim
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    19. The Best of Broadway - The American
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    20. Classic Wynton

    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. 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


    3. The Frogs (2004 Broadway Cast)
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.99
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    Asin: B0006SSMWY
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 1394
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    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


    4. Assassins (2004 Broadway Revival Cast)
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0002B161Y
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 852
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    Amazon.com

    "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


    5. The Most Famous Opera Duets
    list price: $3.98
    our price: $3.98
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    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


    6. West Side Story (Original 1957 Broadway Cast)
    list price: $11.98
    our price: $8.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000056TB2
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 837
    Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    What is there left to say about this musical, deservedly one of the most famous in the canon? Created by what lyricist Stephen Sondheim described as "a unique concatenation of people" (Leonard Bernstein, Sondheim, Arthur Laurents, Jerome Robbins), the show remains as explosively vibrant, daring, and modern as it was decades ago. Bernstein integrated Latin percussion and jazz into his electrifying score, dazzlingly translating New York's unique vitality into a musical idiom. West Side Story has been adapted for jazz and interpreted by pop and opera singers, but you owe it to yourself to check out the original version to see what the fuss was all about. This new reissue adds over 20 minutes of "symphonic dances" as well as liner notes and production photos. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

    Reviews (24)

    5-0 out of 5 stars a Broadway masterpiece
    WEST SIDE STORY is indeed one of the greatest Broadway musicals. Rarely has it been better-sung than on the glittering 1957 original cast album, now reissued on the Columbia Broadway Masterworks label.

    The young, vibrant cast was made up mostly of unknown actors, who all went on to make big names for themselves on the stage. The musical launched the career of triple-threat Chita Rivera, as the fiery Anita. Carol Lawrence (SARATOGA, SUBWAYS ARE FOR SLEEPING) played Maria whilst the role of Tony was essayed by a young Larry Kert (COMPANY, FOLLIES).

    The Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim score is simply gorgeous and includes "Maria", "One Hand One Heart", "Somewhere" and "The Jet Song". Chita Rivera adds her brassy belt to the showstopping "America"; Carol Lawrence's clarion soprano is perfectly showcased in "I Feel Pretty"; Larry Kert is the picture of youthful longing in "Something's Coming". Equally thrilling is the energetic "Quintet", which is a major highlight of the colorful score.

    Chita Rivera went on to star in the equally-successful London production, and went on to appear in both the Broadway and London companies of BYE BYE BIRDIE. Other lauded Broadway appearances came in BAJOUR and her Tony-winning roles in THE RINK and KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN. As of this review's writing, she's winning a whole new generation of fans in the 2003 revival of Maury Yeston's NINE.

    WEST SIDE STORY continues to be recognised as one of Broadway's landmark musicals. This new remastered edition of the peerless 1957 production is a must-have in every cast album collection.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Romeo and Juliet on the West Side
    I was born six years after West Side Story premiered on Broadway, and I have only seen the movie version, so for me this CD is the next best thing to building a time machine to see the original stage production of the Jerome Robbins/Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim modern take on Romeo and Juliet.

    While an original cast recording is no substitute for having seen West Side Story on the New York stage, hearing the cast (which included Larry Kert, Chita Rivera, and Carol Lawrence) gives 21st Century listeners an aural glimpse into the brilliance of composer Bernstein and lyricist Sondheim's musical constructs.

    While I love the "standards" associated with West Side Story (Tonight, Maria, Somewhere), my favorite songs are Something's Coming, which reflects Tony's optimistic outlook as he looks to the future rather than to his past as a member of the Jets. The complicated quintet "Tonight" expresses the conflicting dreams and desires of the major characters and mixes the romantic aspects of the two pairs of lovers (Tony and Maria; Anita and Bernardo) as well as the hostility between the "American" Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks.

    My favorite song, Gee Officer Krupke, is a sardonic ode to the cluelessness of adults as seen through the cynical eyes of teenage gang members. I remember this song vividly because when I was a member of the glee club at South Miami High, Gee Officer Krupke was in our repertoire for the first concert I performed in. Its wry humor never failed to make us laugh while we were learning it, and afterwards I wanted to hear the entire playlist from West Side Story.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Essential Original cast Album!
    Recorded just days after WEST SIDE STORY opened on Broadway this original cast disc is one of the best from the golden days of Goddard Lieberson at Columbia Records. He knew exactly how to translate a stage musical to records. The prologue needed more excitement so he added the sonds of the gang members and had the orchestra increase the tempo. Not every note would fit (the Lp was very long for its day: 57 minutes!) so some trims were made here and there but done with such skill that they are hardly noticed. On the other hand, the entire "Somewhere" Ballet is heard here. It was not used in the movie.

    Some people prefer the movie soundtrack for its beefier orchestrations. It too is a very fine recording of the score. But this is the first, the original. The way WEST SIDE STORY sounded when it premiered.

    Sony's reissue sounds sensational: crisp, and clear with every orchestral texture. The bonus tracks are a symphonic suite of dances that Bernstein extracted for concert performances.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Musical Theatre Classic
    The remastered recording of the original Broadway cast of West Side Story is one of those purchases I am happy I made. Go ahead; compare this to the movie soundtrack - you'll find that this cast, these actors definitely give most of the movie cast a run for their money. (I say "most" because Rita Moreno and Chita Rivera are both strong performers, so there's no weakness with Anita. The B'way cast's Tony and Maria beat the movie by a longshot.) I agree with a lot of other people, Larry Kert is the definitive Tony. In the recording he transmits a huge amount of youthful exuberance and hope. Just listen to "Something's Coming," which is definitely a beautiful moment in the show. Even from this recording you get the sense of longing and wishing for "something" that Tony expects to come soon. An excellent, excellent album, and a great purchase for anyone who loves musical theatre or opera.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Neither "popular" nor "classical"--simply great!
    Leonard Bernstein, more than any other 20th Century composer, bridged the somewhat artificial gap between "popular" and "classical" music. To wit: the transition from the Broadway show music (tracks 1-16) on this CD to the Symphonic Dances performed by the New York Philharmonic (tracks 17-25) is seamless. Columbia is to be congratulated on this inspired coupling.

    Stephen Sondheim's lyrics--especially the insightful "America" and "Officer Krupke"--are brilliant. Perhaps surprisingly for social commentary of this nature, they have worn extremely well with time; they are just as apt now--not to mention downright funny--as they were back in the '50s.

    In summary, this album is everything that good music should be, regardless of the category you may choose to place it in. ... Read more


    7. Classics
    list price: $17.98
    our price: $13.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005RD78
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 1022
    Average Customer Review: 4.15 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Have some friends who still haven't discovered what the Sarah Brightman fuss is all about? You'll find the perfect introduction to make converts of them all in Classics, so they'll have no more excuses to remain clueless. Sporting a Botticelli-inspired image of the platinum-selling soprano on the cover, Classics is a classy anthology including highlights from three of Brightman's chart-topping releases along with seven new tracks. Songs personally selected by the diva as her favorite classical interpretations are culled from her previous blockbusters: Time To Say Goodbye, Eden, and La Luna. And whether you're afan already in the fold or one in the making, the new material here shows the diva at the top of her form, in new renderings of "O Mio Babbino Caro" and "Nessun Dorma" (accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic)--fascinating displays of the operatic confidence she's developed over her career. Other new offerings include a touching version of Schubert's "Ave Maria,' "Winter Light," a fresh take on her signature song "Pie Jesu" (from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Requiem). "Alhambra" and "Dans La Nuit"--a real treat, bathing the listener in Brightman's silky, sensuous vocalism--add two original titles to her famous adaptations of classical melodies to new lyrics (using Chopin's haunting E major Etude in the latter case). All told, a lovely affirmation of the directions Brightman has boldly taken in her career to date. -Sarah Chin ... Read more

    Reviews (127)

    5-0 out of 5 stars ChrisTmas is here!!!
    This may not be a ChrisTmas album ~~~it is however full of spirit...Sarah's

    Yes this is "SARAH'S CLASSICS"
    This whole CD Flows...Floats... Fabulous
    From the beginning of "AVE MARIA"
    To the last notes of "TTSG"

    AVE MARIA is absolutely Beautiful PERIOD.

    LA WALLY is done in a pure Classical style no extra percussion/explosions. Done with the same type of sensitivity as La Luna

    WINTER LIGHT has become a new Favorite to this listener..."whispers and I will follow"..

    ANYTIME ANYWHERE... I Love anyway..*sigh* a sultry pining..

    ALHAMBRA a Spanish guitar and Sarah...a beautiful song does it get any better than this ..

    LASCIA CHI'O PIANGA....Lovely..soft piece

    DANS LA NUIT...a Chopin piece I have heard many times before but never so beautifully sung..

    SERENADE/...This is a Peterson Soltau
    HOW FAIR THIS PLACE...this is Brightmans adaptation of Rachmannov it is exquisite by its self and especially when attached to Serenade

    O MIO BABBINO CARO...You have heard this before too ...so what is that saying about things being better "the second time around"..this is a more mature voice it is beautiful..

    LA LUNA...This brought tears to my eye's the first time I heard it ...and it does so now...Davorak must be weeping in his grave with tears of Joy!

    PIE JESU....This has a bit different quality to ..and it sounds GREAT "as usual Ms. Brightman". Her voice has matured since she first recorded it and the FULL Orchestra in the back ground adds a touch of drama (Not that she needs it)

    FIGLIO PERDUTO and BAILERO these are just great pieces they fit the album they are obviously favorites of Sarah's.

    NESSUN DORMA....She doesn't need the full Orchestra but it sounds GREAT!! and just a bit different from the other times we have heard it...she still lifts you right off the ground !!

    this CD closes with TIME TO SAY GOODBYE!!! It is fitting... one of Sarah's own.....one of her best!

    Thank You SARAH

    Thank You FRANK

    What a GREAT ChrisTmas PresenT....(the caps here are intentional)

    Lock the doors, Turn down the lights, Light the fire and the Candles..put your feet up..and FLOAT with your dreams along with Sarah!

    This is "The DIVA" at her BEST.

    Buy this album Folks!
    For yourself and any other Sarah Fan or as an introduction gift to the voice of an Angel..

    JAS

    4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction for new fans
    I fell in love with Sarah Brightman when "La Luna" was released late last year. Since then I have been hooked on her stunning voice. She sings like an angel. Several of the tracks on this album are new songs like "Ave Maria", "Winter Light", "Alhambra", "O Mio Babbino Caro" and "Nessun Dorma". Of those new tracks, "Winter Light" is my personal favorite. Sarah's vocals are controlled at a minimum level. Songs like "La Wally" she tends to sound like a foghorn, meaning she oversings to the point of sounding like her lungs are ready to burst. Still Sarah doesn't come off sounding like Christina Aguilera who has no control over her voice when she oversings. The one flaw I found was that five of the 15 tracks are new songs, not leaving much room for her to add more of her earlier material from "Eden" and "La Luna". Only three songs were taken from both "Eden" and "La Luna" each. If this cd was a classic album, there should have been more favorites and less of the new tracks. That is the only flaw I found with this album but otherwise I loved what I heard. Sarah does have one of the most beautiful voices around and I can never tire of listening to her sing.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sarah can do it all
    Can you say, "Absolutely Amazing"? This cd is, by far, my favarite out of all of her cd's. I must say that i like her classical sound better than her pop sound, but what can i say, she can do it all spectacularly well! I will say, however, that i was greatly disappointed w/ "Winter Light." She is breathy throughout the whole song, but it is very listenable. I would much rather hear her sing "O mio Babbino caro."
    Other than Pavaratti, who can sing "Nesun Dorma" like that? WOW!! That song is by far my favorite Sarah Brightman song! If you ever get the chance, go see one of her concerts, and hear her perform it live. It is the most magnificent thing you could ever imagine!
    BRAVO Sarah!!

    4-0 out of 5 stars terrific introduction to an amazing artist
    Though not a 'popular' artist, Sarah Brightman has an amazing fan following all around the world. Her recent 'Harem' tour has played all around the world to incredible commercial success and the fanaticism of her fans can put Tori Amos acolytes to shame.

    This album, Classics, is a compilation of her interpretation of more classic pieces of music, but they are not necessarily 'classical.' Brightman virtually pioneered the classical-pop crossover genre, so it's actually very pop-friendly.

    Sarah's albums are usually themed concept albums, but seeing as how this is a collection of previous work (and some new), no theme is attached to this release. What you get, though, is a handful of completely new songs, new recordings of old favorites, and a few tracks from previous albums.

    Is this worth purchasing for fans who already have her previous albums? It depends. Ave Maria, Winter Light, Alhambra, and Dans La Nuit are completely new, never-before-released tracks only available on Classics. O Mio Bambino Caro and Nessun Dorma, Pie Jesu, and Time to Say Goodbye have been re-recorded. (I actually prefer the Nessun Dorma on this release as opposed the original one from 'Eden,' since a female choir backs on this one, and it's a treat to hear her solo version of Time to Say Goodbye. Aside from this, the songs aren't dramatically different from the originals.) La Luna also comes without the annoying stretch of silence after it and Moon River (terrific for those who want a copy of the song just by itself without the hidden track afterwards). So, you're pretty much getting 4 new songs, 4 songs we've already heard re-done, and 7 songs plucked from previous albums. It's really up to you to decide if that's enough to entice you to buy the CD.

    Now, if you're a classical purist, get away from this album. Turn around and pretend you didn't see it! The things some classical purists say about Sarah's renditions of classics are unrepeatable. They pick on everything from Sarah's intonation, rhythmn, and butchering attempts at coloratura. In Sarah's defense, however, she's never called herself an opera singer (or even a classical singer). Personally, the more approval a singer gets from opera lords and classical experts, the more boring and less appealing they are to my untrained ears. What can I say? I love my pop music and I'm out of touch with 18th century technique. Sarah knows what sounds good to people just like me and what she delivers is classical music for the new century. I'm glad she has, though, because there really is a lot of gorgeous classical pieces out there that deserve a revival. Sarah opens up a genre that until her arrival was too esoteric, old fashioned, and intimidating for the average person. Don't get me wrong, I believe people when they say how awesome Renee Flemming and Maria Callas are. Their appeal isn't broad, though, since it takes somebody who actually knows what they're listening for to appreciate them; they fall into a specialized category. (Just like it takes a rap aficionado to appreciate a good rapper; to some, all rap sounds the same.) Sarah gives classical pieces the touch of pop accessability I need--take that away and turn her into a perfect opera diva with perfect technique (and all that stuff I don't know left from right about) and I'll probably stop listening to her. She has gorgeous tone color that makes her voice sound lovely and I love her deliveries of the songs that make it accessible to my taste. Apparently, I'm not alone, since her albums go platinum all around the world.

    Unfortunately, the scandal of the album art has overshadowed the loveliness of this collection. I, for one, wasn't offended, but seeing as how Sarah has fans from every demographic and age group, I can understand how some of the more conservative fans detest nudity (or even just hints of nudity) in all its forms. What they saw as offensive I saw as a tribute and tip of the hat to classical art, ala the statues of David by Michaelangelo and Donatello, Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus," etc. Seeing as how the collection is named "Classics," I found the tribute to classical art rather fitting (plus, it kept a potentially boring album from being dull). To each his or her own, though.

    Though this is a great introduction to Sarah's work, I'd still strongly recommend purchasing her other albums like Eden or La Luna if you're going to get a full taste of Sarah Brightman. Her concept albums are spectacular, and the way the songs come together to fit the chosen theme add to the atmosphere her music creates. Her fans anticipate the announcement of her themes almost as eagerly as they do the release of her albums!

    5-0 out of 5 stars There is talent, THEN you get Sarah Brightman
    I am a broadcaster in my spare time and my show mainly focus on cross over music. Sarah features in every single program of mine.This compulation is a perfect showcase of the Brightman voice!!!!! I listen to it basically every week, and I have all the Brightman albums. This is who she is and she is not a Kiri or a Renee, she is Sarah Brightman!!!!! It has never been a question that if she can sing, rather it is - SHE just has to sing!!!!Buy this album, it is perfect!!!! ... Read more


    8. Company - A Musical Comedy (1970 Original Broadway Cast) [ORIGINAL RECORDING REMASTERED] [CAST RECORDING]
    list price: $11.98
    our price: $10.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00000DHSN
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 2494
    Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com essential recording

    Stephen Sondheim's Company still sounds as modern as it did when it opened in 1970. Donna McKechnie, Susan Browning, and Pamela Myers spoof the Andrews Sisters with gusto in the tongue-twisting "You Could Drive a Person Crazy," while Browning and Dean Jones's "Barcelona" is filled with longing and heartbreak. And, of course, Elaine Stritch reigns supreme, proving once more that you don't have to be the best singer to steal a musical. An extra track features Larry Kert (Tony in the original West Side Story) singing "Being Alive." Kert had replaced Jones early in the run but wasn't on the original cast recording. It would have been nice to finally get the lyrics, though. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

    Reviews (36)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Sondheim masterpiece
    COMPANY is one of the greatest musicals to emerge from the 70's, which proved to be a rather thin decade for Broadway and the musicals.

    COMPANY is a "concept musical" in the best sense of the word, where the songs act more as vignettes than form a scene-to-scene story. The cast, headed by Dean Jones and Elaine Stritch, has never been truly bettered.

    Dean Jones, in his brief time as Bobby, displayed for the first time his rich and beautiful singer voice. After years playing the goofy leads of Disney comedies like "The Love Bug", "Monkeys Go Home" and "That Darn Cat", Jones was established as a Broadway star to be reckoned with. His renditions of "Someone is Waiting" as well as the life-affirming "Being Alive" are fantastic.

    The supporting cast is headed by Elaine Stritch as Joanne, the sardonic older woman who sings the masterpiece "The Ladies who Lunch" (still yet to be equalled). Beth Howland, as kooky Amy, sings the difficult patter-sing "Getting Married Today" with gusto. Pamela Myers, in her Tony-nominated role as Marta, sings a mean rendition of "Another Hundred People". The rest of the cast; Barbara Barrie, Charles Kimbrough, Merle Louise, Charles Cunningham, Teri Ralston, George Coe, Steve Elmore, Charles Braswell, Donna McKechnie, Susan Browning, Cathy Corkill, Carol Gelfand, Marilyn Saunders and Dona D. Vaughn; all sing with gusto.

    Stephen Sondheim certainly created what is considered one of his most polished and questioning scores; including "Barcelona", "Have I Got a Girl For You", "Sorry-Grateful", "Poor Baby" and the dance arrangement for "Tick-Tock", which provided a showcase for the galvanising dance talents of Donna McKechnie (who would go on to create the role of Cassie in the original cast of A CHORUS LINE).

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the Greatest Musicals
    "Company" -- along with "Follies", "A Little Night Music", and "Sweeney Todd", represents the pinnacle of Sondheim's achievement and a bastion of the greatest music Broadway has ever sponsored -- both from a musical and literary perspective. "Company" itself is by turns warm, acerbic, amusing, frantic, and is a magnificent expression of the convoluted emotional lives of modern urbanites. (Indeed, it has one of the most perceptive songs ever written about New York City--"Another Hundred People".) The ambiguity of the human spirit is a major theme running through Sondheim's ouvre of lyrics. (Which are, in my opinion, arguably the greatest body of lyrics composed for the stage, Gerschwin, Berlin, Porter, Rodgers & Hammerstein & Hart AND the rest notwithstanding.) Such brilliant songs as "Sorry-Grateful", "Someone Is Waiting", and "Being Alive" attest to that. The words reach down into the gut, and even when cynical they ring true (as in the wonderful "The Ladies Who Lunch"). Although there have been alternative casts and revivals and numerous concert performances of the score, in whole or part, this original cast recording still towers above them all: Dean Jones' magnificent performance, fraught with all the pain and bemusement and alienation (the role nearly caused him to have a nervous breakdown, it affected him so much); that national treasure, Elaine Strich, in "The Little Things You Do Together" and the incomparable "The Ladies Who Lunch"; Beth Howland's tour-de-force panic attack while "Getting Married Today"; the wonderful cast (including Charles Kimbrough of "Murphy Brown" fame and Barbara Barrie, and alumnus of "Barney Miller"). Even the ostensibly "Big" crowd-pleaser numbers, like "Side by Side by Side", for all their conscious nods to popular tastes, have an edge-- how Bobby, at the end, finds himself alone when his married friends pair off with their spouses-- beside the wonderfully witty and insightful lyrics; in "Barcelona" -- one of the most realistic "post-coitus" numbers even written -- where Bobby, after insincere and fulsome praise of his recent bedmate, at a climax calls her "June" -- and she quietly corrects him-- "April" -- there's nothing quite like it, or many of the numbers, elsewhere in Musical Theater. ALL IN ALL -- this album is a classic, probably not for people with bubblegum tastes whose preferences run to the simpy or bathetic-- but for people of intelligence and introspection. It cannot be recommended too highly.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Company"-The zenith of Sondheim wit and knowing?
    Marked for over 40 years as the single most observant, wittiest, most revealing composer/lyricist of the Broadway stage, Stephen Sondheim distills every iota of his remarkable talent in this multi-faceted piece of commentary of the human condition and the human willingness to commit that pulls off the extraordinary trick of being refreshingly- and painfully- honest at the same time.

    "Company," the 1970 Tony winner for Best Musical, still stands as a marvelous example of music, cast, and production blending together to create something modern and uncommonly great. The plotless story dealing with the concern of five Manhattan couples for their mutual friend Bobby (Dean Jones) and his romantic life (or lack thereof) is as relevant today as it was to 1970's audiences. As the friends discuss their concerns, we learn that not only has the domestic life they picture for their friend not worked out well for them, but what would they do without Bobby to support them? Bobby himself is ambivalent about committing to a serious relationship, while trying to supplant his friends' concerns for him and themselves.

    Just about any married couple will recognize themselves in one of the show's intricately sketched couples, and the uncertain bachelors out there will certainly identify with the angst-driven Bobby. As Bobby, Dean Jones creates a wholly likable character, and a realistic one that can be sympathized with and understood. There are other standouts in the cast: Pamela Myers, Donna McKechnie, and Susan Browning as Bobby's frustrated girlfriends. There are also wonderful performances to be enjoyed from Elaine Stritch, Beth Howland, and Charles Kimbrough.

    Each of Sondheim's songs gives us a wry, telling look into the lives and thoughts of the characters. From the bombastic opening of "Company" on, the score never fails to capture interest. The ambivalent "Sorry-Grateful" sung by Bobby's married male friends, is a perfectly integrated mix of the regrets and consolations of the married man. "You Could Drive a Person Crazy," an amusing triplet sung by Bobby's girlfriends, sprinkles laughs throughout its breathless pace. Bobby's plaintive "Someone Is Waiting," in which he dreams of his ideal woman (which can not be lived up to) is still a beautiful dream. Myers' commentary on the connectionless, empty existence of New Yorkers is straightforwardly expressed in "Another Hundred People." Bobby's friend Amy (Howland) suddenly finds herself in a hilarious (and understandable) panic at the prospect of "Getting Married Today." "Barcelona," Bobby's duet with one of his girlfriends, April (Browning) ranks among the most heartbreaking, poignant soliloquies ever composed for the Broadway stage. And as Bobby's elderly married friend Joanne, Elaine Stritch creates a show of her own with the arsenic-filled "The Ladies Who Lunch," a tour-de-force from simmering start to bombastic finish. And there is the wonderful, wonderful eleven o'clock number, "Being Alive" which Jones sings with every ounce he has to give, bringing the emotional heart of "Company" full circle.

    These vivid characters and resonating attitudes make "Company" a stark, uncompromsing vehicle in the Broadway canon. But it is a brilliant show at the nth degree of brilliance. It is a show to think about, to be moved by, and to contemplate in everyday life. Because it still is life.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Just Go Buy It Already
    Company from the very first chords of its opening, is very much a product of it's time, but that in no way condems it to being anything but brilliant. It's amazing how you can go to the happy, and comical Side By Side, and then go to the melancholy, and slightly haunting Another Hundred People, but this is Sondheim, so could you really expect anything less? Every song is worthwile, which is surprising, because on all of my cd's there's atleast one song that I don't like. My only problem with it, if I had to have one, is that Dean Jones's voice really bugs me, not much mind you, just enough to sometimes make me cringe a little bit, especially on Being Alive, his voice is wavy and seems to be all over the place. Also, the same song being sung by Larry Kurt, the original Tony from West Side Story and Jones's understudy, who actually took over the role on Broadway since Jones left after doing the premier and this cast recording. Kurt has a smooth voice and is a welcome change to Jones's, but you gotta give the guy credit, he was going through a mental breakdown. When I bought this cd, I wasn't quite sure what I had gotten myself into, I listened to the title song, thought it was ok, and just let it sit on my shelf for a few months. I decided to take it on trip to Europe, and on a train listenening to it, it finally clicked and I kept listenening it over and over again. If I haven't convinced you to buy it, then either you've already made up your mind, or dumb, BUY THIS NOW.

    4-0 out of 5 stars I Love a Stephen Sondheim
    I can see why everyone proclaims COMPANY the ignition of modern musical theatre. It's a great score that could stand on its own if (magically) it didn't need a cast of names. Sondheim and Jonathan Tunick, the orchestrator, are probably the only remaining artists who know how to use an orchestra the way it wants to be used (although, said skill is only demonstrated occasionally on this recording, such as the pulsating "Have I Got a Girl for You").

    I could ooze more and more compliments for Sondheim's score, but I'm going to focus on my critique of the performances. I saw PUTTING IT TOGETHER and was captured by Jim Barrowman's interpretation of some of Robert's songs (he later portrayed the entire role at the Kennedy Center): he's young and attractive with a pure, no-nonsense voice. Dean Jones and Larry Kurt do not have that intensity. Jones sounds too old, too cautious for the desperate Robert; Kurt, in his one song on the CD, sounds like he's not thinking too much, which goes against the character. To me, yes, Robert is careful, but he wants to and tries to be spontaneous and exciting, and on this CD, he just isn't given that specific flavor.

    The colorful cast around him is also problematic in my view. Is it just me, or does everyone sound too old? They all have that geriatric quiver in their voices: they all sound like they know too much about marriage when they should just be spouting off what they think they know. Amy should be more of a belter and Beth Howland isn't. Teri Ralston's soprano (especially on "Poor Baby") is delightful--she's probably the best sung in the cast. Pity the important songs go to Elaine Stritch.

    What did I just say? Am I criticizing Elaine Stritch? Sadly, Elaine Stritch is probably the least appealing to me on the recording. Yes, I know, everyone knows she can't sing, but why give her such pivotal songs as "Little Things..." and "Ladies Who Lunch" if she can't bring out the music that completes them? I much prefer Carol Burnett's "Ladies...": even when she can't hit the high notes, she carries and uses the melody to the devastating suicidal effect that Stritch doesn't find beneath the music.

    Nonetheless, COMPANY is a five star score that would be a five star CD with a younger, more vocally powerful cast. Maybe the 1995 revival is worth investigating. This CD is still worth having: the original has the power of the full orchestra and Sondheim's direct influence on the production, and therefore is priceless to musical theatre. ... Read more


    9. Bounce (2003 Original Cast)
    list price: $19.98
    our price: $14.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00011FWWY
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 2143
    Average Customer Review: 3.19 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Bounce is a pretty accurate title for this Sondheim show, which receives a cast album after having been seemingly everywhere but Broadway. In a way this is fitting for a musical that's been on Sondheim's mind since 1952, when he first read about the adventures of the two Mizner brothers in The New Yorker. Based on this Fall 2003 Kennedy Center production, figuring out why Bounce doesn't quite click is tricky. Is it the heard-it-before quality of the material? The title track is disappointingly by-the-numbers Sondheim, for instance. Or is it the uneven cast? Howard McGillin lacks the outsize personality needed to infuse life into scheming Wilson Mizner (a part played by Nathan Lane in a 1999 Off-Broadway "workshop" of the show, then titled Wise Guys). But then Michelle Pawk does wonderfully in the sultry ballad "What's Your Rush?" before eclipsing McGillin in their duet, "The Best Thing That Ever Has Happened." Got it! Bounce may not work as a show, but a few of its songs are bound to show up in a cabaret near you sooner rather than later. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

    Reviews (32)

    4-0 out of 5 stars TALENT!
    The original cast recording of BOUNCE is all that fans of the show could wish for.

    If you saw the production last summer in Chicago or last fall in DC, you'll know that it was a show richer in promise than execution. There were great moments in BOUNCE, side by side with some less than great and downright awful. But, when you compare BOUNCE with some of the other garbage that passes itself off as musical theatre these days...well BOUNCE looks like, to borrow one of its song titles, gold!

    Sondheim has been wanting to write this show since the early 1950s, and in many ways the score sounds like his songs for SATURDAY NIGHT: Tuneful musical comedy fare that would have been quite at home in a show playing just down the street from THE PAJAMA GAME and DAMN YANKEES: two shows originally produced by Hal Prince.

    Prince directed BOUNCE and much of it is in the style the George Abbott employed in those mid-50s hits. That is to say a big cartoon of a musical, with cartoon sets and oversized performances.

    The result was funny, interesting and frequently entertaining.

    And that is exactly the feel of this original cast recording.
    It gets off to a good start with... an Overture. (There was a time when all shows had overtures, but that was long ago.) The title song is an amiable soft shoe, "The Best Thing That Ever Has Happened to Me" the kind of song that Kern wrote. And there's plenty of Sondheim here: "Opportunity", "The Game", "Boca Raton" and others.

    As always his lyrics are perfectly suited to the characters and stituations. Some of the music is deceptively simple, other sections more complex but it is all Sondheim who is never less than his best. The book is not up to that lavel but it is the score we are dealing with here.

    Nonesuch has done a good job translating the show to a 74 minute CD, though the sound is very dry unlike the spacious sound that RCA and SONY give their cast albums. Packaging is first rate.

    The performances of the leads: Richard Kind, Howard McGillin, Michelle Pawk and especially Gavin Creel all shine in their numbers: Gavin Creel in the great number "Talent" and the soaring "You", McGillin & Pawk with "The Best Thing That Ever Has Happened To Me" and Kind with "Addison's Trip Around the World." Jane Powell has little voice left but uses it to good effect at the Mizner's mamma. The orchestrations by Jonathan Tunik are, as always, first rate.

    Between Chicago and DC some material was cut and is therefore missing from this CD but as a bonus there is a track of the song "A Little House for Mamma" that was used in the workshop of WISE GUYS but did not make it into BOUNCE. As is usually the case with Sondheim outtakes, it's a gem!

    Bottom line? While not a score of rich emotional depth like PASSION or the stinging cynicism of COMPANY, there is much to enjoy here and hopefully with a few more revisions BOUNCE will find its way to Broadway. In the meantime enjoy this wonderful recording and give thanks that Sondheim, Prince and company - despite crippling gossip, negative reviews, and Michael Reidel - persevered in getting BOUNCE this far.

    Nationalistic pride makes me add that there is one GLARING error in the show when the brothers go prospecting for Gold. They mention going to Dawson City but Addison states it is in Alaska. WRONG! The gold Rush and Dawson city were in the Yukon which was then and still is part of Canada. Alaska has nothing to do with it! I am surprised that Sondheim who is usually a stickler for facts let this mistake slip by. Still it won't mar your enjoyment of his latest score one bit.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Misunderstood Score
    I would like to bring up a few points regarding both Bounce and the recording that may shed some light on why I feel this musical is both a fantastic piece of theatre and a truly beautiful score. It is difficult to separate an author's reputation from his or her work. The artist who is disliked will be glossed over when he paints his masterpiece, the novelist who is celebrated will be tolerated when she writes a mediocre book, and the composer who is considered a maverick will be misunderstood when he writes something traditional.

    Stephen Sondheim is considered a "world-class talent." It has been said that he is "predictable in his unpredictability." For some reason, his latest show, Bounce, failed to meet the expectations of its audience. The reason being: Sondheim was not writing another "Sunday in the Park with George" or "Sweeney Todd" or "Into The Woods." He was writing a simple musical comedy: A tale of the Mizner brothers and their pursuit of the American dream.

    If the listener puts away all pre-conceived notions of what Sondheim's music "should be," this score is truly captivating. Reminiscent at times of "Assassins," the music is deeply American, firmly rooted in the themes that the main characters face. Sondheim returns to more conventional methoods of theatre songwriting, and the payoff is incredible. "What's your rush" is a delightful, seductive ballad sung by the charactar of Nellie. "The best thing that ever has happened" is a remarkable and touching love duet; a simple melody becomes a truly gorgeous oblique harmony between the characters of Wilson and Nellie. In "You," (in my opinion the best number in the score) The slow duet between Addison and Hollis atop the pizzicato clamor of the ensemble builds to one of the most amazingly written cathartic moments I have heard in a long time. The album contains hundreds of other beautiful moments that would take too long to discuss in this review.

    Bounce is a delightfully written show, and I guarantee that if you take the show for what it is, you will enjoy the original cast recording. This is not an edgy, innovative show. Nor is this a huge, fluffy, spectacle hoopla. This is instead a very true, very sentimental, very traditional story of two people searching for success.

    1-0 out of 5 stars THen you've never heard saturday night
    FOr the guy who was surprise about the mediocre quality of bounce. Sondhiem is a genius but he has made some bad scores the score for a show called Saturday Night is a clear example of another one. but we buy the cd's for postarity as much as for entertainment. And having any musical recording could prove to be handy.

    2-0 out of 5 stars I never thought I'd ever hear a mediocre Sondheim score
    I did not see the production upon which this recording is based. However, my love of Sondheim's music has originally come from hearing the Original Cast Recordings from his shows.

    I never thought I'd ever hear a mediocre Sondheim score, until I put this on for a listen.. just some thoughts..

    1) For a show that's supposed to be quasi vaudvillian in style, this recording has precious little energy.
    2) If there is a 30 + person orchestra playing Mr. Tunick's orchestration, then why does this all sound so muted?
    3) Mr. Sondheim is definitely recycling stuff.. I can hear things from several shows, especially "Merrily" "Passion" "Assassins" and "Forum" but most of this material doesn't seem to feel like it has completeness.
    4) I'm not getting the sense why we should care for these brothers..
    5) Like Merrily, and Into The Woods, the score seems to be made of "I've learned this" and "I know this now" kinds of songs, but most of the sentiments about bouncing back and trying to succeed have been heard before in other Sondheim shows..

    I'm wondering whether the earlier versions of this show was better... almost as if time and too much work has killed the excitement.

    Ahh well....

    1-0 out of 5 stars Heard This Cast at the Kennedy Center
    I'm a major Sondheim fan, but save your money. This show - and the mediocre score - is a dud. And that's being kind. To say this is the worst thing Sondheim ever wrote is not an exaggeration. No redeeming social (or entertainment) value. Explore ANY of Sondheim's other shows... "Assasins", "Little Night Music", "The Frogs", "Company", "Pacific Overtures" -- ANYTHING else. ... Read more


    10. Andrea Bocelli - Sacred Arias / Myung-Whun Chung
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.99
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    Asin: B00002ND9N
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 1051
    Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    When he was growing up, Andrea Bocelli recalls finding inspiration in a favorite recording of sacred music performed by tenor legend Franco Corelli. Bocelli--who in the meantime has come to inspire millions of fiercely loyal fans himself--returns to the genre as the guiding theme of Sacred Arias, the release of which coincides with the first English-language biography of the singer. These performances are filled with the singer's phenomenally well-known vocal signature: his flair for long, sweetly floating high notes and the gentle sense of cadence he brings to a melody.It's a mistake to compartmentalize Bocelli into a singer of "operatic" versus "popular" styles: in truth his approach is at heart the same. Lack of color and control in his phrasing remains a drawback, but the emotional empathy Bocelli evokes is never in doubt. The arias collected here sample some of the most famous devotional pieces: Schubert's "Ave Maria" and Mozart's transporting "Ave Verum," as well as an arrangement of "Silent Night" in which Bocelli tries out his English. There's also a decidedly odd choice of bedfellows for a program of "sacred" music, such as a song from Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder (whose "angel" is the object of an overpoweringly erotic attraction) and Handel's figurative ode to a tree, "Ombra mai fu." Still, Bocelli sings with an unfeigned directness that is sure to expand his already enormous following even further. --Thomas May ... Read more

    Reviews (111)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Tenor Sings Gregorian
    This is a very fine album which I enjoy immensely. Andre Bocelli's tenor voice is a pleasure to listen to. He has scored 5 Stars with me. His various versions of "Ave Maria" are splendidly performed. It is a best-loved religious song. "Panis Angelicus" is sung so well, so meaningful, which is the way the song is to be sung. The song is from 1871, when Franck was a resident organist at St. Clotilde in Paris. The work was originally scored for tenor, organ, cello, harp, and double-bass. Mr. Bocelli has done an album worthy to be in anyone's collection, especially if you are a 'music lover.' The material that is covered on the album is directly related to 'The Mass' as it has been sung in the past generations of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, most specifically done in Gregorian Chant. The listener is taken back to a time pre-Vatican II. A most pleasing voice has taken me back to my childhood singing in the choir, as I have sung most of these songs also. And, I was pleasured by these wonderful songs then and now. Another beautiful song is "Pieta, Signore." Someone whom may enjoy this album may also enjoy listening to Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavorotti, and also, Michael Bolton. They all are tenors with beautiful voices. The song "Ave Maria" has also been sung by the three above-mentioned artistes. This album is comparable to the other artistes' rendition's of "Ave Maria" that has been sung also by the above. I would highly recommend this album to any one who appreciates the sound of an excellent tenor such as Andre Bocelli.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Spiritually uplifting
    "Sacred Arias" was my first Bocelli CD (it hasn't been my last!). As a pastor, seminary student, and lover of classical music (especially sacred music) I was drawn to it the moment I saw it. And, when I first listened to it, I was not disappointed. I find each of the arias to be tremendously inspiring. But, the "Sancta Maria" brought tears to my eyes when I first heard it. This CD provides me with 62:22 minutes of worship as I listen to each of these beautifully sung praises and prayers that have served as a testimony of faith over time. It is obvious that these pieces are dear to Bocelli's heart because his heart is definitely in his interpretation of them.

    A note for reviewer Nicole Kimberly of January 25, 2000. She had asked for the choral music for the "Gloria a te, Christo Gesu." It probably is not available yet. If I am not mistaken, this piece was written specifically for the Roman Catholic Jubilee Celebration of the new milennium, and Bocelli publically debuted this hymn at the start of the Vatican Christmas Service Christmas day, which marked the beginning of the Jubilee Celebration. Bocelli was honored by being selected by the Pope to sing this hymn for that special celebration.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding CD
    This was the first Bocelli CD I heard. A friend thought I would like it and got it for me for Christmas. I loved it the first time I heard it. It was an outstanding collection of Christmas hymns, we actually sang one in my church choir and one in my school choir. It has helped expanded my library of songs, since I sing Tenor. So now when I go to sing at Christmas and Holiday shows I can now do more than Jingle Bells, and Away in a Manger.

    With Andrea's outstanding Tenor range this is an excellant addition to anyone's music collection.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
    Genuinely uplifting and spiritual. If you liked this, you'll love:

    50 Cent - Get Rich or Die Tryin'
    Marylin Mansun - Antichrist Superstar
    Eminem - Slim Sahdy LP

    5-0 out of 5 stars Special Edition with both DVD & CD is available
    Instead of this CD alone, I suggest the Bocelli, Andrea : Sacred Arias CD & DVD Special Edition (ASIN: B0000CE9VO). It includes the full 77 minute concert on DVD, plus the two bonus tracks on the DVD, plus the full 72 minute CD. This includes two bonus tracks on the CD not available on the original CD. Amazingly, the Special Edition is a few dollars less than the DVD alone and only a few dollars more than the CD alone. What a bargain! This is an amazing concert with a tremendous picture quality on a big screen TV. It is one of those DVD's that captures the feeling of "being there". A must-see for any Andrea Bocelli fan. ... Read more


    11. Carreras · Domingo · Pavarotti ~ the three tenors in concert / Mehta
    list price: $17.98
    our price: $13.99
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    Asin: B0000041XX
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 2397
    Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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    Magic was created one starlit night in July 1990, when Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo andJosé Carreras met onstage at the Baths of Caracalla in Rome and became the Three Tenors. They eschewed competitive instincts and cooperated in the spirit of mutual admiration to create one of the greatest musical events ever. This concert is an awe-inspiring orgy of the greatest hits for the tenor voice. Domingo and Pavarotti sing perfectly. The audience wins as these vocal supermen compete to seduce the hearts of the audience. One moment Domingo brings thrilling fire and pain to "E lucevan le stelle" from Tosca; the next,Pavarotti rises to heavenly heights in an inspired rendition of "Nessundorma" from Turandot. Carreras is the competent little brother, one step behind the greatness of the big brothers from opera's Ponderosa. His singing isn't as captivating as that of the big boys; but his enthusiasm and passion are unrivaled. Mehta exquisitely captures the largeness of this bonanza through the grandiose orchestra. --Barbara Eisner Bayer ... Read more

    Reviews (17)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Opera for Dummies
    I like each of the three tenors individually, particularly the underrated Carrerras. What I don't like are these cutesy song fests for the laymen - "Opera for Dummies". And though several operatic arias are included, some may roll their eyes at the sight of "Maria" under the Classical section. Indeed, the pronunciation of the words of that song is so hilarious I can't help but chuckle whenever it starts - almost like a German translating English for Italian tourists.

    The setting was magnificent and the television special rated five stars for having the verve to actually carry forth with the project. The attempt is made to recreate the visual landscape on the CD but, of course, it can only do this by inference. The program was, of course, designed for the current American audience - impatient, short attention span, needing constant entertainment value - and this may explain some of the strange, abbreviated selections. Mehta is the fourth star, supporting and emphasizing the respective tenor without exception. Some of the arias are gorgeous.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The Three Tenors at Their Best
    Normally the best way to see an artist's talent being showcased is by seeing them perform live. If you don't have the opportunity to see these wonderful, talented opera singers (Domingo, Pavarotti, Carreras) in concert than this live concert CD comes as the next best thing. Although the Three Tenors have numerous other album, this album is special because it is live and when you listen to it you really do feel their magic prescence. I'm not an opera enthusiast by any means, but I feel that this CD has a universal appeal which can touch just about anybody who enjoys listening to good music.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent. Like summer sunshine. manna from heaven!
    This CD is terrific on so many levels. In celebration of one of the world's great sporting events - the World Cup of football (soccer to us stateside), three great tenors and one masterful conductor (Zubin Mehta) were brought together in one of the world's great cities - Rome -- for a special evening that we are blessed to have been able to listen to again and again.

    The concert was held during the World Cup in 1990 at the Baths of Caracella, which are ruins of the once great Roman baths. In this beautiful setting Luiciano Pavrotti, Jose Carreas and Placido Domingo came together for one of the best CD's ever made.

    The singing is exquisite. The passion of the crowd in this live performance should equal the reaction of the listener. This is art at its highest level. It is a celebration of great music, not just of opera, but in my opinion, the soaring human spirit. What power to move the soul! You don't need to be an opera fan to enjoy this music. If you like any kind of music, you cannot help but be affected by the power of this special evening. And what an evening, those in attendance were lucky to have been there!!

    The casual listener will already know some of these arias, as they are from some the great operas of all time. However, I believe even the most hardenend opera fan, unless he or she is a real stiff, cannot be helped to be but moved by this music.

    It is heavenly! I recommend this CD to you, because in my humble opinion, it will bring sunshine to your heart!!! : )

    5-0 out of 5 stars Not for opera Snobs, but for the rest of us!
    For most opera "snobs" the three tenors have committed the ultimate sin: singing "popular songs" outside the opera house.

    For the rest of opera lovers, this CD is a miracle. It's not a coincidence that it has been sold over 15 million copies. This CD is, to my taste, the best of all the Three tenors performances. The arias are chosen from the most loved opera repertoire. As for the following "pot pourri" it is just gorgeous. I'm a "Three Tenors disciple" as it is after hearing this CD that my passion for opera started, as I guess for many other people. Now that I am much more into "real opera" I cannot but find this CD compilation exquisite. Hearing three great tenors fly into the high notes all at one gives goose bumps.

    As for the other "opera fanatics", those whose ears are so sensible that they'll have an allergy if someone other than Caruso, Gigli, Corelli or Bjorling is singing, I guess they still have much to learn. They have to learn to appreciate what GREAT "contemporary" (not so much any more, but say for the last quarter of the 20th) opera tenors have to offer.

    This is A MUST, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED CD.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Treasure and a memory
    I can't remember how many times I played this CD, it is absolutely a treasure for me. This is certainly the best of all the three tenor's concerts, their voices were rich and well maintained, the orchestra played well. Every song is just superb. Their interpretation to the pop songs were lovely and refreshing. The only regret is that there won't be such a moment any more, which makes the CD so memorable. ... Read more


    12. Broadway - The American Musical (PBS Series)
    list price: $59.98
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    Asin: B00064ADMK
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 222
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    13. A Little Night Music (1973 Original Broadway Cast)
    list price: $11.98
    our price: $8.99
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    Asin: B00000DHSO
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 2629
    Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com essential recording

    Perhaps best known for the hit "Send In the Clowns," Stephen Sondheim's glamorous 3/4 waltz-time musical recalls enchanted evenings, white kidskin elbow gloves, and romance of the green-eyed bittersweet and bed-hopping sort. The ruse is that these folks lead "ordinary lives": the father is widowed, remarries, and briefly rekindles a sack-side former flame; the son flirts with the maid; the child bride is cuckolded yet loves and is loved by the son; and the maid has a romp with the butler. Adapted from a mid-'50s Ingmar Bergman film, the play debuted in America in the early '70s and is set in Sweden's turn-of-the-century well-to-do society. Now remastered and heard at the dawn of the millennium, Night Music is a dated yet charmingly affected period piece, abundant in its sweeping theatricality. As an unhappily chaste newlywed, Len Cariou, Broadway's glistening middle-aged dandy, is smashing as Fredrick. Glynis Johns (who always sounds congested and quite cosmopolitan) steals focus as the delightful actress Desiree. Night Music is a foolishly fanciful, twinkly score swathed in plucky harp, sweeping strings, and coolly elegant conversational tunes. --Paige La Grone ... Read more

    Reviews (29)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Still the best account of this score on disc
    Though John Owen Edwards' chamber music version for Jay Records is more complete, and the Original London Cast recording is slightly more jaded, this luminous remastering has stood the test of time and then some. Veteran producer Goddard Lieberson is undoubtedly a factor; the other is the incomparable original cast and the score itself, one of its composer/lyricist's most ravishing achievements. Glynis Johns, despite considerable competition, still stands supreme as Desiree Armfeldt, with a rendition of The Great Big Hit Song that can only be described as definitive. Len Cariou's Fredrik is so well-sung one can only regret that Sweeney Todd took such a bite out of his instrument, and the late, great Hermione Gingold is, as ever, in a class by herself. But really, all the performances are of conservatory level, and merely the wonderful sweep of "A Weekend in the Country," or the newly re-instated "Night Waltz II" give ample example of the melodious, utterly sophisticated charm of this experiment in three-quarter time. A miniature masterpiece of the form and the format.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Sparkling, sophisticated, beautiful... but not my favorite
    For some reason, this isn't my favorite Sondheim score. I don't know why; there isn't a single clinker in this great collection of songs. There isn't a clinker in Sondheim's scores for other shows, either, but usually at least one or two songs aren't quite as memorable or don't have as much impact as the others. That isn't the case here; from the amusing/powerful/lovely "Now/Later/Soon" opening, to the sprightly "The Glamorous Life" (And I include the lovely rewritten film version of this song, which can be found as a bonus track on this Broadway Masterworks reissue of the original cast album), to the delighfully wicked "Remember?" to the cute "You Must Meet My Wife" to the humorous "Liasons" to the gripping "In Praise of Women" to the haungtingly cynical "Every Day a Little Death" to the exuberant "A Weekend In the Country" to the ironic "It Would have Been Wonderful" to "Send In the Clowns" to the delightful "Miller's Son," there's an abundence of memorable material here. Heck, you can even sing along with the Quintet in the overture! The music is some of Sondheim's most beautiful, and with the orchestrations of Jonathan Tunick, espeically in the Night Wlatzes, it becomes intoxicating. The lyrics are probably the most Cole-Porter sly and sophisticated ones he's written. And this cast is exceptional. Yes, Sondheim had to get around the fact that Glynis Johns was not a singer by giving her one solo and not much else to sing, but she is a wonderful actress, which certainly comes through in her regretful, yet bitter and sarcastic recording of "Send In the CLowns." No wonder she won the Tony for her inimiatable Desiree. Len Cariou is in fine form as Frederik, which certainly is a very different role from his better-known performance as the maniacal murderer Sweeney Todd! Hermoine Gingold is, as always, charming and loveable as Desiree's grande dame of a mother. Laurence Guittard is in great voice as Carl-Magnus, and Patricia Elliot, while having a somewhat harsh singing voice, is also an obviously very good actress. (She also won the Tony for her Charlotte) I wonder why no one else on this page has mentioned Victoria Mallory's gorgeous, creamy vocalizing as Anne (You really do have to admit she's endearing) or Mark Lambert's pained henrik, or D. Jamin-Bartlett's sly Petra, but I guess it's hard to remember everybody. In any case, kudoes to them, too. THe Quintet also has great voices, and these classically trained singers do quite well in a Broadway setting with lyrics that are probably more fun to sing than anything else they ever sang in concert halls. So, as great as this score and this recording is, why is this not my favorite Sondheim score? I don't know... "Sweenet Todd" (My favorite), "Sunday In the Park With George," and "Follies" all have their "weak" songs, but... they're just more enjoyable and interesting and moving to me, and "Sweeney Todd" really seems to be just about perfect. I just like those scores more. Oh, well...

    5-0 out of 5 stars Stunning
    There are times, oddly, that I get near tears during this recording, though I'm not certain if that's what Sondheim intended. the soaring harmonies, the complexity of life, the whole crazy love of it all, which is all just life. Don't be silly and try to review each song, this is a piece in and of itself, lilting, stoic, and even one of Noel Coward's lovely Cockneys. Not something you'd take a new love to, but clearly one written for long-time lovers. Oh thank you, Stephen, thank you for this.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Romantic Comedy
    This the height of any type of musical comedy. Most comedies have predictable books, with typical songs and a happy ending. ALNM has a happy ending, and a lot more. The book is witty. I have never seen a production of it, but i have rented the book from the library. The music is wonderful, lush, and romantic. Highlights include "The Millers Son", "Now","Liasons", and of course "Send in the Clowns". The cast gives a stellar performance,and Len Caurio gives a performance to rival "Sweeney Todd", and that is hard to do. The show is polite about its topic, very polite if you watch any movie today and thenListen to this. Also, if you want another good version of "Send in the Clowns", you can find it on the DVD "Broadways Lost Treasures", sung by Julie Andrews. There are other great performances on there so check it out.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of Sondheim's Greatest!
    A Little Night Music is truly one of Sondheim's greatest masterpieces. It has the wit of Company, the classical tone of Sweeney Todd, and a scenic design that ranks with Into the Woods. Also, the casting for this show was some of the best ever. Len Cariou may not be one of my favorite singers, but he is wonderful in this role. Also, this score is deffinately best known for Send in the Clowns, but honestly, the best songs here are A Weekend in the Country, Now/Later/Soon, and Perpetual Anticipation. The bonus track of "Glamorous Life" is another great addition to this, the original version, of Night Music. Of all the recorded versions of this show, the only other one that possibly ranks with the original cast would be the London Cast. Both are great albums for Sondheim collectors. ... Read more


    14. Bach for Babies: Fun and Games for Budding Brains
    list price: $11.98
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    Asin: B00000IIYV
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 3450
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Programmed similarly to the Beethoven for Babies collection, this set of Bach compositions runs the emotional gamut, from the gently eye opening to the jumpy arm raising, collecting each set of pieces under a thematic header. The first several selections ("Waking Up") feature solo piano works that come directly from Bach's more pedagogic works, compositions intended for students to use as exercises to loosen their touch. Played superbly by pianist Sviatoslav Richter, as well as the Romero brothers (Pepe and Celedonio) on warm guitar, these compositions urge the ear to open. And then you come the pieces gathered under the "Playtime" heading: jazz pianist John Lewis picks up a couple pieces, as do the folks in Canadian Brass. Then the mood shift heads back to the sleepyhead state with "Winding Down" and "And So to Bed," each of which slows the tempo and quiets the passion to a doze. This is a fine set of Bach works. --Andrew Bartlett ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Bach and Roll!
    You can't beat Bach. If classical music is the thing you want for your baby, get this CD. If you are single and have no kids, but classical music is your thing, get this CD. This is fantastic reading music, study music (regardless of what you're studying), and just plain relaxing music. I also highly recommend the CD, BUILD YOUR BABY'S BRAIN 1.

    4-0 out of 5 stars My daughter loves this CD
    She's one-year-old now, and she's been listening to this CD since she was 1 month old. Recommend it for those new parents that can't come up with any other way to lay their little ones to sleep.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Soothing
    Very soothing. Calms my baby everytime I play it! And yes, they actually do listen to music and enjoy it! I recommend this as an essential item for any new baby!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Classical, Jazz and Opera Bach all in one
    This is a versatile collection in terms of composition, performance and layout. Comparing to most of CD with classical selections for baby, this edition is more nutritious and rich on musical experience. Genre wise, the piano solo, concerti, chamber and opera are all included. Performance wise, it is absolute a feast -- Sir Neville Marrier conducting Academy of St. Martin-in-the fields, Jazz Pianist John Lewis delivering the charming and uplifting variation, and Kiri Te Kanawa's heavenly creamy voice. The combination of these musicians and recordings is a decision with great artistic sensibility. The layout is perfectly arranged -- from the waking up, playtime and to the bed. This is not just another CD juggles some pieces together from a brandy composer. For a more serious editing of baby music, this shall be something as a guideline.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great for Big Babies too
    I'm a student and I like to listen to classical music while I'm studying and this is great for that. It's lively enough not to put you asleep, but soft enough that it doens't distract from what you're studying. Plus, it's long enough that you don't have to get up to change the CD every 5 minutes. ... Read more


    15. Into the Woods (1987 Original Broadway Cast)
    list price: $13.98
    our price: $12.99
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    Asin: B000002WAB
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 1383
    Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com essential recording

    As conceived by Stephen Sondheim and cocreator James Lapine (following their Pulitzer Prize-winning Sunday in the Park with George), Into the Woods tells the intricate tale of multiple fairy-tale characters crossing paths in the woods, not merely resolving the characters' dilemmas but also exploring what happens after happily ever after. Sondheim's chamber-scale music, recipient of the 1987 Tony for Best Score, is one of his most beautiful and accessible, and is at its most poignant in "No More," "No One Is Alone," and "Children Will Listen." The original Broadway cast is outstanding top to bottom, most notably Bernadette Peters as a rapping witch and Joanna Gleason, who won a Tony for Best Actress. The CD booklet includes production photos and--so important for a Sondheim show--full lyrics. Fortunately, this cast was also captured on video and DVD. --David Horiuchi ... Read more

    Reviews (94)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great musical by a great composer
    Personally, one of my favorite composers, Stephen Soundheim, has struck a beautiful chord with his most popular show, "Into the Woods". Filled with love, hate, humor, magic and incredible music, "Into the Woods" is one of the masterpieces of the modern stage. The first act, with songs like "Into the Woods", "Hello, Little Girl", "Giants in the Sky", "Agony", "It Takes Two" and "Stay With Me", has an upbeat score, typical of a fairytale musical complete with happy ending. But as we get to the second act, things turn terribly wrong with songs like "Moments in the Woods", "Your Fault", "Last Midnight" and "No More" and the show has a more creepy feel. But as we reach the end, things turn out all right with the obvious themes of the show "No One is Alone" and "Children Will Listen". WIth stellar performances by Joanna Gleason and Bernadette Peters, this original cast album is a treasure that no other cast will be able to beat.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fundamentally entertaining...
    This is not my favourite version of Into the Wood. The reason for that being that it's not expertly acted. I think the cast was a bit green when the recording was made. If you view musical theatre primarily as drama - drama enhanced by songs -, and if you think Sondheim's dramatic and elaborate lyrics should be taken full advantage of by the best actors around - actors who can sing -, then you should go for the OLC or the video version of the Broadway show (which contains more matured performances). But if great voices and great singing are basically what matters for you, then certainly you will have a great time with this recording. This Broadway version is light and even a bit naïve. There's no subtext in it, no great psychological depth and not much to reflect upon, but it's thoroughly enjoyable and as fun and entertaining as you could possibly expect from a comedic musical based on fairy tales. Joanna Gleason excels as the baker's wife and Bernadette Peters sings as beautifully as ever. Even if this production fails to make the most of Sondheim's wonderfully dramatic and intricate lyrics, it gloriously succeeds as a musical piece.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of Sondheim's best!
    INTO THE WOODS is one of Stephen Sondheim's best musicals! INTO THE WOODS was the first musical that I ever saw (I was six) I caught the acting bug right then and there. Since that time, I've had the priviledge of acting in several productions written by Mr. Sondheim, including INTO THE WOODS.
    INTO THE WOODS weaves together two of the most important things in musical theatre: a wonderful story and beautiful music that relates the story to the actor and audience alike. Bernadette Peters is wonderful in this production as the Witch. No other actress could capture the wickedness of the witch in the first act, but also the vulnerability that she feels after she realizes that she's all alone in the world after Rapunzel leaves. Even though this recording does not include the charming "Our Little World" (which was written for the show after this recording), it is still a wonderful showcase of Mr. Sondheim's masterful work. I recommend it for anyone who is a fan of musical theatre and wants to explore their inner child.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ms. Peters at her best!
    My children and I are such a fan of musicals as a genre but, "Into the Woods" has become hands-down a family favorite. Ms. Peters is outstanding as usual, but this is truly her best performance ever. This particular style displays her campy demeanor to its best while at the same time drawing from a poignant place within her soul in "Children Will Listen."

    It's truly a show the whole family can enjoy. Children will enjoy the fairy tales woven throughout while adults are able to appreciate the nuances of humor which are abundant. It is definately a new twist to the fairy tales of old.

    Joanna Gleason shines just as bright as Ms. Peters with her portrayal of the Baker's wife. Kim Crosby is wonderful as Cinderella. The rest of the cast gave stellar performances. The portrayal of Rapunzel was not quite in the same class as the rest of the cast, but was still good.

    There are so many good moments within this cd: "Agony," "It Takes Two," "Moments in the Wood" and my personal favorite "Last Midnight."

    5-0 out of 5 stars AWESOME MUSICAL!!!!!
    what else is there to say?? when you first listen to the prolouge you will instantly love this musical! i am a major fan of stephen sondheim and i am just in awe in his works! Into the Woods, which i have performed as the narrator, is one of my most favorite musicals! the complicated lyrics, characters, the music, you will be instantly drawn into it, like i have!! ... Read more


    16. Prelude: The Best of Charlotte Church
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $14.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00006LFGG
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 2036
    Average Customer Review: 2.68 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Need more evidence of the record industry's obsession with youth? Consider that budding Welsh diva Charlotte Church was a ripe, old 16 when this, her first greatest-hits anthology was released. Spanning her first four releases, as well as some outside collaborations and unreleased material, this 18-track collection underscores the soprano's seemingly boundless potential--as well as some potential career obstacles ahead. Her crystalline, still-maturing voice is best showcased on classically oriented works like Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Pie Jesu," Franck's "Panis Angelicus," and her now-ubiquitous rendering of Delibes' "Flower Duet." She also excels on folk traditionals such as "She Moved Through the Fair" and "My Langan Love." But overwrought productions like the already-dated "Dream a Dream" and "Habanera," a faux-flamenco take on Bizet, nearly get the best of her. Still, her promising duet with fellow young phenom Josh Groban on "The Prayer" and her mature, dreamy reading of A Beautiful Mind's "All Love Can Be," as well as strong performances on the previously unreleased "It's the Heart That Matters Most" and "Bridge over Troubled Waters," are ample evidence of her potential for rewarding pop crossover--if she doesn't retire by 21.--Jerry McCulley ... Read more

    Reviews (107)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A little girl with a lot to offer...
    Ah, to be 16 years old and release a greatest hits album. How amazing that would be! For Miss Church, this is a reality. After only 4 studio albums, and one of them being a holiday cd, Charlotte and her company (Sony Classical) have decided that the time has come to release a greatest hits package. Is it really just a marketing gimmick? Most likely yes. She is a lovely girl with a voice to match, and each song on this disc is sung with a lot of strength and grace. For new fans of Charlotte Church, this album is especially good for you, as it is an excellent way to catch up on what has been happening since 1998 when Charlotte first appeared on the scene.

    Be aware, this disc is not titled "Greatest Hits." That would imply that each of these songs were successful on the charts and, probably, released as singles. That is not true at all. These songs are, in the opinion of the company, the most well constructed pieces that are most likely to be popular with the public. Some of the songs here are also Charlotte's best known ("Pie Jesu" and "Just Wave Hello" anyone?).

    In my opinion, Charlotte is already a beautiful singer and still has great potential to grow. Anyone who says she has a terrible voice must be tone deaf. My faves on this disc are "Flower Duet," "Just Wave Hello," and the very soft "All love can be" from the "A Beautiful Mind" soundtrack.

    For anyone thinking about buying this cd, you might want to consider how much you really enjoy Charlotte's music. If you only like one song on the whole disc, forget about it. If you have heard a lot of her material over the years and have enjoyed it for the most part, then this might be a worthy investment. Not everyone will like this cd, and not everyone will hate it either. But please, regardless of which side of the fence you sit on, don't say this girl is a bad singer. Think of it this way: Charlotte possesses a simplicity and clarity that is rare. No frills or fancies, just singing that is simple and clear (of course, hitting high notes really isn't that simple). Remember, this cd isn't a career capping collection by any means (but it sure could have waited for a while longer). Charlotte is just beginning, and should be around for years to come. I'm sure that, with time, she will only get better and produce music that will appeal to many.

    1-0 out of 5 stars No voice.
    I am not reviewing this album, I am reviewing Charlotte's voice. Stick to the church choir, dear, and do an occasional solo. Charlotte has been deluded by too many promoters into believing she can apply her thin little voice to some of the finest musical compositions ever. I was stunned when I heard her do Habanera. Only a gutsy, seasoned mezzo should even consider that one. Why do so many people believe that if you can reach a high note, you can effectively perform a song? Even the highest lyric soprano is supposed to have some depth. There is none with Miss Church. The only credit I give to her is the wonderful taste in her repertoire. But it should be someone else's.

    Charlotte, your voice is very sweet, much like saccharin. Perhaps in another twenty years, you will have something. In the meantime, please do not attempt any Gershwin. That would be sacrilege.

    2-0 out of 5 stars I feel bad for Charlotte
    There's no denying the girl has talent, but enough for opera? I don't think so. I'm no professional, but her voice is weak to my ears. She's raspy, airy and sounds just plain weak. She doesn't sing from her stomach, but from the back of her throat. Very annoying to listen to.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Prelude? HAH! To what?
    When Charlotte Church first came onto the music stage at the young age of twelve, I noticed some things in her technique that were not quite correct, however, given the fact that she was only twelve, I just listened to it, thinking that she would improve with each new CD.
    Then out came her second CD. While it was more of an opera album, because of all the arias, I was shocked that Miss Ryan (Miss Church's Voice Teacher) would allow Miss Church to sing such difficult repertoire. Those arias are for a soprano in her last years of college, not a soprano in her first years of junior high. Why? Well, if you have plans on becoming an opera singer, or if you want to sing those arias when you are older, you don't sing them when you are young. This is because when you are young, the voice is still in training and trying to get rid of bad habits.

    If you sing the arias when you are on the bad habits, you will most likely not be able to break them when you are older. Wich is why you should wait it out--wait till your technique is supurb on the art songs--then--and only then--go onto arias. When you do go onto arias, the first ones should be light pieces, like Handel's As When The Dove, or Mozart's Vedri Carino, his Batti, Batti O Bel Masetto, and also, young classical artists should also sing Caro mio ben, even if it is the most common piece in the 24/26 Italian Song and Arias--it helps you along with some common used Italian words.

    Instead of singing As When The Dove (Handel), or Vedri Carino (Don Giovanni, Mozart) Miss Church went for pieces such as La Pastorella (The Little Shepherdess). Before Church recorded this, the youngest singer I ever heard sing this piece was twenty one, and a junior in college, a opera/vocal major.

    Why is it a good idea to wait until you are a little older to sing this piece? Because of all the high Cs and Bs, as well as trills that most young people can't tackle.

    Soon after that, Miss Church came out with a recording of Christmas Carols. I don't think that the Ave Maria should be touched by a fourteen year old girl, in fact I think you should be sixteen before you attempt this. There are a great many reasons why--breath support, phrasing, and tone qualities are required that people under the age of sixteen can not master. It is by no means that they have bad voices, it is just that they are still trying to train their voices to tackle the breath control and phrased tones.

    Soon after that, out came Enchantment. Again, the songs on this disc were not suited to a fifteen year old, such as The Flower Duet, and the Habañera. The Flower Duet is not a good idea to sing for a great many reasons--number one--the higher part is for a coloratura soprano and the lower part is for a coloratura mezzo-soprano. Number two--both parts being a touch on the heavy side for a fifteen year old to sing and bring out the tone required for the pieces.

    Somewhere in there, came the soundtrack to "A Beautiful Mind." I can stand the wordless vocalises, but, All That Love Can Be was very raspy, and had to much air escaping in her tone. I think that Miss Celine Dion or Miss Sarah Brightman would have been better choices for the Beautiful Mind soundtrack.

    Then we hear four new recordings, wich still has sound far back in the mouth, and not up frount in her mouth where it should be.

    I hope Miss Church goes and trys to get a carreer in something else--because I believe that the music industry has had enough.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Practise
    I agree with some of the other reviewers, who say that although Ms Church has a beautiful voice and performs most of these songs very well, she would probably benefit from a professional voice coach. Ms Church is an almost opera-quality performer, although I think she has still a little way to go. When she has had just a little more training, she will be awesome! With an operatic diva voice and her exceptional beauty, she will truly be an angel! ... Read more


    17. Mozart: Le Nozze Di Figaro
    list price: $38.98
    our price: $34.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000001GX8
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 8997
    Average Customer Review: 4.84 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (19)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The greatest "Figaro" of all time!
    There are countless recordings of an opera that is worthy of even more--but if you could only choose one, Boehm's would be it. First, the soloists: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau as the Count, adds tremendous personality to the role, storming his way through the opera; Gundula Janowitz as the Countess has a voice so incredible, with perfect purity, that you hang on every note of "Porgi Amor" as if your life depended on it; Edith Mathis is a wonderful Susanna, and the Figaro of Hermann Prey, while perhaps not as funny as others, is exceedingly sly and nimble (which seems more important, since the music itself conveys the humor). Perhaps the most stunning voice on the set is the Cherubino of Tatiana Troyanos. She takes the two arias at a very slow pace, and her deep mezzo simply oozes with sensuality and yearning. But the greatest aspect of this recording is Boehm's pacing and his attention to detail. You discover so many beauties in this version which are difficult to hear in others. The entire recording is truly inspired: the performance at the end of Act I (Figaro's aria) has such energy and enthusiasm, you feel that Boehm has driven the orchestra and soloists to heights that are rarely captured in the studio.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Figaro that turned me on to Opera
    Like many newcomers to the Opera genre, after hearing "Sull'aria" in the film "Shawshank Redemption", I patiently watched the credits to find the exact origin of that unearthly recording - and found it to be 1968 Bohm's version. Without much hesitation, I bought this set, almost immediately afterwards, and listened to the whole 3 hours of it non-stop for several months. "Figaro" became, bar none, my ultimate favorite classical composition, all thanks to Bohm.

    To this day, I find no imperfections whatsoever with the performers or the conducting. It baffles me why anyone would find fault with Mathis' Susanna or Dieskau's Conte - they fit their roles to a tee. And the "extra" arias in act IV, in my mind are welcome additions, especially that of Marcellina, which is not only exquisitely beautiful, but also a thematic counterpart of Figaro's later diatribe about the opposite sex. Hermann Prey, Gundula Janowitz, and Tatiana Troyanos, are the living embodiments of Figaro, Contessa, and Cherubino. Never has Mozart's accent on the humanity of these characters been better expressed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The very best
    Karl Bohm knew how to conduct Mozart better than just about anyone else; his speeds were often slower than usual, which meant that the words in the operas were always clear, and his rhythmic resilience and attention to detail avoided any feeling of heaviness. The duet "Che soave zeffiretto" sounds more sensuous here than on any other recording. And on what other recording of "Figaro" are the plucked strings in "Voi che sapete" so noticeable? Bohm is helped by an exceptionally strong cast. The women, in particular, are glorious: Gundula Janowitz sings the difficult role of the Countess with incomparable purity, and she's ideally contrasted with Edith Mathis's Susanna. (Their voices blend wonderfully in their duet). Tatiana Troyanos is at her richest as Cherubino. The men aren't quite at this exalted level, but they acquit themselves well: Fischer-Dieskau's Count is much more strongly characterized than most, and Prey, if not the most ebullient of Figaros, sings with a satisfyingly warm, mellow sound. DG's sonics are, on the whole, first-rate. With an absolutely complete text, this is an essential purchase.

    5-0 out of 5 stars What joy!
    To keep it simple, this is THE Nozze di Figaro recording that humbles all others. The singers are at the top of their game and these are the best singers of the time to start with. The Deutsche Opera Orchestra played their hearts out for the man who was and still is the most incomparable Mozart conductor. Everything about this recording, including the engineers who captured the sound and the transfer guys who made sure it was edited and mastered correctly, all knew this was special. They have every right to take a bow, too. There are a just a few recordings that transcend the everyday and transport you to a different place and time. This is surely near the top of that short, wonderful list.

    5-0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE BEST
    First of all Bohm is well known for the "perfection" of his performances. The tempi reach perfection and the crystal quality of the sound is obvious.

    Janowitz is undoubtedly the most beautiful vocally Countess ever. She uses her Angelical effect to deliver the Countess' arias so beautifuly you wont believe your ears by the way she sings them. She was after all the only true Angel of the 20th century. One expects from Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, the other Greatest Countess, only a deeper and more detailed characterization. Surely Schwarzkopf gave the interpretive perfection in the role but Janowitz also, is indeed not only a rival, but a true No1 in the role.

    Dieskau is the best Conte with his full, dark voice and that exceptional singing ability revealing the greatest Schooling he had received. Such a pity he never met in a studio with Schwarzkopf for Nozze.

    Troyanos has such a tremendously beautiful voice as Cherubino. So does Edith Mathis who sings the duetto with Janowitz as if the 2 of them came right down from heaven.

    The alternatives for this recording are: 1. The live Dieskau, Schwarzkopf, Seefried, Ludwig (!!! the best Cherubino ever) recording with good sound, 2. the studio Schwarzkopf, Taddei, Moffo recording and 3. the Karajan Schwarzkopf Seefried Jurinac one (one has to hear Schwarzkopf and Seefried in the duet and not be able to separate the two of them). ... Read more


    18. Barbara Cook Sings Mostly Sondheim (Live at Carnegie Hall 2001)
    list price: $19.98
    our price: $16.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000059LFF
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 17528
    Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com's Best of 2001

    Barbara Cook is one of today's most accomplished song stylists, and if you don't believe us, just listen to this live album. It's a master class in the art of singing. It documents an evening at Carnegie Hall during which Cook proved that she can dissect and extract the substance out of the simplest of lyrics. One of the best surprises is "You Could Drive a Person Crazy" (from Company), which is taken at an amiable trot and allows the singer to display its humor. Cook is not a swinging singer and uptempo is not her pace; give her a ballad, though, and she'll wring the last drop of emotion out of it. Her version of "Losing My Mind" (here paired with "Not a Day Goes By") is simply astonishing. The singer also performs songs that Sondheim has said he wished he had written, an awful lot of them by Harold Arlen. No complaints here. Guest Malcolm Gets solos on a few songs and duets with Cook on others, including "Let's Face the Music and Dance." This is classic material done masterfully by a classic singer. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

    Reviews (22)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Astonishing, Barbara Cook gets better every year!!
    When I first received this album in the mail, I stopped working in my garden and got my portable CD player and listended to it with earphones. The voice, the acoustics, the sound was amazing. I particularly enjoyed the conversations between songs and wished for more. Malcolm Gets (sorry I never heard of him before) was also excellent, a wonderful voice for Sondheim. I couldn't wait for each new song, Ms Cook's rendition of "Send in the Clowns" was amazing, her voice just improves with age.

    My only complaint with the album, was the ending and the obvious encores. I would like to have heard more audience reaction and conversation. (Listen to Judy's album, it seems it would go on and on. Of course then, maybe Barbara's would be a THREE CD set. Come to think if it................that's not a bad idea.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I Was There -- And This is Close
    Having listened to all her CDs and seen her at at the Hotel Carlyle hotel in NYC, I literally ran to Carnegie Hall to get tickets when this concert was announced. Being there in person was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Even waiting outside on the sidewalk for the doors to open was an experience; the feeling inside the hall was electric. So I eagerly awaited the CD, and it doesn't disappoint. Barbara Cook is a remarkable performer, and this CD shows she's still willing to take risks ... with her choice of guest (Malcolm Gets), her choice of songs, and her willingness to revisit old chestnuts with a new tempo or interpretation. A friend turned to me at the end of "Bring in the Clowns" (after he had wiped away his tears) and said "It's as if I've never heard that song before." BUY THIS ALBUM!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Everyone Should Whistle
    After being privileged to attend this concert, I had to own the CD. Once a lyric coloratura and the original Cunegonde in Bernstein's Candide, Ms. Cook has become (in her 70s) a true diva, blessed with a velvety, warm sound. Every note has meaning. Her high B-flat on "Ice Cream" is still the envy of any soprano today. Everyone should whistle after hearing the superb performances on this CD. Even better, though, is the experience of having been in the concert hall for the live performance. Brava, Ms. Cook!

    5-0 out of 5 stars An amazing intro to the body of work of a true master
    When I first bought tickets for the 'Mostly Sondheim' show on tour (in San Francisco) I figured it couldn't be too bad. Besides, I had only been exposed to a few of his songs (Anyone Can Whistle, Losing My Mind...) and had only seen "A Little Night Music". On the way out of the theater I immediately picked up this recording of the program. It is truly amazing. I immediately began listening to it and have barely put it down in the last few months. Furthermore, my Sondheim CD collection increased in size from an unflattering zero to five (and it's still growing)! This is an amazing introduction to the works of Stephen Sondheim, who is now my favorite modern musical composer). Buy this now if you don't already have it!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, moving concert
    This is a wonderful CD set with a great selection of songs. I do want to express a slight reservation, however. Barbara Cook has been one of my favorite singers for a number of years and the way her voice defies time is extraordinary -- for her to be singing with such bright, beautiful tone in her mid-70s with no wobble or beat in the voice is an amazing achievment.

    I do have to say that by 2001, when this concert was recorded, Cook seemed to have a lost a little bit of power and intensity in her singing. This is only natural for someone of her age. Her voice is still lovely, but you can sense her keeping it in reserve a bit. She's as expressive as ever, but compare the rendition of "I got lost in his arms" on this album to the one on her previous album recorded in 1999, "The Champion Season", and there's less urgency and vocal depth in her singing here. That said, the high B at the end of "Ice Cream" is sensational.

    So, despite that caveat, this is, again, a wonderful album, a must for Cook fans, especially for the gorgeous renditions of songs I'd never thought I'd get to hear her perform: "Not a Day Goes By", "Happiness/Loving You", "San Francisco", etc. Buy it! ... Read more


    19. The Best of Broadway - The American Musical (PBS Series)
    list price: $18.98
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    Asin: B0002W4T9E
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 385
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    Amazon.com

    A companion to the fabulous PBSseries, the 21-song, 77-minute The Best of "Broadway: The AmericanMusical" provides about as good a single-disc compilation as anyonecould hope for. (There's also a five-CD version.)What setsit apart from so many other "best of Broadway" collections is itsbreadth--because it had access to a variety of record-label vaults itdoesn't have to try to disguise gaps by using revivals or solo recordings.Here you get all the authentic stuff, including: Paul Robeson singing "Ol'Man River" from the first modern American musical, Show Boat; EthelMerman singing "You're the Top"; the title song from Oklahoma!;Julie Andrews singing "I Could Have Danced All Night" from My FairLady; West Side Story's "America"; Betty Buckley singing"Memory" from Cats; Hairspray's "Good Morning Baltimore"; and"Defying Gravity" from Wicked, the newest show discussed in the PBSseries.And it's hard to argue with the songwriters represented: IrvingBerlin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Frank Loesser,Lerner and Loewe, Leonard Bernstein, Bock and Harnick, Kander and Ebb,Stephen Sondheim, and Andrew Lloyd Webber, among others.Obviously, nosingle-disc compilation could ever please everyone (did we really needtwo ALW songs?), but as a sampler intended for people who watchedthe series and want to hear more of the Great White Way, The Best of"Broadway: The American Musical" can't be topped.--DavidHoriuchi ... Read more


    20. Classic Wynton
    list price: $17.98
    our price: $13.99
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    Asin: B00000DI10
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 4298
    Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Wynton Marsalis may not have an easily recognizable or even particularly handsome tone, but this erstwhile jazz trumpeter is an amazing virtuoso with a fine sense of classical style. If you've never owned/heard any of his classical CDs, and you love (mostly baroque) trumpet music, this compilation--a sort of "greatest hits"--is for you.From such cruddy, sensationalistic works as Carnival of Venice to the glories of Haydn's E-Flat Concerto, this is grand entertainment. Marsalis is joined by Kathleen Battle in an exciting version of Handel's "Let the bright seraphim," and the treat there is doubled. A fine piece by Hovhaness for trumpet and organ, never before released, is another surprise. Come listen to the endless, seemingly casual roulades that come out of this guy's trumpet--they'll wake you right up. --Robert Levine ... Read more

    Reviews (17)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Too Much Fluff
    The trumpet-playing here is, as always with Marsalis, brilliant, but there's too much "trumpet lite" on this CD - classical elevator music, like the Masterpiece Theater theme. I recommend you get Marsalis' original releases if you'd like to hear great trumpet playing AND a disk full of interesting music. Here you get only one movement of the Haydn concerto, one movement of the Brandenburg, one movement of the Thomasi; the rest of the disk is filled, mostly, with simple, uninteresting D major wedding-music.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is an excellent CD
    I have bought this Cd and I have found it shows the agility of the Player Wynton Marsalis. He has really hit the trumpet world hard (and I mean hard) I met him once and one thing I really noticed is that he always Strived for perfection in his music . when I was in the listening room with him for the Duke Ellington rehersal at Live from Licoln center I thought that it sounded Great, But he tried to aachive one step higher and he did. So I believe that if you really want to hear someone play the trumpet with an amazing tone, and great skill you should really get this CD. -Joe

    5-0 out of 5 stars Clear and Open Trumpet Solo Work
    Here the jazz trumpeter excellent shifts to classical numbers, and pulls them off with a vibrancy and clarity that makes for great listening enjoyment.

    Many, especially J. Clarke's are Processional type pieces, so they are royal and magnificent. Marsalis is very crisp and clean in his phrasing. His sound is crystal and sharp.

    Especially enjoyable is his work on J. Haydyn's Trumpet Concerto in E-flat major, which moves and showcases his allegro abilities.

    The delicacy emitted on the piece with soprano superb Battle is magnificent, a rendering of Handel's "Let the Bright Seraphim."

    Truly the versatility of this premier trumpeter pours forth for the near seventy minutes of this collection, from Vivaldi to Bach's Brandenburg, to Mozart to Bernstein's Rondo for Lifey.

    4-0 out of 5 stars the other side of the incomprable wynton marsalis
    I've been a fan a wynton for a few years and have the greatest respect for him. I am a college trumpet player who listens to a lot of different players and genres, but i find him to be my absolute favorite. This classic album has a great list of some of the most frequently performed classical works for trumpet ever. It has been very helpful for auditions and just plain entertaining.
    Also, he is incredible live! Check out his jazz.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Winton At His Best!
    This is Winton at his best I say. (I only heard one cd of his) I love his tone and the given songs. I picked the cd cause I play Trumpet. The first few songs weren't that great but towards the end it was the best he played. Never being out of tone. It is long. It has a perfect 20 songs. I haven't seen him better. ... Read more


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