- Audio CD (26 Nov. 2012)
- Number of Discs: 2
- Label: Sony CMG
- ASIN: B009CAAGCG
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (430 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,935 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Jeff Wayne's Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds - The New Generation
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In 2012, an all New Generation of artists guest on a fresh recording of one of the most iconic albums of all time. Originally released in 1978, Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of The Worlds remains an award-winning landmark masterpiece that has continually won new fans. For 2012, Jeff embarked on a new interpretation with guest stars every bit as talented as their illustrious predecessors. He has once again brought HG Wells’ classic novel to life on a new double album.
Two of the modern era's most respected artists, Oscar-nominated actor Liam Neeson and celebrated singer/songwriter/producer and Take That’s main man Gary Barlow play the two key roles of The Journalist and The Sung Thoughts of The Journalist. Gary is the new voice of the singles "The Eve of The War" and "Forever Autumn". A life-long fan of the original album, he was most excited at the chance to appear on the new one. He says: "I've been a huge fan of The War of The Worlds score since I was a kid, so to be asked to work with the legend that is Jeff Wayne was a real privilege."
Thirty-four years on, Liam Neeson inherits his role from Richard Burton, whose voice is an abiding memory for a generation haunted by his album narration. While a hard act to follow, he makes the role his own. Liam says: "I knew and loved the book from when I was a teenager and it was an easy persuasion. And I bought the album in 1979 when I was working in Ireland. I still have that little cassette.”
Ricky, from the Kaiser Chiefs, takes over from David Essex’s classic rendition as The Artilleryman. Ricky commented: “Jeff Wayne’s The War of The Worlds is part of the musical landscape and I have always been a fan. It is daunting to do because people love it so much. I got the email from Jeff Wayne inviting me to be part of it and that is not something you can say ‘No’ to.”
Bringing a fresh sound to the role of Parson Nathaniel is acclaimed new singer Maverick Sabre. Originally performed by Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott, Maverick performs with Joss Stone, the stunning choice to play Parson Nathaniel’s wife; their performances on "The Spirit Of Man" are truly mesmerising. Hot new talent, Alex Clare, following his breakout hit "Too Close", takes over as The Voice of Humanity, originally recorded by Chris Thompson.
This is a limited edition hardback digipack format.
H. G. Wells has long been a popular source of inspiration for film and theatre. Film adaptations of his work, such as The Time Machine and The Shape of Things to Come, have proved hugely influential; while his autobiographical tale Kipps became the hit musical Half a Sixpence for stage and screen.
Jeff Wayne composed and produced his original concept album take on Wells’ 1898 novel The War of the Worlds in 1978. It was issued to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Orson Welles' audacious adaptation of the novel for CBS radio, a broadcast that had some listeners believing that Martians had really arrived on Earth.
In this new, updated version, Wayne rekindles that peculiarly intimate feeling of listening to an old-style radio drama in the Welles manner, albeit with the narrative spoken over a sizeable orchestra overlaid with electronic effects.
In the original 1978 version, the role of the narrator/journalist was played by Richard Burton, who wove his sombre bardic magic around some pretty flat-footed dialogue. Liam Neeson now narrates in a gentler Celtic register, his extended cues somewhat divided by too much repetitive music.
Other star names in the new cast include Gary Barlow singing the plaintive Forever Autumn, Joss Stone in the thoughtful number The Spirit of Man, and best of all, Ricky Wilson from Kaiser Chiefs. The latter sings, with full fervour, Wells' utopian hymn to a Brave New World.
Despite adjustments to the instrumentation and some eerie new music for the Martians, this piece remains very much of its time – when grandiose symphonic sound met rock in a battle of wills. Brave New World is a reminder of the early Rice/Lloyd Webber songs and the film music of John Barry is echoed in the scene where the Martians arrive on Horsell Common. But is the incident of the unscrewing of the cylinder releasing the Martians across the Home Counties supposed to raise a laugh?
The recording, as heard through a surround sound system, packs a hefty wallop. And this release is nicely timed, as the show embarks on a UK tour in celebration of the father of science fiction, the very same H. G. Wells.
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Top Customer Reviews
On the whole I think it's a great addition to all the other versions. The reservation I had was in particular the choice of Gary Barlow to replace Justin Hayward for the sung thoughts of the journalist, however he actually carries himself off without too much embarrassment, but only because he manages to imitate Justin Hayward's performance quite well. Joss Stone makes it her own and her performance as a more gutsy Beth is a nice touch and brings her character up-to-date. Liam Neeson is engaging and in top form throughout, and very brave considering that he knew comparisons to Richard Burton would be inevitable.
The rest of the performances are a bit middle-of-the-road by various youngish talent. Alex Clare steps into Chris Thomspon's shoes as "the voice of humanity", Maverick Sabre takes on Phil Lynott's part as Parson Nathanial and Ricky Wilson (Kaiser Chiefs' frontman) is the artilleryman originally played by David Essex. I wish Jeff Wayne had stuck with the actor Alexis James as the artilleryman from the first tour, he was brilliant, and the powerful vocals of Chris Thompson from the same cast is sorely missed, but I suppose the purpose of this "new generation" version is to appeal to younger listeners by using contemporary pop/rock stars instead, in fact that's exactly what the original did back in the day.Read more ›
Hence my confusion - where is it? This is basically a re-recording of the original with new singers and actors and new musical interpretation. Albeit there is some updating of the dialogue - the story content is exactly the same. (before anyone has a go at me - yes, I know that it's based on the book!)
So the good points - I think Jeff Wayne has updated the original score very sensitively with 85% of the original musical ideas present. The new additions are well placed and I particularly like the incorporation of dance music styles (even some Dub Step!). Gary Barlow's performance is particularly good - both in keeping with Justin Hayward's original, but also bringing his own unique trademarks.
Liam Neeson's voice is a wise choice to replace Richard Burton and his tonal qualities work well. I can't help feeling though that his dialogue feels slightly rushed, and therefore is a bit lacking in the potential drama that I know he can deliver.
And the bad points: For me, the drama is the main ingredient lacking on the New Generation version. I don't know the process of how Jeff picked the New Gen. recording artists - the singing is on the whole very good, but I'm not convinced by the acting - particularly in the dialogue between the main songs (by the characters - not Liam Neeson).Read more ›
Fast forward to 2013 , I have been bought a copy of the New Generation WotW. Not an album I would have bought for myself , truly believing that nothing could match the original.
On first play I instantly remarked that Liam Neesons voice wasn't half as good as Richard Burtons had been. Within 10 minutes of listening , I stopped comparing the two and settled down to enjoy the new version.
And that is the secret. Don't compare , enjoy.
The music is still the top quality we've come to know and love , the vocal performances are fairly good. I prefer Justin Hayward over Gary Barlow , but think Ricky Wilson does a better job than David Essex did.
It's better than I expected , 4 stars from me.
Now, some of the other adjustments left me cold at first, but im so pleased to note the extra dialogue is a fine improvement, and i like Liam Neeson just as much as the original Richard Burton. The sonic updates work a treat, and Joss Stone makes an all round gutsier Beth. How well does Gary Barlow fare? To be honest, he does well. My only critique is that he sounds no different to Justin Hayward. But that's okay because in all honesty, it still sounds beautiful.
Musically, this remains faithful to the original. No complaints there, and i also love the piano parts of the Red Weed sections, as well as the subtle use of sound editing and effects.
There is one area however where other reviewers frustrate me, and that involves some of the new sounds embraced by Jeff Wayne for this recording: the use of dance beats and techno. One reviewer has stated that this is an update for the "chav generation". Funny, really, considering that the original was recorded during the disco era, and thus utilized elements of that now much derided genre.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Arrived on time and CD good but CD case was cracked on arrivalPublished 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
Took a while to get used to the different cast, but soon got used to it. Very good overall.Published 1 month ago by Lee