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A New Brain: Original Cast Recording [SOUNDTRACK] [Import]

Mary Testa, Penny Fuller, William Finn, Chip Zien, Malcolm Gets, et al. Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 8.45 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Lincoln Center Theater Cast
  • Conductor: Ted Sperling
  • Composer: William Finn
  • Audio CD (7 Nov 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: RCA Classics
  • ASIN: B00000ADLO
  • Other Editions: Audio Cassette  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 242,617 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Prologue: Frogs Have So Much Spring (The "Spring" Song)Malcolm Gets;Ensemble 1:160.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Prologue: CalamariMalcolm Gets;Liz Larsen;Kristin Chenoweth;Chip Zien;Ensemble 3:400.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Prologue: 911 Emergency/I Have So Many SongsMichael Mandell;Kristin Chenoweth;John Jellison;Liz Larsen;Keith Byron Kirk;Mary Testa;Malcolm Gets;Ensemble 1:450.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Heart and MusicKeith Byron Kirk;Malcolm Gets;Liz Larsen;Mary Testa;Penny Fuller;Norm Lewis;Kristin Chenoweth;Michael Mandell;John Jellison;Ensemble 3:270.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Trouble in His BrainJohn Jellison;Penny Fuller;Ensemble0:490.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Mother's Gonna Make Things FinePenny Fuller;Malcolm Gets;Ensemble 1:300.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Sailing (From "A New Brain")Norm Lewis;Malcolm Gets;Ensemble 3:060.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Family HistoryKristin Chenoweth;Michael Mandell;Penny Fuller;Ensemble0:500.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Gordo's Law of GeneticsKristin Chenoweth;John Jellison;Keith Byron Kirk;Liz Larsen;Michael Mandell;Mary Testa;Ensemble 2:390.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. And They're OffMalcolm Gets;Kristin Chenoweth;John Jellison;Keith Byron Kirk;Liz Larsen;Michael Mandell;Mary Testa;Ensemble 3:420.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Just GoMalcolm Gets;Norm Lewis;Ensemble 2:060.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Poor Unsuccessful and FatMichael Mandell;Malcolm Gets;Chip Zien;Ensemble 2:290.99  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Sitting Becalmed in the Lee of CuttyhunkMalcolm Gets;Kristin Chenoweth;Penny Fuller;John Jellison;Keith Byron Kirk;Liz Larsen;Norm Lewis;Michael Mandell;Mary Testa;Ensemble 3:250.99  Buy MP3 
Listen14. An Invitation to Sleep in My ArmsMalcolm Gets;Norm Lewis;Liz Larsen;Penny Fuller;Ensemble 4:290.99  Buy MP3 
Listen15. ChangeMary Testa;Ensemble 2:540.99  Buy MP3 
Listen16. YesMalcolm Gets;Chip Zien;Kristin Chenoweth;John Jellison;Keith Byron Kirk;Liz Larsen;Ensemble 3:170.99  Buy MP3 
Listen17. In the Middle of the RoomMalcolm Gets;Penny Fuller;Ensemble 2:010.99  Buy MP3 
Listen18. Throw It OutPenny Fuller;Ensemble 3:170.99  Buy MP3 
Listen19. A Really Lousy Day in the UniverseMary Testa;Norm Lewis;Ensemble 3:300.99  Buy MP3 
Listen20. Brain DeadMalcolm Gets;Norm Lewis;Ensemble 2:400.99  Buy MP3 
Listen21. Whenever I DreamLiz Larsen;Malcolm Gets;Ensemble 1:400.99  Buy MP3 
Listen22. Eating Myself Up AliveMichael Mandell;Kristin Chenoweth;John Jellison;Keith Byron Kirk;Mary Testa;Ensemble 2:170.99  Buy MP3 
Listen23. The Music Still Plays OnPenny Fuller;Ensemble 4:490.99  Buy MP3 
Listen24. Don't Give InChip Zien;Malcolm Gets;Norm Lewis;Liz Larsen;Penny Fuller;Ensemble 3:400.99  Buy MP3 
Listen25. You Boys Are Gonna Get Me in Such Trouble/Sailing (reprise)Michael Mandell;Norm Lewis;Malcolm Gets;Ensemble 2:450.99  Buy MP3 
Listen26. The Homeless Lady's RevengeMary Testa;Malcolm Gets;Norm Lewis;Ensemble 3:350.99  Buy MP3 
Listen27. TimeNorm Lewis;Malcolm Gets;Ensemble 1:280.99  Buy MP3 
Listen28. Time and MusicKeith Byron Kirk;Malcolm Gets & Company;Ensemble 1:370.99  Buy MP3 
Listen29. I Feel So Much SpringMalcolm Gets;Mary Testa;Keith Byron Kirk & Company;Ensemble 3:390.99  Buy MP3 


Product Description

The off-Broadway musical A New Brain tells the story of a struggling songwriter who suffers a medical crisis when something goes wrong with his brain and he is forced to undergo surgery. The show follows his experiences in the hospital and the ways that his friends relatives and business associates deal with the situation. Composer/lyricist/co-librettist William Finn himself suffered a similar problem as annotator Andr&eacute Bishop writes &quotEverybody knows by now that Bill Finn was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor almost died and then didn't.&quot Everybody (in the musical theater anyway) also knows that Finn is the celebrated composer of the Tony Award-winning Falsettos a highly original show that among other things touched on medical matters in lively unexpected ways. However autobiographical A New Brain may be it is also a worthy follow-up to Falsettos full of pop rock and funk tunes played primarily on synthesizers with lyrics that trace a group of funny touching characters in ways that comment on contemporary life. Bishop accurately points out that Finn simultaneously occupies a central place in current musical theater and a place &quoton the extreme sidelines &quot because he is recognized as a major talent but is also uncompromisingly devoted to writing &quotidiosyncratic highly personal shows.&quot While like Falsettos A New Brain goes well beyond its nominal subject matter and is enjoyable purely for its music and wit it nevertheless is idiosyncratic and highly personal and listeners may find the juxtaposition of catchy songs and medical problems disconcerting. Finn is interested in getting his audiences to tap their feet but he doesn't want them to forget their troubles. A New Brain is a less substantial work than Falsettos but it is another highly accomplished effort from a challenging artist.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars so much spring 1 Dec 2002
By mr
Format:Audio CD
i can't recommend this cd enough. The show describes a difficult period in the life of a gay composer of musical theatre and i get the impression it is very autobiographical. All the performances are excellent. What i really love about it is that every time i listen to it i notice some new internal reference. The songs are tuneful and modern and still manage to be complex. Vocal harmonies are great.The characters are real and moving. This is obviously a work of love.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Done William Finn! 14 Jun 2004
Format:Audio CD
This musical rocks, i love Penny Fuller and Malcolm Gets, especially Christopher Innvar, and Kristin Chyenoweth's voice rises through the harmonies spectactually! Great sounds and vibes comung from this albumn, just flow through the songs getting some clever and heart felt songs and deep feel good music!
Go get this if your an true musical theatre fan and a vibrant colourful one at that!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A NEW BRAIN IS FANTASTIC! 4 May 2004
Format:Audio CD
If you love musicals, you will absolutely love A New Brain! Based on the true story of the composer, William Finn and his fight to beat a brain tumer! All the songs you just can't help singing along to. Listen to a sample I'm listening to it as you read this! Go GET IT!
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5.0 out of 5 stars So quirky - so hard to realise but sooo much fun 19 Jan 2008
Format:Audio CD
I don't have much to say about this show as I have to limit myself in case I write a book. You really have to buy this show - the casting and the way the voices sit together in harmony is nothing short of euphoria. William Finn has got it going on so much - I performed in Falsettoland at the 2002 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and we were all getting down to this CD during the run. No questions - buy it and you'll be singing along in no time at all!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  72 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh, Funny & Touching: One of Finn's Finest! 2 Sep 2000
By A. R. Karpe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is a musical about one of the most unlpleasant topics imaginable: a young man's brush with death as he goes under the knife for removal of a brain tumor. But don't let that awkward yet accurate description dissuade you from picking up "A New Brain." William Finn, the musical genius behind the three "Marvin Musicals" (In Trousers, March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland) once again plunges head-first into devastating territory, and presents a moving story with great humor and amazing theatricality. The talents on this recording are top notch, but above them all, Finn reigns supreme with glorious melodies and smart lyrics. This is more than a musical about our mortality. It is a musical about lovers, mothers, good nurses, bad nurses, show-biz charlatans and, as the song says, "Time and Music." I dare you to listen to the soaring finale, "I Feel So Much Spring" and not feel better about your situation, your day or your life. Finn's lesson? Sometimes life sucks, but it's how we deal with the lot we're given that counts. Sooner or later, it does get better. Personally, "A New Brain" goes in the CD player when I need a pick-me-up. It works every time!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing short of wonderful! 7 Jan 2000
By Peter Adamson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I think most of the people that would buy this album are already probably familiar with William Finn's work. And to be a fan of William Finn means you probably are already a discriminating musical theater lover. However, it is those people that don't know Finn well that need to buy this album. Moreover, they need to give it a chance. Finn may inherit Sondheim's place in musical theater as being one of the most delightfully frustrating composers/lyricists on the scene. You really want to hate the songs when you first hear them--they are so uncoventional that I've had friends describe them as "noise." But after repeated listenings, you discern the meaning behind the song and out of all the supposed noise soars some of the most beautiful melodies to be heard in today's musical theater. I put the song "Heart and Music" as my contribution to a staff CD we made at work. Everyone hated it at first, and by the end of a few weeks, even the biggest naysayers admitted it was their favorite song. I think that's what makes Finn's musicals a tough sell on the stage--audiences only get one chance to listen. Give this CD a chance. If you hate it after repeated listenings, fine. It's probably not for everyone's taste. But don't give up after just one shot.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent & Refreshing 28 Nov 1999
By Susan B. Antonia - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Brain surgery? In a musical?
Call me old-fashioned, but when I first heard of the subject matter for this new mucial, I thought it was rather...well, strange. How could a composer handle writing effective music about brain surgery and then combine it with a story that...made sense. William Finn was able to handle it and then some in his masterpiece, "A New Brain".
The three-part introduction, which probably gets at least partially ignored by many, does a tremendous job of setting the tone for the musical. In the three or four minutes that are taken up my the introduction, there are about one-hundred different emotions expressed by various members of the cast. These emotions pop up again in reverse chronological order throughout the remainder of the musical. I thought it was fascinating how the first line and the last line of the musical, while they have the same musical structure and have all but three words in common ("Frogs have so much spring within them" to "I feel so much spring (within me)"), perfectly represent the journey taken by the main character throughout the course of the musical.
The first complete song is "Heart and Music" and that song alone is worth the $13.99 you pay for the entire CD. It begins as a duet between Gordon, the main character, and the minister, but gradually builds to an end filled with lush harmony provided by the entire cast. I could probably go on forever discussing each individual song, but that would take hours. And becasue each song seems to be better than the previous, I can't really mention any standouts.
When it comes to the cast, there are also no real standouts because each cast member is equally fabulous. Kristin Chenoweth, Chip Zien, Malcolm Gets, Mary Testa, Penny Fuller, Norm Lewis and the rest of the cast give performances of a lifetime. After Norm Lewis' sensitive rendition of the gorgeous "I'd Rather Be Sailing", I was nearly reduced to tears. Krsitin Chenoweth made me laugh with just her two verses in "Calamari". Mary Testa absolutely blew me away with "Change". And don't get me started on the show-stopping job done by Malcolm Gets on "And They're Off" and "I Feel So Much Spring"...
This album is a real gem. Buy it and give it a chance to grow on you. Although there's no denying this CD is for the open-minded and the people who have already experienced a wide range of musical theatre. If all you know is "Oklahoma" and "Guys & Dolls", you're probably not someone who can appreciate the the rich, effective blend between music and lyrics that is so truly rare these days or the skill it takes to take such a delicate, complicated story and weave it into that blend of music and lyrics. If however you are one of these people, I assure you that you'll fall in love with "A New Brain" as I did.
With the new musicals coming out today on Broadway (everything from "Footloose" to "Saturday Night Fever"), something as thought-provoking and intelligently written as "A New Brain" is a refreshing and welcomed surprise.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for Everyone, But... 20 May 2004
By dramadude 186 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
William Finn's semi-autobiographical, sung-through piece "A New Brain" is something of a challenge for listeners. At times it can be maddeningly unmelodic and non-conventional, yet at the same time it possesses some absolutely gorgeous songs and melodies. The premise of the show is certainly interesting and unique. How many other musicals deal with a man coping with a brain tumor, his gay boyfriend, overprotective mom, a thin nurse, a "nice" nurse, a crazy homeless woman and a frog named Mr. Bungee (see, unconventional)?
The off-beat humor is not for everyone, but if you "get" it the show can be laugh out loud funny. The aforementioned Mr. Bungee is a hoot and a half, and any composer who dares to rhyme "virginity" and "affinity" gets points in my book (there's a really good bit involving this rhyme and Mr. Bungee that I won't spoil). And if nothing else, numbers like "Schwinn's Law of Genetics" and "Eating Myself Up Alive" are fun diversions from the main plot.
However, the show also packs a few emotional punches, some of which sadly go underdeveloped. I personally felt Penny Fuller could have done more with the role of Gordon's mother. She nails the comedy, but doesn't go as far with the emotional turmoil as she could on the songs "Throw it Out" and "The Music Still Plays On." Although I can't see her point in the narrative, Mary Tetsa displays her excellent belt on the song "Change," sung by the homeless woman. And in the lead, Malcolm Gets shows he has what it takes to carry a musical.
"A New Brain" has flashes of brilliance, but like most experimental musicals doesn't quite click as a show. However, the positives outweigh the negatives and the CD is definitely worth a listen or two. The score will grow on you, and for the most part the performers do an excellent job (especially with the tricky harmonies and rhythmes). If your a musical theatre fan, buy it. If not, you might enjoy it as long as you're in the mood for something far from the norm.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful musical... 14 Mar 2004
By K. Sullivan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I cannot recommend this musical enthusiastically enough.

Andre Bishop, in the CD's booklet, says "the score contains four or five of the most beautiful melodies EVER." I read this before listening and felt sure he was exaggerating. Upon listening, however, I realized he was not overstating his point at all. Several of the songs are as good as I have ever heard.

The story follows an aspiring broadway musical writer who is currently writing for a kids TV show about a frog - Mr. Bungee. He finds this premise less than inspiring and feels he is wasting his talent. He then gets sick and is worried that he may die before writing a great song. The story is touching, funny, witty, and ultimately very inspiring.

Malcolm Gets does a fantistic job in the lead. His voice is beautiful - I had no idea "Richard" from "Caroline in the City" could sing so well.

There are a few songs that I do not enjoy so much (a couple by his mother and a homeless lady). But, in general, the score and lyrics are so well done that most of the songs are "can't miss."

William Finn's creative genius is exemplified in the fourth track, "Heart and Music." Not only is the song wonderfully melodic and singable, but the lyrics hint at the story you are soon to hear in the rest of the musical. Ingenius!

I highly recommend this musical to everyone who loves this genre.
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