"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.