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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 11 September 2003
Whistle Down The Wind is one of Andrew Lloyd Webbers better musicals (think Aspects Of Love - oh dear). This is one cute story I can tell you. Its set in a little town in America in the 1960's which is very religious. The towns priest tells the town that Jesus is coming and that they will all be saved. The children it seems, take this too literally for when a murderer escapes from prison and finds refuge in the heroines barn (Swallow, an older teenager), she believes he is Jesus as does her little sister and brother who then spread the word to all the other children. By the middle of the musical 'Jesus' is taken care of by all the children in town. The high light of this musical is definitely the motor bike riding James Dean wannabe 'Amos', who has a crush on Swallow even though he already has a girlfriend - Candy. Even though the man is murderer, the villains of this story are the adults. Thirsty for revenge with evil music to back up their views. There is a battle between the 'boring' adults and the wonderous children.
The music is absolutely memorable and the songs will stay in your head for days. The music is full of life and child like wonder. Most people would of heard 'No Matter What' since there was a single version made performed by Boyzone, but the original song sung by the children is much better and emotional. You can feel the children's adventure and hope in 'Children Of The World'.
The lyrics are fantastic, what can I say? If only tears were laughter. If only night was day. If only prayers were answers, then we would hear god say. There are morals in this musical that teach you to just get on with life since 'If only' are the loneliest words. The most fantastic song is 'A Kiss is a Terrible Thing to Waste'. The most amazing build up, orchestration and lyrics and it is sung by Swallow, the Man, Candy and Amos. It has every emotion fit into one song, if you ever get the chance then I suggest the Metallic orchestra version which is probably one of the best songs that Andrew has ever done.
The performances are absolutely wonderful, especially from the children, Swallows (Lotti Mayor) put on accent sounds a bit over done at times but that's the only thing wrong with it. The children sound beautiful and they hit their notes with complete accuracy. Wonderful little professionals. Candy has a rich and powerful voice. Amos (played by Dean Collinson here) can sound a bit too overdone at times also but over all he is brilliant. Totally does the James Dean thing perfectly.
This double cd comes with a full libretto, all lyrics, characters, actions and parts of the story that is not recorded on the cds. There are bright and colourful pictures and has full actors and actresses list. In every way the packaging is top quality.
I can only say, give it a try, brilliant music, lyrics, performances and story. You would be mad not to give it a listen.
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on 19 February 2001
This is one of the best andrew lloyd webber releases ever. You can clearly hear the influence of rock legend and meat loaf composer Jim Steinman. The musical starts powerfull with "the vaults of heaven" whitch reminds of the "jurassic park" soundtrack. "I never get what i pray for"is a nice song with a catching little melody. The title song i didn't like that much but "when children rule the world"is one of the best and most simple songs Andrew has ever written. "Tire tracks and broken hearts" is also a super song, just as "no matter what". Boyzone already used this song on their last album. "Nature of the beast" is also a very strong song, but my favorite is "a kiss is a terrible thing to waste". I never saw the show but I really like the cd. my advise:BUY IT!!!!!
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on 20 April 2001
When I heard about this musical I was worried about it destroying a lovely book. it DOES destroy a lovely book but this recording is so wonderful that it makes up for everything. Typically Andrew lloyd Webber but brought into the 1990's at least. The music is brilliant and the singers do actually act. The music has a destinctly rockish, and it's well orchestrated. The music highlights the dramatic story. A lot of people talk about the bottom drawer technique with this being one big rip of other musicals. it's not. Marcus Lovette is poorer, but Swallow makes up for it several times over and the children are brilliant. This is a dark musical, but the peppy children's song really give a feel good factor, and the sound engineering on this recording really does bring it alive. It's very complete and the nearest thing you could have, without being in the theatre. I bought this on impulse buying, and it's good. Go buy it!
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on 27 April 2001
This is a clearly vastly underrated Lloyd Webber musical, often in the shadow of his other works like "Cats" and "The Phantom of the Opera". I was expecting to be disappointed with this compared to these others but I was pleasantly surprised. ... this musical is wonderful! It has a dramatic storyline, dark in places. Set in the american south, this musical works. Powerful and stirring music, ranging from the wonderful "When Children Rule The World" - sung by a chorus of children, to the moving "No Matter What" - a truly brilliant song with superb lyrics, to the rock-like "Tire Tracks and broken Hearts" to the emotional "Nature of the Beast". Now I've listened to these CDs, I wished I had seen the musical live when I had the chance.
If you like Lloyd Webber's music, then try this.
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on 15 March 2010
As I'm going to see the stage show in May, I wanted to hear some of the music from it and this album provided just that. Exceptional with dialogue added as well, so a whole show on 2 CD's !!!!!!

Very catchy songs and who doesn't know 'No Matter What' ????

Can highly recommend this one, as I said a WHOLE SHOW on 2 CD's - FANTASTIC !!!!
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on 23 March 2014
Excellent CD. Recorded with spoken lines, not just songs, which enabled me follow the whole story accurately, which I didn't fully know. Good songs and singers; highlighted vocalists have to be the deep tones of Walter Herron Reynolds III who plays Edward and the menacing tones of the Snake Preacher sung by Christopher Howard. A really good buy
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on 21 November 2004
"Whistle down the wind" was Andrew Lloyd Webber's first fresh work after "Sunset Blvd" premiered in 1993. With this musical he decided to get back to his rock and roll roots that made him famous with "Jesus Christ Superstar", after which he was mostly known for his big, soaring and lush scores of "The phantom of the opera" or "Sunset". The result is very satisfying. Jim Steinman, the lyricist of "Meatloaf" is credited with the lyrics and the director is Gale Edwards, who directed a very successful run of "Superstar" in the West End in 1996.

"Whistle down the wind" is based on the original novel by Mary Hayley Bell and the film produced by Richard Attenborough and directed by Bryan Forbes from a screenplay by Keith Water house and Willis Hall. The main plot of the film and the musical coincide: Set in a sleepy backwater town in 1959 Louisiana, three days before Christmas, "Whistle down the wind" tells the story of three children who discover a stranger hiding in their barn. They believe the man to be Christ and in their innocence feel a need to hide him from the adults in the small community. Each child fears he will be harmed as happened once before. At the same time the adults have been hiding the news from the children that a prisoner from a nearby penitentiary has escaped and may be at-large in their town. A wonderful ambiguity then surrounds the remainder of the story and we are never quite sure whether the innocence of the children or the experience of the parents and elders is to be believed. The main characters include a girl named Swallow, her siblings, the mysterious Man and Amos, a teenage rebel.

Setting the story in the above framework was a big advantage for Webber and his score, which matches the time when R'n'R and James Dean were the main subjects among the youth. The score boasts with fantastically orchestrated rock and blues themes as well as ballads. The use of guitars, drums and trumpets in orchestral leads is astonishing. The musical themes itself are very original and new. Some of the songs were released as a very successful singles, most notably "No matter what" performed by Boyzone or "Tire tracks and broken hearts" by Bonnie Tyler. My all time favorite song in this musical is "A kiss is a terrible thing to waste", sung by Swallow, Amos and The Man, because of its haunting melody with beautifully arranged guitar and drums sequence and the brilliant back vocals. But there is plenty of other notable songs here: "The vaults of heaven" is a rocky church hymn; "Whistle down the wind" and especially the instrumental overture of that song is certainly one of the prettiest Webber has ever composed; "Unsettled scores" and "The nature of the beast" are sweeping melodies of The Man's mental state, "If only" is a beautiful ballad with a nice violin and trumpet sequence. One of the things that this show benefits from is the use of the children's quire for two really sweet numbers, "When children rule the world" and "No matter what". Jim Steinman's rocky lyrics are more than suitable to evoke the appropriate atmosphere.

The cast on this recording is comprised of unknown (at least to me) individuals, but this isn't a drawback. Their southern accents don't sound bad to me as some of the reviewers pointed out. Lottie Mayor's Swallow has a beautiful and a gentle voice, at moments almost angelic. Marcus Lovett as The Man has a powerful vibretto and a range that varies from low to high. Dean Collinson is convincing Amos with the much needed touch of teenage mischief in his voice. He is awesome in "A kiss is a terrible thing to waste". Veronica Hart plays his black girlfriend with a wonderful vocal echo.

The show had its first run in 1997 in Washington but it closed soon for some reworking. It opened again in West End in July 1998 and played until January 2001. Some people complain that there is a lot of dialogue on this recording, but it is essential to follow the plot. The underscoring was done neatly during the dialogue sequences. This is one of those Webber's shows that needs a little effort and a couple of listening to get a grip on you. The only bad side of this CD package is its libretto, which comes only with the songs lyrics without any titles or stage actions in the brackets making it hard to follow. Since a synopsis is also missing, it is a good idea to download one from the net. Why do the publishers release such unfinished CD packages is beyond me.

"Whistle" is certainly a positive movement and breaking new grounds for Andrew Lloyd Webber. Although some of the critics weren't too keen on it, it is one of his best scores and will undoubtedly be appreciated by all true musical theatre aficionados.
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on 4 August 2000
Having only recently seen the show, I was under the impression that this show wasn't going to be very good because of all the bad reviews it had and the fact that it flopped in the US. So I didn't have the CD until 2 months ago, which was the biggest mistake of my life.....I should have had it when it was first released!
The truly moving and uplifting music of this show makes it my favourite of all Lloyd Webber CD releases. I wasn't attracted to the music initially as the Boyzone version of No Matter What, which I heard none stop, completely loses the feeling of the version of the show (plus the tremendous effort of the orchestra is not heard here). The best song on the album is "Cold", although out of all songs, it contrubtes little to the plot, it is great to watch on stage and a lot of fun to hear, the performers seem to be enjoying themseleves in this segment. From the uplifting gospel introduction of "The Vaults of Heaven" and the "shiver down the spine" overture to the heart felt finale, this is one of the best cast recordings I own. Look out also for "When Children Rule The World", a fun pop song and the first version of "Whistle Down The Wind". The CD does a great job of telling the story, so if you don't want anything spoilt before you see the show I suggest the concept album if you just want to become familiar with the songs however this CD encouraged me to see the show and I hope that this will do the same for others as the night I saw it was one of the best in my whole life.
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on 27 July 2000
This music is gorgeous. Andrew Lloyd Weber combines rock orchestration with gorgeous lyric singing to create a fabulous musical. This is my favorite Lloyd Weber creation. (Even better than my opinion.) The children chrous and solos are amazingly well done and The Man and Swallow, CAndy, an Amos are perfect. THe onl problem is the American Southern Accent is a bit off. They definately need a new dialect coach. It kinda detracts from the overall show. But the music and singing is fabulous. It has been stuck in my c.d. player for the past two weeks. (That is really sicne I bought it.) See the show too. It's amazing! I cried! The best songs in my opinion are "Unsettled scores" (a showstopper...geeze) "Tire Tracks" "A Kiss is a Terrible THing to Waste" and "When Children Rule the World" The music is sweeping and addicting. I Highly highly recommend this! I am a musical obsessed person and is definately in my top five favorite musicals and soundtracks!
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VINE VOICEon 29 March 2013
When played on my Kindle Fire, using the very clever KitSound Surround Sound Speaker Stand I found that the dynamic range of the audio - perhaps because the tracks were recorded at a live performance? - was excessive.

With the volume at maximum the children's voices/songs were barely audible whilst, at that setting, the volume of the main tracks was far too loud.

Amazon have promised to investigate but, in the meantime...
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