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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent (mostly ...), 23 July 2003
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M. Board "sheepisher" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Frogs/Evening Primrose (Audio CD)
Firstly, I think this is a MUST-BUY for the Sondheim completist. Finally, a recording of "The Frogs" - perhaps his most elusive score - is available for all to hear!
And it is, frankly, outstanding - written in 1975 as he was hitting his stride, with "Company", "Follies" and "Little Night Music" already under his belt. The songs are all fantastic - Sondheim gets a rare chance to do rich, complicated choral stuff and the result is truly mindblowing, particularly "Parados" and "Evoe". And Nathan Lane's Dionysos and an evocative Jonathan Tunick orchestration are the icing on the cake.
There are just two drawbacks about this CD. First is the recording of "Fear No More" ... the delivery is needlessly melodramatic and irritatingly breathy. It almost (but not quite) spoils the song.
The second is, frankly, the whole of "Evening Primrose". Maybe it's just because the couple singing it are very young performers with not enough experience, but to me, these four songs sound rather dull and uninspired. Maybe I'm being harsh but personally, I think you'd be hard-pressed to say they were written by the same man who wrote "Sweeney Todd" and "Sunday in the Park with George".
That said, this CD is worth it for "The Frogs" alone - that's what earns it 4 stars from me. It's a truly spectacular musical work, and it's only a pity we've had to wait so long for a recording. So I'd definitely recommend it!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great addition to the catalogue, 10 Jan 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Frogs/Evening Primrose (Audio CD)
Had heard about this disc on R3, and was very pleasantly surprised to find it in my stocking fom Santa.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the disc: I know little Sondheim, love most of what I know and this goes to reinforce my appreciation of him.
There are lots of characteristic asides to the audience in "the frogs", with lots of anachronistic touches. The music is typically bitter sweet and spritely by turns.
The "Evening Primrose" by contrast is a more romantic piece from an earlier perod in Sondheim's career. It hints at what is to come later.
A substantial booklet comes with the package to make this a worthwhile buy.
Jan 2002
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The Frogs/Evening Primrose
The Frogs/Evening Primrose by Davis Gaines (Audio CD - 2001)
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