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Bernstein: West Side Story

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (24 May 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Universal Classics
  • ASIN: B000001G62
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,785 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Prologue - Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  2. Jet Song - Kurt Ollmann, David Livingston, Stephen Bogardus, Peter Thom, Marty Nelson, Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein, Chorus
  3. Something's Coming - José Carreras, Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  4. The Dance at the Gym - Blues - Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  5. The Dance at the Gym - Promenade - Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  6. The Dance at the Gym - Mambo - Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  7. The Dance at the Gym - Cha-Cha - Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  8. The Dance at the Gym - Meeting Scene - Nina Bernstein, Alexander Bernstein, Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  9. The Dance at the Gym - Jump - Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  10. Maria - José Carreras, Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  11. Tonight - Balcony Scene - Kiri Te Kanawa, José Carreras, Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  12. America - Angelina Reaux, Louise Edeiken, Stella Zambalis, Tatiana Troyanos, Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein, Chorus
  13. Cool - Kurt Ollmann, Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein, Chorus
  14. One Hand, One Heart - Kiri Te Kanawa, José Carreras, Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  15. Tonight (Ensemble) - Kurt Ollmann, Richard Harrell, Tatiana Troyanos, José Carreras, Kiri Te Kanawa, Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein, Chorus
  16. The Rumble - Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein

Disc: 2

  1. I Feel Pretty - Kiri Te Kanawa, Luise Edeiken, Angelina Reaux, Stella Zambalis, Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  2. Ballet Sequence - Beginning - José Carreras, Kiri Te Kanawa, Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  3. Ballet Sequence - Transition to Scherzo - Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  4. Ballet Sequence - Scherzo - Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  5. Ballet Sequence - Somewhere - Marilyn Horne, Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  6. Ballet Sequence - Procession and Nightmare - Kiri Te Kanawa, José Carreras, Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein, Chorus
  7. Gee, Officer Krupke - David Livingston, Marty Nelson, Stephen Bogardus, Peter Thom, Todd Lester, Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein, Chorus
  8. A Boy Like That - Tatiana Troyanos, Kiri Te Kanawa, Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  9. I Have a Love - Kiri Te Kanawa, Tatiana Troyanos, Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  10. Taunting Scene - Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  11. Finale - Kiri Te Kanawa, José Carreras, Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  12. Andante (with dignity) - Presto barbaro - Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  13. Adagio - Allegro molto agitato - Alla breve (Poco più mosso) - Presto come prima - Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  14. Andante largamente - More flowing - Lento - Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  15. Moving forward - Largamente - Andante come prima - Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  16. Allegro non troppo, molto marcato - Poco più sostenuto - Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  17. a tempo (Poco più sostenuto) - Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein

Product Description

Product Description

I will ship by EMS or SAL items in stock in Japan. It is approximately 7-14days on delivery date. You wholeheartedly support customers as satisfactory. Thank you for you seeing it.

Controversial as an essential Carreras recording, West Side Story isn't an opera, and neither is the tenor, operatic star José Carreras, an American-born Broadway singer. But the music is operatic in quality--let's say in durability. It is Bernstein's most established masterpiece, his surest claim to be remembered as a composer a century from now; the source is Shakespeare and the music has a seriousness, color, and intensity worthy of its subject. And this recording represents the way the composer wanted it to sound, with his choice of the best available voices. Carreras sounds like he was born to sing "Something's Coming," "Maria," and "Tonight." Perhaps he was born to sing them in Spanish, but opera lovers regularly take bigger language problems than that in stride for the sake of vocal quality. --Joe McLellan

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In my opinion there is no and could be no better version of this! I absolutely love it and would recommend it to anyone. Very professional and polite customer service too from the company I bought it from.
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Format: Audio CD
Good sound, good performance, good documentation. Lacks the bite of the original film score.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Unable to judge as I have not yet played these discs but if it is of the quality of her other recordings it will be outstanding
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars 22 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect version of West Side Story 8 Aug. 2005
By PhantomOfTheOpera - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I bought this album after having being introduced to it through the dvd - the making of West Side Story. Both the cd and the dvd are wonderful and I recommend that you buy them both.

I think it's a real treat to hear the songs performed by classically trained singers and not - like Bernstein himself says on the dvd - performed by dancers who also can sing somewhat. In my opinion the songs benefit greatly from being sung by artists like José Carreras and Kiri Te Kanawa. What I don't like about this recording is Bernsteins decision about not letting the singers perform the spoken dialogue as well as the singing. And why, oh why did Bernstein have to choose his own children for the task? To me they sound uninvolved in the play and I guess it must be hard to get into the right lovestruck mood when acting against your sibling! But they're the only problem with this recording and a minor one that is.

The whole cast is doing an excellent job on this recording. José Carreras is an exceptionally good Tony. His "Maria" is out of this world. And the duet "one hand, one heart" with Kiri Te Kanawa is heart-wrenching. "Tonight" is also outstanding. Something that never ceases to amaze me about him is his ability to make his voice express exactly what he's singing about. In the song "something's coming" he's singing ...."around the corner or whistling down the river".... You get the feeling that something's really whistling down the river. Listen and you'll understand what I'm talking about.

Kiri Te Kanawa is better here than in many of her other recordings. Sometimes she sounds very, very posh when singing, but it's hard to beat her in the duets "a boy like that" and "I have a love", performed with Tatiya Troyanos.

The song "America" makes you wanna get up and dance. And so does "Gee, officer Krupke". The songs have an energy and a freshness about them that makes you unable to sit still. In addition they're quite funny and you just have to laugh.

However, in the end Tony gets shot, leaving you devastated when he dies. I always get this strange "void" inside after hearing the final song where Tony suddenly stops singing and you realize that he's actually dead.

Due to the fact that Leonard Bernstein is conducting the play himself one must assume that this is the recording he would choose, since he most probably made the whole cast perform just the way he intended them to when he wrote this music. And what's good enough for Leonard Bernstein certainly works for me!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolultely Fabulous 11 July 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This is far and away the best recording of "West Side Story" availible, and it is very well complemented by the superlative Suite from "On the Waterfront." "West Side Story" has long dwelt on the fringes of acceptance by the classical mainstream, and it is in this recording that the work's true artistic potential finally comes into full bloom. The orchestra (yes, a full size, honest-to-goodness orchestra, not one of those microscopic ensembles we are so accustomed to hearing in other recordings) is brilliant, the singers are spectacular, and the whole work is ultimately more moving and overwhelmingly powerful than any other version yet in existence.
The 'operatic' emphasis in this recording produces a stunning effect, particularly in the more Romantic parts of the musical, most brilliantly in 'Somewhere', which is sung by Marilyn Horne. Kiri Te Kanawa is a superlative Maria; Jose Carreras is a sensational Tony, singing the most gorgeous rendition of 'Maria' imaginable. The two combine in an incomparably moving 'Tonight', easily the most beautiful and touching that I have ever encountered.
I also deserves to be said that the Suite from "On the Waterfront" contains some of Bernstein's most powerful and emotional music, and in its slow section it sings with a bittersweet lyricism that is not easily forgotten.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful recording, a wonderful West Side Story 28 Jun. 2003
By Enrico Busia - Published on
Format: Audio CD
First of all, this recording is basically Bernstein's WSS. Perhaps the fact he conducts his own score prevents anyone from criticizing his conduction. Anyway, the result is really extraordinary, it is not only a big names's question. The recording has no cuts except the Ouverture and the Changes of Scene, so, all the score - that is very complex- is enhanced by Bernstein fantastically and, above all, the instrumental pieces acquire the prominence they merit: the prologue expresses such a youth vitality and a lightheartedness: it is a very, vivid portray of an American street, it is really theatrical even if it's only music - without a choreography to be seen- , and this single piece would be sufficient to make Lenny's genius clear. And you can feel this lighthearted climate change and turn into something more serious. The Rumbles are so dramatic and striking. The dances at the gym are conducted in an wonderful manner, too. The Mambo, for instance, is exceptionally rich of vitality and energy, so that it makes you eager to stand up and to start to dance, and so that the following Maria-cha cha is so longing: it is charming, fascinating, for its exotic softness. Anyway, one of the highest moments of this recording is the Ballet Sequence. I would never manage to describe how the music is capable to fly in the 'Scherzo', which the dramatic force of the Procession and nightmare is, or that sense of hope and vagueness at the same time you can feel in the last bars ( somehow someday...) with the wind instruments seeming to look at the sky and the timpani bringing back down you, which is present in the Finale, too, but in a different way. Anyway the sung parts are not worse at all, on the contrary, they are marvelous. The whole cast is quite good, including the chorus and the soloists in "Gee..." . Horne superbly sings Somewhere: she is vocally excellent and infuses a dreaming melancholy in the song. Ollmann is a brilliant Riff, joining vitality together with leadership. Troyanos, who, in this recording, is more similar to a musical or jazz singer than to an opera singer, gives "America" brio with an overflowing verve - but without exaggerating - and gives "A boy..." outstanding dramatic weight: a perfect Anita. About the two protagonists, surely, they don't seem to be two kids, and if you saw them at theatre they would be ridiculous, but, in an audio-recording, it is very interesting to listen to their interpretations, for they reach a notably high artistic result, conveying the feelings of two lovers, with great sensitiveness. They are opera-singers, which is not a defect, and if they lack youthfulness they neglect this side of the score in favor of a more poetic expressiveness. Carreras has a very beautiful voice, and he portrays a romantic and passionate Tony. Te Kanawa is excellent: her voice is fine, (and better than in other recordings) but her accent and phrasing are so expressive that the charm of her voice is not the most important feature of her performance, which could amaze you, if you have noticed how many times and how much she has been "cold" in operas. Also, her operatic technique gives her the possibility to face a piece like "A Boy"/ "I have a love", so that she and Troyanos create a stunning moment. Duets with Carreras are fantastic: "One Hand, One Heart" for instance, my not-so-good command of English language forbids me to describe it in a suitable manner. So, is everything perfect? No, Lenny's children are horrible. I mean: even if they are not very bad actors, nor they seem to be two lovers ( and if they did, it would sound incestuous).
Alexander seems a silly kid, who has a crush (and it isn't his true love) on a girl, and Nina, sometimes, is rough, almost brutal (for instance when she says "I cannot stay GO QUICKLY"), maybe in order to imitate a Spanish accent. Anyway, she is as expressive and as sensitive as an ice statue. Apart from that, the biggest problem is the fact that the two singers and the two actors have not a similar conception of the same character, and their interpretations are too much different, for Carreras and Te Kanawa don't seem two kids, (and they aren't). However, this remarkable difference you can feel between the sung and the spoken parts, is compensated by the exceptional general level of the recording (and by the fact that it is an only-audio-recording, so that you can listen to the music and concentrate on it, without taking care of the spoken dialogue).
So, you could hear different interpretations of this musical, because this is not the only valid one, but I think that it hardly could be exceeded.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotional Performances with the Lenny Touch 2 Feb. 2002
By Myrna A. Diaz - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Much has been written about this CD/album. Many have criticized Bernstein's choices for some of the roles, however, with the exception of Tatiana Troyanos (absolutely horrible voice), the recording is laden with emotion-packed renditions of what has to be Bernstein's work of genius.
I really do not care what critics said about José Carreras in the role of Tony (his accent, etc.). Never have I ever heard a more beautiful renditon of ¨Maria.¨ His lovely, magnificent voice gives such an intensity and sensitivity to this most magnificent piece. Additionally, his ¨One Hand, One Heart¨ duet with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is so absolutely beautiful it just destroys my heart.
I also own the video, ¨Leonard Bernstein Conducts West Side Story¨ and it is so interesting to see the making of this gem. Such an inspiration to the soul!! Leonard Bernstein will always be one of our country's most amazing treasures!! God Bless him forever!!!!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ten-star music, two-star casting 29 Dec. 2011
By Charles F. Held Jr. - Published on
Format: Audio CD
West Side Story is my favorite production of all-time. I know it note-for-note, word-for-word, backwards and forwards. With its melting pot of genres (Broadway, opera, ballet, jazz, blues, Shakespeare) and ethnicities, WSS *IS* America. When all its elements come together in the five-part counterpoint at the end of the "Quintet", we witness perhaps the finest moment in US performing arts history.

On to this recording. While WSS has never claimed to be an exercise in realism - NYC gangs don't break out into ballet or say things like "cut the frabba-jabba", and the events presented are unlikely to play out in under 36 hours in real life - it is a conscious commentary on cultural divisions and assimilation. Thus, while we can perhaps forgive the questionable casting choices made in 1961 as there were no Hispanic performers at the time with the box-office draw of a Natalie Wood (the actresses rejected for the role of Maria included Jill St. John, Audrey Hepburn, Diane Baker, Valerie Harper, Elizabeth Ashley, and Suzanne Pleshette - not a Latina among them!), and this *was* the same year that "Breakfast At Tiffany's" gave us the infamous Mr. Yumioshi, in 1985 there's really no excuse for handing the roles of Tony and Maria to a Spaniard and a New Zealander, respectively (neither does it help that Carreras and Te Kanawa are both ~ 40 years old).

This is beautiful music, wonderfully sung and well played, but the inappropriateness of the voices *will* bother you. As stand-alone performances there are highlights here: "Maria" and "One Hand One Heart" among them, but you're always aware that you are listening to a Professional Singer (TM) with a lyric sheet in front of him/her rather getting lost in the wonder of a performer who is totally in character. Some here argue that "well, Lenny picked these singers so they must be the ones he liked for the parts" but it is well known that Bernstein and Carreras had numerous quarrels during recording.

Ironically the liner notes include this statement from Bernstein's diary entry when the play opened: "I guess we were right not to cast "singers": anything that sounded more professional would inevitably sound more experienced, and then the "kid' quality would be gone. A perfect example of a disadvantage turned into a virtue."

As expected the hand-picked orchestra crackles under Lenny's baton, with the original Broadway score allowed to demonstrate its vast superiority to the film score's bloat. For those more familiar with the film, note that on this version:

- "America" has very different lyrics and the leads are Anita and Rosalia rather than Anita and Bernardo
- "Cool" is in the first act, performed by Riff; "Krupke" is in the second act, sung primarily by Action
- "I Feel Pretty" opens the second act
- "Somewhere" is sung by "A Girl" as opposed to Tony and Maria (in the present touring company it is sung by Anybody's)
- original lyrics that were changed for the film are restored in "Jet Song", "Krupke" and one or two other places

The sound is crisp and dry, perfect for a scholarly examination if not a faithful representation of a theater pit's ambiance. As others have mentioned the dialog intros performed by Bernstein's son and daughter are contrived and distracting.

This set is a must-buy for those wishing to marvel at the genius of Bernstein, which should include every fan of West Side Story. Just don't expect to hear the sounds of an American teenager and his young Puerto Rican girlfriend to come out of your speakers.
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