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Jesus Christ Superstar Original recording remastered, Import

4.4 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

Price: £17.23 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (7 Aug. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording remastered, Import
  • Label: Polydor
  • ASIN: B008E8XBZG
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 209,353 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 19 Jan. 2003
Format: Audio CD
This double CD is, in my opinion, the best interpretation of Jesus Christ Superstar - the vocalists are amazing, Steve Balsalmo is the best Jesus (the Gethsemane on this CD is amazing,) Zubin Varla provides an incredibly powerful voice as Judas, Joanna Ampil has a strong Mary Magdelene, David Burt provides a brilliant Pontious Pilate (the song Pilate & Christ on this CD sounds amazing) and Alice Cooper portrays a pretty good Herod. (I also thought Annas was particularly good, though not as original as the interpretation provided in the 2000 version.) The instrumentation on this interpretation is very good - I particularly like the drum line which seems more imaginative than in other versions. The only slight snag is that I don't like the ending of Everything's Allright, I prefer the fade-out as with the 2000 version because it creates such a better fade in to This Jesus Must Die. Overall, very good: particularly Judas & Pilate.
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Format: Audio CD
Jesus Christ Superstar was Andrew Lloyd Webber's first big success and the second musical he did with, in my opinion, his best lyricist, Tim Rice. The show evoked much controversy when it first appeared in 1970, since the story of the Christ's final days is mainly told from the Judas' point of view and not always according to the Gospels. Hence Mary Magdalene mentions that she is in love with Jesus and after the last supper the Apostles are a bit drunk.

Jesus Christ Superstar is considered as a turning point in modern musical-theatre. It presented something entirely different from past musicals: the plot was new and distinct, the lyrics did not sound shallow and the characters were precisely defined. Also, the piece was entirely sung-through so that the music and the plot became one. All the new musicals afterwards will use some of the new characteristics Superstar introduced leading to almost complete abandonment of the styles that the 50-is and the 60-is used in musicals.

Over the years there were quite a few recordings, however, this one can be considered definite. Both Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice overlooked its making acting as producers, Lloyd Webber making the orchestrations. The cast was mainly assembled from the revival production that run in London from 1996 until 1998, but this recording is known as the studio cast, since Alice Cooper was called in for the role of King Herod. The score is certainly one of the best Webber has ever written; the pure rock sound of the orchestra is simply amazing. When compared to the older recordings, this one has a more polished score and the sound, i.e., the use of the guitars, drums etc, sounds more modern and appropriate. Tim Rice's lyrics are suitable and witty, fitting perfectly with the score.
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Format: Audio CD
What really annoys about this recording is the failure to match up to the material. The work is great - the performance and production is poor to say the least.

So what went wrong? My biggest single criticism is the cast. In the original recordings it sounded as if the singers wanted to be rock stars - now they sound like they want to be in a musical. Mary is particualry poor in this version - she has lost the tenderness and naievety that made the 70s version so likeable. Alice Cooper at least gets the attitude right in his Herod, but I'm just not sure that Herod's Song suits him.

As for the remastered music - well it sounds clunky, and the mix has either faded down or lost some of the wonderful instrumental parts (what happened to the wandering guitar that thread its way through Jesus Must Die?).

I'm off to look for an earlier version. It may not be as digital, but hopefully it will have the soul of the piece.
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By A Customer on 13 April 2004
Format: Audio CD
This is the best recording of JCS yet! Balsamo has the most amazing voice and you can actually feel the suffering during "Gethsemane." Both of the characters playing Mary Magdalene and Judas truly shine. Particularly enjoyable was the Alice Cooper cameo as "Herod." I saw this version in London in '96 and it was more powerful than the early hippie versions. The production was performed in more period type costumes and had a very dark tone. When they brought it to B'Way a few years ago they modernized it and made it look horrible.
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Format: Audio CD
This is, by a very long way, the best recording of JC that I've heard. The reason that I've titled this review as bittersweet is that it has set such a high standard for any production of one of my favourite musicals that I find it very difficult to truly enjoy most productions of the show now. The main reason for this that is the recording of Gethsemane and also of Heaven on Their Minds. They are such key songs and this recording 'nails' them.
I defy anyone to listen to Gethsemane and not have absolute shivers go down their spine. It's the most awe inspiring piece of singing of what was already a fabulous song. It absolutely makes this CD. But (other than that amazing guitar solo to open the Overture) Heaven on Their Minds is a close second. How anyone can sing that number the way he does -without- using falsetto is beyond me. Quite astounding.
The chorus is superb and bearing in mind how much they have to do that is not a small factor. Alice Cooper does a fabulous job as Herrod - smirking and sneering his way through a number that is too often camped up just for laughs.
But you have to keep coming back to Judas and Jesus and they power this whole soundtrack. Do yourself a favour and buy it - it's essential listening. I'd pay the money for just two of the songs.
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