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Mr. LM Samuel (Swansea)

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Elaine Paige and Friends
Elaine Paige and Friends
Price: £2.73

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Easy Listening CD, 1 Nov. 2010
Elaine's latest offering sees her paired with some remarkable voices interpreting some wonderful well-known songs, some not so well-known songs and a new composition from the very capable hands of Tim Rice and Gary Barlow.

The album is perfect Sunday afternoon listening (after Elaine Paige on Sunday on BBC Radio 2 of course) or while you enjoy a candle-light romantic meal. Particular favourites are the duet with Olivia Newton John, and the album closer with Dionne Warwick.

The only draw-back of the album, and this is a tiny little thing, is that it doesn't stray too far away from that 'Easy-listening' tag; there are no moments that will make you sit up and think 'wow!' - but that's probably not the album's intention: the intention I assume is to relax you and indulge you. Elaine's voice is light, and there's no 'broadway belt', but on the evidence of this album, if this is the direction that her voice and indeed, Elaine herself is taking, then it's a welcome move.

Sit back, crack open a bottle of wine, and enjoy the moment, and if you have someone to share the moment with, then this is the perfect album.

Price: £15.04

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Patti's Turn., 12 Oct. 2008
This review is from: Gypsy (Audio CD)
After many recordings of the different productions and films of this remarkable show, the 2008 release of the latest Broadway revival is probably the most satisfying of them all!

Patti LuPone is playing the role of a lifetime here and quite remarkably puts the ghost of Ethel Merman finally to sleep. She also manages to take a little bit of magic from Merman's interpretation and take the role even further. Never have I heard Mama Rose sound so powerful, over-powering, but at the same time sultry and sometimes even sexy. But unlike the Bernadette Peters version, LuPone is consistent in her portrayal of Rose, and her characterisation is solid throughout - she is consistently all these things - not sultry in one one number, powerful in the next. And that is LuPone's appeal. It is her ability to convey so much in her voice that makes this the definitive recording! Her renditions of songs such as Everything's Coming Up Roses and Some People are frighteningly determined while her softer side is explored more in Small World, but is still a powerhouse of a voice. What you believe about Patti's performance is that this determined woman will not stop! Ever. Bernadette Peters' character was too multi-dimensional (although the singing was great) but Patti's Rose is so clear and never changing.

Throw in a wonderful ensemble cast, and this CD contains never released songs that were cut from the show, and also contains the full 'Broadway' section. Put down your Midler, Lansbury, Merman and Peters recorings and get this! (Oh, and if you have the Tyne Daly or the Rosalind Russell CDs- WHY?????)
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 18, 2011 6:17 PM BST

The Likes Of Us
The Likes Of Us

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Delight, 7 Oct. 2008
This review is from: The Likes Of Us (Audio CD)
This is a great addition to the Lloyd Webber catalogue and deserves to be on the shelf of any Muscials fan. It's easy to see why it never made it to the stage when it was written - why would the West End need another 'Oliver'-esque musical. But forty years later it sounds fresh and is a real pleasure to listen to. Unlike the aformentioned 'Oliver' the piece is generally one of pleasure and there are few moments of sadness, and the songs are quite spirited! The title song is melancholic but never does it stir the same deep emotions that you get when listening (or watching) Oliver, but saying that, the ensemble pieces are fun and evoke the same satisfaction as the company numbers in 'Oliver'.

Anyway, 'Oliver' aside, the music is more reminiscent of 'Joseph' than any of the other Lloyd Webber musicals, and this is where we see the genius of the Lord LLoyd Webber. Those who are familiar with his musicals are aware that the sound-worlds created for each musical is exclusive to that piece. There are critics that would argue that his tunes sound the same but that's simply not true. You couldn't take a song out of 'Aspects' and stick it in the middle of 'Starlight' for example. And OK, two of these tunes resurface in other works (one in By Jeeves and another in Song & Dance/Variations) but I imagine Lloyd Webber/Rice probably thought that this show would never see the light of day!

But what lovely music it is. It suggests the music of Richard Rodgers (Lloyd Webber's hero) more than any of his other songs (OK, except All I Ask Of You perhaps) and I remember how when I first listened to the Overture, I imagined a full Orchestra playing an Overture for an old classic musical!

Love Is Here and A Strange And Lovely Song are instantly likable, and the commentary by Stephen Fry enhances the performance (although, after a while you just want to listen to the songs!) and the CD comes HIGHLY recommended!

Price: £5.99

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A long wait, was it worth it? Yes!, 3 April 2008
This review is from: Symphony (Audio CD)
After waiting for so long for a new studio album from Ms Brightman, the release of Symphony has garnered a mixed reaction (even from die-hard fans) and probably the reason for this is not the content, bur the sheer expansion of expectation that has been evolving amongst the fans for the last few months since the announcement of a new album and the releasing of three songs as singles.

Since three of the songs have been available elsewhere (even though one of them has a different duet partner) you're only left with 9 new songs, (track 1 is an instrumental) and what the ever talented songstress - that Ms Brightman is - tries to do, is cram as much variety and encompass as many styles as conceivabley possible. And she does. Successfully. So what's the whole problem with it? There isn't a problem. The songs are fine, the duet partners have good credentials (although there are four, yes four, duets) and the album does seem to have a coherent theme, like a symphony blending different themes into an audible whole. For most people merely aquainted with Brightman, the album is a real delight, and die hard fans, well what were you really expecting?!!!! A beautifully well crafted album comprising of soaring melodies and deliciously controlled vocals. That's what this album is!

The Songs That Got Away
The Songs That Got Away
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £16.12

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Collection Of Lost Songs, 4 Nov. 2006
This review is from: The Songs That Got Away (Audio CD)
There is a wealth of unknown theatre songs that for some reason or other we have not heard and this is an album of some of the finest theatre songs that, for whatever reason, never became that well known, but as this recording proves, deserve to stand on their own and receive the recognition for what they are - fine theatre songs. The songs are from shows that didn't do well or were dropped before the show made it to the stage. Among the finest of these is "Meadowlark" from Stephen Shwartz's 'The Baker's Wife' and "Dreamers" from 'Jean Seberg' by Marvin Hamlisch.

The voice is Sarah Brightman's and it's a wonderful recording with lush orchestrations. Although her voice is still young, it is suitably mature to do the songs justice and she brings a warmth to the numbers.

if anyone is curious about the lesser known songs of the theatre world, this is the best place to start.

Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £11.76

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bernadette Peters' Star Performance, 25 Oct. 2006
Across the Atlantic there is one name that is synonomous with Musicals. Bernadette Peters. She is possibly the greatest singer/actress in this genre, and she transcends boundaries with her astounding career of Theatre, Television and albeit, mostly awful, films. But it is on the stage that she is obviously most comfortable and this recording (along with the recent Sondheim etc etc) portrays the frizzy haired troubador at her best. The interpretations of some of the finest Theatre songs are truly beautiful to listen to and she exhudes a humour and sweetness that just captures you. She's not afraid of the unfamiliar either. A concert performance made almost entirely of Sondheim songs may be 'Some People's' (pun intended) nightmare, but the seamless blend of familiar Sondheim with the rich textures of some of his most complex pieces (Move On, for example) enrich a night which perhaps would not have succeeded so well with another performer. 'Being Alive' is her tour de force and there are some interesting surprises too. She perhaps doesn't quite snatch 'Sooner or later' from Madonna's clutches but it is a remarkable rendition nonetheless, if not different! If you love theatre, buy it - you won't regret it. Listen to how Sondheim should be sung and don't forget to enjoy the non-Sondheim stuff too!

Sweeney Todd in Concert [DVD] [2001]
Sweeney Todd in Concert [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Patti LuPone

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Attend The Tale Of Sweeney Todd, 6 Oct. 2006
This Stephen Sondheim classic gets its concert performance in 2001 starring Patti LuPone and George Hearn. Sweeney Todd is one of Sondheim's most alluring pieces and this DVD is a fantastic account of this remarkable show. Performances are strong (though LuPone's London accent is very nasal) and there is some fantastic work from the supporting cast. Lisa Vroman sings beautifully and there is a great performance from Neil Patrick Harris (the guy from 'How I Met Your Mother). The Japanese-esque costumes befit a concert performance where character costumes may have looked quite odd. Mix in a remarkable orchestra and you have a real delight worth watching over and over.

The DVD has interviews with the company as bonus features and the liner notes in the sleeve are informative and interesting. If you love musical theatre, or indeed if you love music, this comes highly recommended.

Back to Broadway
Back to Broadway
Price: £4.63

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good listen, not as good as the other broadway album., 25 Sept. 2006
This review is from: Back to Broadway (Audio CD)
Streisand has managed to create a place for herself in the world of music almost purely on her voice. And what a voice it is! Her loathing of live performances perhaps makes this album an oddity - what right does a singer who hasn't been on the stage in a musical since the 60s have to release an album of show songs. Well why not? After all, it is perhaps homage to her early career, or perhaps because Streisand is able to sing these songs with the passion and electricity as a true stage performer (Elaine Paige or Bernadette Peters for example). The song list is interesting and there are some real delights on the disk. 'As If We Never Said Goodbye' is pure magic and the West Side Story selection is beautiful. There's a drawback though. 'Move On' is almost unrecognisable from it's original incarnation in the show 'Sunday In The Park With George' and her treatment of another Sondheim classic ('Children Will Listen') is just dire. The arrangement of 'Music Of The Night' is dreadful. Despite this, it's a good reference album if you are a musicals fanatic and her singing is constantly strong and polished, but this collection pales in comparison (but is a nice compliment) to her first effort - 'The Broadway Album'.

Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.34

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Album, 16 Sept. 2006
This review is from: Timeless (Audio CD)
Sarah Brightman is one of those rarities who has found fame in countries other than her own. Of course, British people remember her for her association with Lord Lloyd Webber, and those even older probably have a record single of 'I lost my heart to a starship trooper'. But this is an album that did considerably well on home ground, and rightly so.

From the opening bars to the ecstatic high notes of the final encore, the listener is taken on a musical journey, through a range of music styles, superbly orchestrated and arranged, and of course sung with the skill and unique style of Ms Brightman.

There are familiar songs (Queen and Gypsy Kings) and a range of interesting arrangements (Bilitis, En aranjuez con tu amor) which blend seamlessly into an audible dream.

Some bad diction in the opening song goes almost un-noticed thanks to the emotional intensity and of course, the rest of the beautiful songs on the album.

This is highly recommended and is especially relevant nearly 10 years since the recording thanks to the current thirst for crossover artists such as Katherine jenkins, Il Divo and G4. Crossover artists themsleves owe homage to this wonderful lady who perhaps started the trend.

The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera
Price: £16.92

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly a magnificent example of Musical Theatre, 11 Sept. 2006
Phantom of The Opera remains as enchanting today as it did 25 years ago. The original London cast is a gem and should find itself on every shelf of a Musicals fan. The real delight is hearing Sarah Brightman in one of her few Musicals roles. The work of Michael Crawford is strong and he glides through the role of the Phantom with romance whilst also retaining the sinister nuances of the character.

Sarah Brightman of course, is now a star in her own right, but she is truly the star of the show. After all, we must believe that the Phantom really does fall in love with her voice. And he does. And we all do. The voice of young(er) Sarah Brightman is shrill and almost boy-like and it is this quality which cements her assumption of the role. She sings at least 3 times more than any other character and is pure joy. When you have a composer composing songs specifically for your voice it's impossible not to sing your best, and this recording proves this.

Michael Crawford and Steve Barton sing beautifully and the final trio for Christine Raoul and the Phantom is absolutely gorgeous. Far superior to the film cast in my opinion, but both recordings are a must for Phantom fans and Musicals fans everywhere!

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