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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Bernstein: West Side Story
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£11.07+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 7 October 2017
This is the “operatic” recording which is great in many respects but on some occasions Carreras struggles to get out the words, there is an interesting documentary showing the recording of this and Bernstein’s frustration with him is palpable at times, but in the main it’s a phenomenal recording
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on 26 April 2017
It has replaced an original box tape, which had a tape missing. Pleased to have it back in my collection.
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on 22 May 2017
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on 7 May 2013
Don't waste time listening to other recordings of this great Musical, get this one and hear all the songs in wonderful widescreen technicolour ! Really the songs on this recording have depth, texture and feeling, but you would expect that with quality of the performers, both singers and the orchestra involved. These qualities are sadly lacking on other versions i have heard.
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on 26 June 2013
Our choir are singing some of the music from West Side Story at the moment and this has helped me practise.
The CD reminds me of the rehearsals Leonard Bernstein had with Kiri de Kanawa and Jose Carreras and how he demanded perfection from them both.
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on 16 May 2012
Leonard Bernstein's recording of his "West Side Story" is brilliant. The soloist are fantastic and orchestra plays clear and beautiful.
Kiri te Kanawa is good Maria, but not the best. She sings lovely, but something is wrong. She use vibrato, what is little bad thing - "West Side Story" is musical, no opera! Jose Carreras is excellent Tony and Kurt Ollmann is good Riff - but his voice is no "jazzy". More articulations, please!
Marilyn Horne sings "Somewhere" and I love this piece - she sings very beautiful. Leonard Bernstein is brilliant conductor - "Mambo" and "Prologue" are fantastic. By the way, excellent job!

CDs info:

Based on a conception of Jerome Robbins

Book by Arthur Laurents
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Maria.......................................................KIRI TE KANAWA
Tony........................................................JOSE CARRERAS
Anita.......................................................TATIANA TROYANOS
Riff..........................................................KURT OLLMANN
and MARILYN HORNE sings "Somewhere"



Orchestra and Chorus conducted by LEONARD BERNSTEIN


1. Prologue (4'05)
2. Jet Song (3'11)
3. Something's coming (2'32)
4. Blues (1'45)
5. Promenade (0'27)
6. Mambo (2'23)
7. Cha-Cha (0'53)
8. Meeting Scene (1'27)
9. Jump (0'50)
10. Maria (2'56)
11. Balcony Scene (7'29)
12. America (4'48)
13. Cool (4'36)
14. One hand, one heart (Marriage Scene) (5'38)
15. Tonight (3'40)
16. The Rumble (3'03)
17. I Feel Pretty (3'22)
18. Ballet Sequence (1'05)
19. Transition to Scherzo (0'38)
20. Scherzo (1'31)
21. Somewhere (2'37)
22. Procession and Nightmare (3'13)
23. Gee, officer Krupke (4'20)
24. Boy like that (2'05)
25. I have a love (3'30)
26. Taunting Scene (1'27)
27. Finale (2'36)

Total Time: n. 77 min.

Recorded at the RCA Studios on 4, 5, 6, 7 September 1984
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on 17 November 1999
Wow. This recording will blow you away! Chuck out any broadway versions you own, and just listen to this one. Jose Carreras' Tony is gorgeous, rich, full, and very pleasant to listen to (probably the famous tenor's best recording!) As for Kiri Te Kanawa's Maria...it's sublime, sexy, rich, beautiful and full of personality. Their duets are simply out of this world. Troyanos is wonderful and her mezzo voice blends beautifully with everyone else. The whole cast is well chosen, and of course, conducted by the extraordainary composer himself. The famous chorus 'America' is beautifully done, the duet 'One hand, one heart' brings tears to my eyes everytime I hear it, and 'I feel pretty' is alot of fun. Any faults in the recording? Carreras is halting and unclear at times with his diction, but that's all I have to pick on...not a big deal, considering the rest makes for a perfect recording. Buy it, you won't regret it! :)
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on 15 August 2005
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 singers 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 the play. And what's good enough for Leonard Bernstein certainly works for me!
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on 16 January 2016
When this recording first appeared it was maligned in certain quarters. Penny in the slot reviews said that Carreras and Te Kanawa were too operatic. Some missed the point that much of this score is operatic...Maria..Tonjght...A Boy Like That. These are superbly sung melodies given sumptuous treatment. Those who have seen the DVD of Bernstein rehearsing and recording the cast will know he had problems with Carreras whose accent is rarely lost,especially in the rapid fire of Something Coming. Bernstein clearly adored Te Kanawa, asking her to record specially her own version of Somewhere , which unfortunately is not an extra here, possibly so as not to offend Marilyn Horne. The orchestra is electrifying ( sorry, Tilson Thomas) everywhere . The lighter numbers, America and Gee Officer Krupke fizz along. I've taken off a star because Carreras is not always in character but the quality of his voice is not in doubt.
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on 26 April 2013
First rate music, first rate soloists.
A real treat to hear Bernstein' masterpiece directed by the master himself.
A MUST HAVE for all music lovers.

We listen to this again & again.
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