Top critical review
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the show's great....but the orchestrations kill it!
on 5 April 2002
Well, to start with the positive aspects, it has a fine booklet that, even though it does not contain a synopsis, got a full libretto in it. the actors and singers do a good job, and Mr.Pryce's interpretation of henry higgins is quite interesting too. On top of that the show is probably the best musical ever written. now the less positive issues: The orchestrations in the attempt to revive and modernize the sound of the music fail totally. trying to have it sounding rather like musical than operetta, it now sounds completely like an operetta, since nearly everything of the rather upbeat and brassy original orchestrations has been taken out. Plus: it is well known, that recordings should be paced a bit faster than the original show, but here songs that normally sound fresh and a bit swinging now sound like a great big muddle of string sounds (as for instance "wouldn't it ..." or "i could have ..."). they nearly got the wrong pace all the time - it mostly shows at "get me to the church..." where the original theatre tempo is of course above the tempo of the movie. not here: it sometimes appears even slower! and the upbeat march tempo that it should have is reached alas only at the very end. I don`t understand either why most of the percussion has been removed from the score. well....all after all: if you know other recordings and if you would like to hear something new about this show, then i would actually recommend it. but to those who didn`t listen to the score before: i wouldn't start with this recording, because you might get a totally wrong impression about this as a musical ( you might think it's been written in the nineteenth century)...