Sunday, August 21, 2005

New recording of original Sondheim demos

Because this blog deals with sound recordings, I'm going to be doing some selective reviews when I encounter albums that *pop* out at me. Besides, I'm in this business for the music and the chance to listen to recordings, not just catalog and preserve them. While I was perusing a local book and music superchain store today, I listened to a good bit of this record:

Sondheim, Stephen. Sondheim Sings Vol. 1, 1962-72. Stephen Sondheim, piano and vocals. P.S. Classics PS9529, p2005. Compact disc.

Love Is In The Air
Pretty Little Picture
Truly Content
Multitudes Of Amys
Miracle Song
The Lame, The Halt And The Blind
The Glamorous Life
Everybody Ought To Have A Maid
Don't Look At Me
Pleasant Little Kingdom
Everybody Says Don't
Losing My Mind
Broadway Baby
Anyone Can Whistle
A Hero Is Coming
No, Mary Ann
Marry Me A Little
Send In The Clowns

Sondheim Sings is a compilation of previously unreleased demos of Stephen Sondheim singing and playing songs from his many shows, some popular and some obscure. Although Sondheim's voice is not the main artistic attraction here, this album is a living testament to what this composer does for his livelihood. On many tracks he half-sings, half-directs the characters and their actions. This is most effective in his performance of "The Glamorous Life" from A Little Night Music. There are also some songs that never made it onto a cast album before (to my knowledge), including "A Multitude of Amys" from Company. I also found his rendition of "Love is in the Air" quite charming, and am very sorry I've never heard the Invocation (from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) before.

No, his voice may not be great, but he can sing well enough to convey what his songs are supposed to sound like. It's always a pleasure when this sort of raw audio hits the commercial market, because you get to see the process a lot clearer. Or should I say, "art isn't easy." If you enjoy unrehearsed, unproduced archival recordings [i.e. the real thing], you'll find this album a real treat.


Post a Comment

<< Home