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My Fair Lady Original recording remastered, Extra tracks

4.9 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

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My Fair Lady
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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, Extra tracks, October 4, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A mere ten days after the opening of My Fair Lady on Broadway, Julie Andrews, Rex Harrison and the newly formed cast met Columbia Records legendary Goddard Lieberson at studio to make this landmark recording. [Note: This product is an authorized CD-R and is manufactured on demand]

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The 2,700 performances of Lerner and Loewe's musical adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion gracefully spanned the Eisenhower and Camelot eras, then begat a wildly popular film version, whose 1965 Best Picture Oscar capped the show's decade of prominence. The crowning achievement of Lerner and Loewe's rich body of work began its recording life on this 1956 cast recording, a collection of performances that long ago became a ubiquitous and indispensable fixture of American musical theater. Indeed, it's hard to imagine anyone else but Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison in the roles of the cockney Eliza Doolittle and her long-suffering mentor, Henry Higgins, delivering definitive versions of the show's embarrassment of riches: "Why Can't the English?," "Wouldn't It Be Loverly," "The Rain in Spain," "I Could Have Danced All Night," and "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face." This new edition offers a digitally burnished take of the already glorious recording, now supplemented with a post-recording conversation track featuring Harrison, Andrews, Lerner, conductor Franz Allers, and original producer Goddard Lieberson, as well as a 1961 audio interview with Lerner and Loewe. --Jerry McCulley
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 4, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered, Extra tracks
  • Label: Sony Classical / Columbia / Legacy/ Columbia Broadway Masterworks
  • Run Time: 64 minutes
  • ASIN: B000067AS1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,558 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The original Broadway cast album of MY FAIR LADY is a mandatory disc in every self-respecting musical fan's collection. It captures the cast at the top of their game, and Julie Andrews at the peak of her Broadway career. Her voice is sparkling and effervescent, with Rex Harrison as a thrilling Higgins and Stanley Holloway a delight as Eliza's erstwhile father Alfred P. Doolittle. The monaural sound is warm and lush in Columbia's best style. This newest remaster of the album sounds better than ever. By the time the London cast album was recorded 4 years later (to take advantage of the new stereo format), a tired feeling had crept into Julie Andrews' singing (or perhaps boredom), so the Broadway edition is the format of choice, despite the technical limitations of the mono mix.
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Format: Audio CD
Earlier, I had written a review of the 1959 London Cast Stereo recording of "MY FAIR LADY." Many amazon.com customers seem to prefer the original Broadway Cast recording to the later London Stereo LP. I'm such a "Fair Lady" fan, I have both discs. The disc I'm reviewing here is a Gold Disc with an extra Bonus Track. Columbia Records president Goddard Lieberson conducts post-recording interviews with Rex Harrison, Julie Andrews, lyricists Alan Lerner and conducter Franz Allers. Liberson states that "FAIR LADY" is "possibly the most successful musical of this (20th) Century." He got that right! Here, you hear Rex Harrison give a full out performance, when he was still excited by the material and everything was fresh and new. Boredom set in afterwards. Harrison growls and grunts his way through Higgins' songs on the London Cast Album, and in the 1964 film version (for which he received an Academy Award), Harrison couldn't be more listless, static, and boring; giving a one-note "phoned in" performance. Much better than Harrison, in any case, is Julie Andrews; then on the brink of her brilliant career. She is best at full fire and music, exploding with fury and rage in "Just You Wait! " and "Show Me." Simply put, Julie Andrews is the best Eliza Doolittle of all time. Added to all this is a delightful dash of Stanley Holloway. For pure freshness and vitality, you can't beat this original recording of MY FAIR LADY. And the Post-Recording interviews make this an irresistable treat, not that everything else wasn't enough!
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Format: Audio CD
I have to agree with Mr. McCatain and others in saying that the ORIGINAL Broadway cast album of "My Fair Lady" is much better than the London cast album, and that it must be one of the best original cast albums ever made. The sound is so clear you can't tell for a minute that it's in mono. (What mono?) But the main difference is that, because the orchestrations are much faster, the performers have to be much more "structured" than they were in the stereo London recording. As a result, their performances are much better. Rex Harrison talks his lyrics more here than in London, and his performance is that much sharper as a result. As wonderful as she always sounds, Julie Andrews never has sounded quite like this again; her voice is so much brighter, fresher, and all-around better than in London. Stanley Holloway is, quite simply, wonderful. John Michael King, while obviously American and not British, is a much better singer than the London Freddy, Leonard Weir. Because the performers were so much more laid-back in London, (Perhaps they were a little too used to their roles by that time) the wonderful Loewe score really took center stage on that recording, which certainly isn't a bad thing. But the performers (and Lerner's great lyrics) are the show here, and they really do have, in the words of another reviewer, a "zip and zing of discovery" that you just won't find in London or probably any other recording of this show. Must certainly be one of the, if not THE, must-have in any music, musical, or theatre lover's collection.
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Format: Audio CD
We are fortunate to have this solid-platinum masterpiece back. We are doubly fortunate given the great Goddard Lieberson's rare lack of foresight to record it right away in stereo. Perhaps he did consider it and figured it was too much trouble, but it would have been eminently worth it. Then again, among this album's manifold virtues is excellent mono sound.

It was possible -- RCA and British Decca recorded commercially in stereo from 1954; but Columbia seems not to have started in stereo at all until November, 1956, and then haltingly, in binaural, on Lieberson's "Li'l Abner" cast album (and only on two orchestral tracks, until recently unreleased). In December he produced Leonard Bernstein's "Candide" in separate mono and two-track stereo takes,* followed by "Bells Are Ringing" in two-track. In 1959 he did record "My Fair Lady" in stereo -- an "identical" London cast album. Happily both recordings coexisted peacefully on record-store racks until the end of the dual-format era in the late sixties, when CBS decided London was better. Sony showed its love for the Broadway cast album by issuing a slapdash hard-to-find CD sometime around 1988, followed by one of those absurdly expensive gold-plated Mastersound discs which the company used to avoid fixing its back catalog, and whose cost it justified by adding the first of the two current bonus tracks. A preposterous internecine fight over control of the company's cast albums further delayed a good reasonably-priced reissue.

Finally, in 2002, it arrived -- a beautiful, sensitive remastering. Probably most of us last heard this album as I did, in a kitchen on a portable tube-type manual phono. To behold this on a good stereo wipes away whatever idea you had that you'd heard it too often.
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