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The Story So Far.. Box set

15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, September 30, 2008
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$33.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 4 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From West Side Story and Gypsy to Into the Woods and The Frogs , here's the first set to cross the whole career of Broadway's foremost living composer/lyricist! Along the way you'll dig into a treasure chest of unreleased tracks (33 including 12 performed by Sondheim, pieces from eight un-produced shows and films, songs cut from Company, Into the Woods, A Little Night Music and more) plus Everything's Coming Up Roses Ethel Merman; Comedy Tonight Zero Mostel; A Parade in Town Angela Lansbury; (If You Can Find Me) I'm Here Anthony Perkins; I'm Still Here Carol Burnett; Children Will Listen Bernadette Peters; Finishing the Hat Mandy Patinkin, and more. The visuals and stories in the 80-page book top off a loving tribute to this titan of the Tonys.

Stephen Sondheim’s career is so rich that trying to encompass it on a mere four discs seems like a tall order. This satisfying set tries to please both newbies (the first three discs propose an overview of the master’s career via excerpts from all of his shows) and hardcore fans (the fourth disc sheds some light on lesser-known corners of Sondheim’s oeuvre). Of course, the individual selections won’t please everybody (Sunday in the Park with George gets one song while Evening Primrose and Into the Woods get four each?) but at least there are clear curatorial decisions. For instance, disc 2 covers only four shows—Company, Follies, A Little Night Music and Pacific Overtures—and clearly puts them up as Sondheim’s iconic works. Disc 4 is incredibly fun, maybe because a lot of the material is new to us. Highlights include "Truly Content" from 1962’s Passionella, excerpts from Sondheim’s superb Jazz Age–style score for Alain Resnais’ 1974 movie Stavisky, and not one but four previously unreleased tracks from Dick Tracy. The physical set comes with a nice booklet that includes, among other things, an essay by Sondheim expert Mark Eden Horowitz and the lyrics of the previously unreleased songs. -- Elisabeth Vincentelli

Disc: 1
1. America
2. Tonight
3. Gee, Officer Krupke
4. Everything's Coming Up Roses
5. Comedy Tonight
See all 20 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Another Hundred People
2. The Ladies Who Lunch
3. Being Alive
4. Happily Ever After
5. Waiting for the Girls Upstairs
See all 19 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. The Ballad of Sweeney Todd
2. Green Finch and Linnet Bird
3. A Little Priest
4. The Worst Pies in London
5. Not a Day Goes By
See all 19 tracks on this disc
Disc: 4
1. I Must Be Dreaming
2. The Two of You
3. Class
4. Love's a Bond
5. In the Movies
See all 24 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Composer: Stephen Sondheim
  • Audio CD (September 30, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Masterworks Broadway / Legacy
  • ASIN: B001EKH09E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,511 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Michael Hampton on November 2, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Story So Far is a great collection of highlights from Sondheim shows, with alternate tracks, demos, and cut songs thrown in. If you don't already have at least one recording of a production of a show, then this collection is great. As someone who has, for example, the Original New York, The New York Revival, and London recordings of Into The Woods, I obviously collect Sondheim, and other, recordings. This duplication of material on other discs is abit repetitious. The recording proclaims all of these rare recordings, but many of the Sondheim recordings of his own he released on two CDs, and the Evening Primrose collection already came out on a disc of its own, so they're not that much obscurity there. All of the truly "unreleased" material could have been packaged as one CD, and perhaps sold as a companion to the excellent book content that was prepared for this compilation. The photos, stories, and information in the book is a treasure, and that, expanded, would be worth the purchase. Overall, the package oversells itself by including so many already available songs.
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55 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Jenny Lens on October 12, 2008
Format: Audio CD
"If they asked me, I could write a book . . ." oops, wrong songwriter. But that's the way I feel about Sondheim. Back in 1971 a college pal took me to see "Company" in LA. Thus began my life-long love affair with Sondheim. I am proud to say I saw "Follies" in LA back then too!

I own most of the available CDs (shows and compilations). I put "The Story So Far" into my refurbished, just purchased iPod. (I also created a whole playlist with just Sondheim's work.)

I cried, laughed, sang along for hours today, while riding buses and walking in downtown Santa Monica, doing errands. I feel as if I'm with my best friend, the wisest, wittiest person in the world.

I truly love the alternative versions to his songs. Really shows you the work he puts into his creations. So many settle for "whatev" these days. His craftsmanship, integrity, and pure genius shines through in this compilation.

The packaging is very elegant as well: clean layouts, large photos, beautiful cover, easy to read. I love the behind-the-scenes photos, capturing so many moods of his expressive face, which perfectly match his work. He is truly like wine: his face becomes more beautiful and interesting as the years pass by.

My only complaint is overlooking "Everybody Says Don't" from "Anyone Can Whistle." It's an amazingly life-affirming, courageous song, written in 1964, during a very turbulent climate of radical social change and dissent. I prefer Jerry Herman's "Before the Parade Passes By" from "Hello Dolly" to Sondheim's "A Parade in Town." Both musicals released the same year.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tom on January 1, 2009
Format: Audio CD
It's hard to believe it's taken this long for a box set covering the career of composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim to be compiled. Sondheim is no doubt one of the greatest composers of our time. There are so many great scores -- Into the Woods, Follies, Company, Assassins, Sweeney Todd, and so many more. This compilation offers a sampling from all of Sondheim's shows, and this is where my main criticism of this compilation lies: what songs should have been featured versus the ones that are included.

I think the purpose of this compilation is a bit unfocused. Yes, its objective is to cover Sondheim's illustrious career. But it's unclear if this collection is aimed at Sondheim enthusiasts or casual Sondheim fans looking to delve more into his catalogue. Perhaps I am in between -- I like Sondheim's music but I don't know all of his scores, and would like to learn more. On one hand, this collection covers all of his shows, but some shows (ie. Merrily We Roll Along) only get one song, while others get four (ie. Into the Woods). But I wasn't fully satisfied. Although I like Sondheim's music, I don't own a lot of it. So, unlike others who have purchased this collection and already own the individual scores, I was hoping to get a large sampling of Sondheim's career without buying the individual scores. I see no reason why songs like "Somewhere", "Rose's Turn", "Everybody Says Don't", "Putting It Together", "Pretty Women", "Johanna", and "Move On" were not included. In fact, those songs are some of Sondheim's most famous compositions. So, not having them makes this compilation feel incomplete, even if they have been included on other compilations.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Terence R. Fuerst on October 27, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Packaging was poorly designed with nothing holding the booklet in the folder. Many of the recordings are songs from different plays which you probably already have on the cast albums. His writing is excellent as expected but his voice will surely grate on you after a while. Contains many old, original recordings which were never previously released in which he sang and played piano. Would LOVE to hear professional singers perform the songs. This is a "must" for serious collectors of Sondheim.
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