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Customer Review

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cabaret out of the closet!, July 26, 2001
This review is from: Cabaret (1999 Studio Cast) (First Complete Recording) (Audio CD)
Hi. You wonder why Earth is so popular? I think it is because there are recordings such as this around! And it is there I start my revue:
This version of �Cabaret� is a real special gem for Cabaret fans. It has a number of pushing and pulling factors. The C.D. is essentially utilising the original book, music, lyrics and orchestrations as conceived by the authors, performed on double C.D.
This Studio Cast has recorded the majority of the music featured in the original Vocal Score, including the much loved, and sometimes much missed Telephone Dance, Fruit Shop Dance and Sitting Pretty, despite missing a few incidentals but including Sally�s Revolt and the Break Up (with dialogue!). All of the music is in its original orchestrations and played by the National Symphony Orchestra; large and well rehearsed! They performed the technically difficult Telephone Dance and Sitting Pretty with great, noticeable enthusiasm, as well as the Kick Line being very good- sometimes throughout the C.D. there are uncertainties with the tempo. There was an over-exaggerated reverb throughout, although one gets used to the echo after a while!
I particularly wanted to buy this C.D., instead of the original Broadway version, because of the performers: Dame Judi Dench (playing Fraulein Schneider); the lyricist Fred Ebb (playing Herr Schultz); Maria Friedman (playing Sally Bowles but best known for �The Witches of Eastwick� and the �Joseph�� video); Jonathan Price (playing M.C.); Gregg Edelman (playing Cliff); and many other well-known faces!
Although I say that the performances were generally well-judged, I must admit that I was a little unsure of the standard of some of the singing, especially the Jewish shopkeeper with the broad American accent! At least he knows his words quite well! I was pleasantly surprised at Dame Judi�s performance. Although not a singer, her acting and accent are just perfect for the part and gains almost top marks (50 marks to be precise!). Some people say that Maria Friedman plays Sally a little over the top. I can�t help but notice that Friedman found some of her songs a little bit too hard to sing for her range and that she lost a lot of emotion in �Cabaret� itself. She plays her, in some places, over the top, yes, but I agree with some that this is how Sally is supposed to be. Her eccentric performance got me laughing!
Another reason why I bought this C.D. was because they included many bonus tracks. They added some of the �Cut Songs.� These include �Don�t Go� and �I Don�t Care Much.� They also added �Songs especially composed for the movie� (�Money, Money�, �Mein Herr�, �Maybe This Time� etc�) as well as a very interesting merge of �Sitting Pretty� and �Money, Money� as arranged for the 1987 revival. These being preformed, I think, by the Studio Cast. Excellent!
The written commentary with it is also interesting (simple yet detailed synopsis and information regarding the genesis of the show). The booklet also contains photos of the performers recording the C.D.
In summary: While singing isn�t admittedly the best, this package is a library of entertainment for the Cabaret fan especially, and would be advisable to buy if you, e.g. knew the performers and would like to take advantage of the bonus tracks and variety of music, as well as if you want a more up-to-date recording (1993-2000).
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Location: Berkshire, England, United Kingdom

Top Reviewer Ranking: 38,514,337