The Sound Of Music 1981 London Cast Recording
Import, Cast Recording
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The Sound Of Music (1981 London Cast Recording)
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Audio CD, Cast Recording, Import, March 11, 2011
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Digitally remastered edition of this original London Cast recording of the 1981 production starring Petula Clark. Making its CD debut after almost 30 years, this essential recording brings together all of Rodgers & Hammerstein's original songs - the first time for a stage production. This cast recording was also the first to be recorded digitally and co-stars Michael Jayston as Captain von Trapp and Honor Blackman as the Baroness. Petula Clark was nominated for "Actress Of The Year" for her performance and such was the success of Ross Taylor's (King And I) production that it was entered in the Guinness Book Of Records for the highest attendance in a single week. This unique collection also features two bonus tracks taken from the original Epic single issued to promote the stage show.
Top customer reviews
Ross Taylor's production was also the first to incorporate "I Have Confidence" and "Something Good", the songs written for the film, into the stage version. Looking at the photos inside the CD booklet, it's obvious that Taylor owes even greater debt to Robert Wise's Academy-Award winning film version. For her part, Petula Clark (at age forty-something) doubted she was right for the role of young, free-spirit Maria; nor was she anxious to follow Julie Andrews. Therefore, she gives a highly individualistic interpretation, especially in terms of her musical phrasing. Conductor Cyril Ornadel essentially gives her pop music arrangements (as opposed to theatre orchestrations), which she was obviously comfortable with. Petula gives the title song a "diva power" ending. This was no doubt thrilling to those who saw her in the theatre, but I think it is inappropriate for the character. Maria should not suddenly become a diva in the hills because Petula Clark wishes to show off her "amazing" vocal skills.
Petula and the production received rave reviews. The real Maria Von Trapp declared Taylor's production the best version of "The Sound Of Music" ever. Maria told the London newspapers, "This is how I want to see The Sound Of Music."
As noted in "The Guiness Book Of World Records", Taylor's production also made history by playing to 101% of theatre capacity in late October, 1981. Petula Clark's initial six-month contract was quickly extended. When that contract ended (after a total 13 month run), Taylor decided to close the production rather than continue without Petula. No matter, because "The Sound Of Music" had become "The Sound Of Success" all over again.
The Children on this recording sound "oh so veddy British" (almost Cockney in some spots), but what else should be expected on a London Cast Recording? The wonderful Michael Jayston (as Captain Von Trapp) can't really sing, but he doesn't do much singing here. This recording is curiously lacking in several important aspects. The Captain's important Reprise of "The Sound Of Music" with the Children is omitted. "No Way To Stop It", an important number for the characters of Max, Elsa, and The Captain, is gone. And the Laendler Dance between Maria and the Captain , which is included on most "Sound Of Music" Cast Albums, is omitted here. "A Bell Is No Bell", an added duet between Petula Clark and June Bromhill (which was apparently exclusive to Taylor's production) should have been omitted instead.
I'm also removing another star from my review for June Bromhill's screeching rendition of "Climb Every Mountain", which sounds like nails on a chalkboard. Instead of sounding inspired by God, one of Rodgers and Hammerstein's most inspirational songs is God-Awful!! Bonus tracks include Petula's solo recording of "Edelweiss." Also included is a pop song written and performed by Petula titled "Darkness Is Kind", which is glaringly out of place here. Otherwise, the sentimental charms of "The Sound Of Music" remain intact on this recording.
After listening to this CD again, I changed the review I initially posted, and now give an overall rating of 3 Stars out of 5.