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West Side Story (1961 Film Soundtrack) Soundtrack, Original recording remastered

4.7 out of 5 stars 180 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Soundtrack, Original recording remastered, November 24, 1992
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

West Side Story ~ West Side Story (1961 Film Soun

Leonard Bernstein's musical update of Romeo and Juliet, with a young Stephen Sondheim's brilliant lyrics, had already galvanized Broadway with its vivid reinvention as a parable of racial intolerance and generational conflict. But director Robert Wise's lavish widescreen presentation broke fresh ground by taking the story to its most impressionable audience, the teenagers who could identify directly with Tony and Maria, and opened up Jerome Robbins's kinetic choreography through bravura camera work. The original soundtrack album was not merely a huge seller but a unique touchstone for an otherwise rock-oriented audience, and its release on CD benefits from an expanded program untenable in its initial LP release, as well as a 20-bit digital transfer. With Richard Beymer, Marni Nixon (Hollywood's vocal doppelgänger of choice, here standing in for Natalie Wood), and Rita Moreno dominating, the show's bounty of terrific songs and exciting instrumental pieces remains an ear-filling treat, mixing operatic passions, tart social commentary, and high comedy. From "Tonight" to "One Hand, One Heart," "America" to "Jet Song," this is a landmark in American musical theatre and film beautifully realized on disc. --Sam Sutherland

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Overture
  2. Prologue
  3. Jet Song
  4. Something's Coming
  5. Dance At The Gym
  6. Maria
  7. America
  8. Tonight
  9. Gee, Officer Krupke
  10. I Feel Pretty
  11. One Hand, One Heart
  12. Quintet
  13. The Rumble
  14. Somewhere
  15. Cool
  16. A Boy Like That/I Have A Love
  17. Finale
  18. End Credits

Product Details

  • Performer: Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno
  • Composer: Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim
  • Audio CD (November 24, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony Masterworks
  • Run Time: 152 minutes
  • ASIN: B0000027WF
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,102 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Most people are trying to choose between this (the movie soundtrack) and the Original Broadway Cast recording. I am here outlining the principal differences between these two CDs.

1) The movie soundtrack contains the entire Dance at the Gym sequence, some of the best music in West Side Story. PLUS there is an absolutely tremendous trumpet player who takes an extended solo in the Mambo that has to be heard to be believed. It's not in the music, so you won't find it anywhere but here. The Original Broadway Cast recording starts at the second half of the Mambo, and leaves out the Blues number entirely (among others).
[Edit 11/17/2005: I recently learned that trumpet player's name is Uan Rasey. He is the same guy who plays on lots of old movie soundtracks, including An American In Paris and Chinatown.]

2) Jim Bryant (on the movie soundtrack) goes up to this great high note at the end of Something's Coming that Larry Kert does not attempt in the Broadway recording. Again, not in the music, but amazing.

3) The movie version of America, pitting the Sharks against their girlfriends, is far superior.

4) The movie's Prologue has been revised, and now includes the "Cool" theme as well as *most* of the original material. The two themes are interwoven in an interesting way. But you do lose a couple of great moments from the original...

5) There is no ballet sequence in the movie! Very unfortunate.

6) Much of the singing is done more musically in the Broadway Cast recording, by Larry Kert and Carol Lawrence; pay attention to their diction and phrasing, it's no contest.

7) Many of the songs (e.g. Cool) were reorchestrated for the movie, adding things like electric guitar and bass, and they're a little tacky.
Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
Having grown up on the original Broadway cast recording, I was skeptical about the movie soundtrack, but its musical direction is impeccable and turning "America" into a boys v. girls number is inspired. The cd's addition of previously unreleased dance music makes the experience more complete. Even Bernstein's own recording with his hand-picked cast (Te Kanawa, Carreras, etc.) can't match the vivacity and excitement of the soundtrack. Bravo to all!
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Format: Audio CD
I bought this assuming it would restore all the material cut for the LP, but was saddened to find it didn't. The same cut in the "Prologue" that was made for the LP appears here - about a minute. So one of Bernstein's nicer themes is never heard on the CD or LP.
There is new material, but a lot of it has dialogue over it! Who wants to listen to dialogue scenes over and over again? Bad decision.
Finally, it's nice to see Marni Nixon and Jim Bryant get their proper credit, but Betty Wand did >not< sing "America" or the "Quintet" - those are both Rita Moreno, who has a great voice but couldn't sing "A Boy Like That" since it was below her range. So let's credit the shadow-singers, but let's not get carried away!
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By A Customer on May 12, 2003
Format: Audio CD
"West Side Story" features some of the greatests music ever to reach both the stage and the big screen. Leonard Bernstein's incredible score and Stephen Sondheim's wonderful lyrics are what make both the play and the film memorable.
Hands down, this recording from the film is the best of all recordings for several reasons.
1. Almost all of the music Bernstien wrote is available on this disc. This CD includes the Overture, the complete "Dance at the Gym" with the Blues, Mambo, and Jump that was missing from the LP release, the underscore for the "Rumble" sequence, and the "Finale" that underscores Tony's funeral procession. The only major piece that is missing is the "Ballet" sequence.
2. The orchestra plays the songs at reasonable tempos that are neither grudgingly slow nor lightning fast. Conductor Johnny Green knew what he was doing when he slowed the "Mambo" down from the original Broadway release; in the Broadway version, the "Mambo" is finished in less than 2 minutes!!!
3. In the movie, "America" features both the male and female Sharks; in the Broadway version, only the girls are in the song. With new lyrics and the guys, "America" is a much more memorable piece than it was before.
4. Finally, the music was re-orchestrated for the better. The orchestra sounds fuller and more powerful than in the Broadway release.
If you have any choice, buy the movie version; it is far superior to any other release. Or, buy both the movie and the Broadway versions, but stay away from any others. Only the originals are worth owning.
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Format: Audio CD
This version far exceeds the Broadway soundtrack in that it contains tighter orchestrations and, in my opinion, better voicing. (Although I'll never understand why Rita Moreno was dubbed.) The "Overture" is one of the best tracks, included after absence from the original album. Here, the "Jet Song" excels, as does "Gee, Officer Krupke," in all its insane comic glory. "America" is a fun romp here, with almost completely different lyrics and vocal arrangement. "Cool" is much jazzier, and "A Boy Like That" has a dynamic arrangement, much stronger than the Broadway version, that really works wonders with the song, but the wonderful part where Anita's "A Boy Like That" is sung simultaneously with Maria's "I Have a Love" is cut--a big mistake. The "Dance at the Gym" track is alone worth the cost of the CD. The "Blues," "Mambo," and "Jump" numbers are better here than on any other recording. "Blues" really swings, and you can immediately tell that the film's use of a Latin/jazz band for the "Mambo" instead of the usual orchestra makes the song much more enjoyable, along with a more tense, fiery arrangement that is thankfully slowed down a bit. The "Tonight" Quintet is the best track, overpowering and knocking down any other version that dares to challenge it. My biggest problem with this soundtrack is all the ambient noise. One gets the impression that several of the tracks were never recorded in the studio, so they were recorded directly from the film's sound reel.Read more ›
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