Albums

A Collector’s Sondheim

A Collector’s Sondheim

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  1. Disc 1
  2. 1. A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM – Comedy Tonight / Love Is in the Air (Millicent Martin, Julia McKenzie, David Kernan)
  3. 2. A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM – Pretty Little Picture (Bob Gunton, Liz Callaway, Steven Jacob)
  4. 3. A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM – The House of Marcus Lycus (George Hearn, Bob Gunton, Women)
  5. 4. A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM – There’s Something about a War (Cris Groenendaal, Men)
  6. 5. SATURDAY NIGHT – So Many People (Suzanne Henry, Craig Lucas)
  7. 6. THE LAST RESORTS – Pour le Sport (Suzanne Henry, Craig Lucas)
  8. 7. SATURDAY NIGHT – What More Do I Need? (Liz Callaway)
  9. 8. A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM / THE FROGS – Invocation and Instructions to the Audience (Bob Gunton, Company)
  10. 9. EVENING PRIMROSE – I Remember (David Kernan)
  11. 10. ANYONE CAN WHISTLE – There Won’t Be Trumpets (Lee Remick)
  12. 11. ANYONE CAN WHISTLE – With So Little to Be Sure Of (George Hearn, Victoria Mallory)
  13. 12. COMPANY – Marry Me a Little (Suzanne Henry)
  14. 13. COMPANY – Happily Ever After (Craig Lucas)
  15. 14. COMPANY – Being Alive (Judy Kaye)
  16. 15. FOLLIES – Beautiful Girls (David Kernan) / An, Paree! (Millicent Martin) / Buddy’s Blues (David Kernan, Millicent Martin, Julia McKenzie)
  17. 16. FOLLIES – Losing My Mind (Julia McKenzie)
  18. 17. FOLLIES – All Things Bright and Beautiful (Craig Lucas, Suzanne Henry)
  19. 18. FOLLIES – Uptown, Downtown (Craig Lucas)
  20. 19. FOLLIES – Too Many Mornings (David Kernan, Julia McKenzie)
  21. Disc 2
  22. 1. FOLLIES – You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow (Cris Groenendaal, Judy Kaye) / Love Will See Us Through (Steven Jacob, Liz Callaway)
  23. 2. FOLLIES – I’m Still Here (Millicent Martin)
  24. 3. FOLLIES – Who Could Be Blue? (Craig Lucas) / Little White House (Suzanne Henry)
  25. 4. FOLLIES – It Wasn’t Meant To Happen (Craig Lucas, Suzanne Henry)
  26. 5. FOLLIES – Can That Boy Foxtrot! (Suzanne Henry)
  27. 6. FOLLIES – Broadway Baby (Julia McKenzie)
  28. 7. FOLLIES – Could I Leave You? (David Kernan)
  29. 8. STAVISKY – Theme from Stavisky
  30. 9. STAVISKY – Auto Show
  31. 10. STAVISKY – Salon at the Claridge #2
  32. 11. A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC – Overture and Night Waltz
  33. 12. A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC – Two Fairy Tales (Suzanne Henry, Craig Lucas)
  34. 13. A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC – The Glamorous Life (Christine McKenna, Jean Simmons, John J. Moore, Chris Melville, Liz Robertson, David Bexon, Jacquey Chappell, Hermione Gingold)
  35. 14. A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC – The Glamorous Life (Elaine Tomkinson)
  36. 15. FOLLIES – Beautiful Girls (David Kernan) / An, Paree! (Millicent Martin) / Buddy’s Blues (David Kernan, Millicent Martin, Julia McKenzie)
  37. 16. A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC – In Praise of Women (David Kernan)
  38. 17. A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC – A Weekend in the Country (Diane Langton, Veronica Page, Joss Ackland, Maria Aitken, David Kernan, Terry Mitchell)
  39. 18. A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC – Liaisons (Hermione Gingold)
  40. 19. A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC – The Miller’s Son (Diane Langton)
  41. Disc 3
  42. 1. A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC – Night Waltz II
  43. 2. A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC – Send In the Clowns (Angela Lansbury)
  44. 3. THE FROGS – Fear No More (George Hearn)
  45. 4. PACIFIC OVERTURES – Someone in a Tree (James Dybas, Mako, Gedde Watanabe, Mark Hsu Syers)
  46. 5. PACIFIC OVERTURES – Please Hello (Alvin Ing, Yuki Shimoda, Ernest Harada, Mako, Patrick Kinser- Lau, Mark Hsu Syers, James Dybas)
  47. 6. THE SEVEN PERCENT SOLUTION – I Never Do Anything Twice (Millicent Martin)
  48. 7. SWEENEY TODD – Pretty Women (Len Cariou, Edmund Lyndeck, Victor Garber)
  49. 8. SWEENEY TODD – Epiphany (Len Cariou, Angela Lansbury)
  50. 9. SWEENEY TODD – A Little Priest (Angela Lansbury, Len Cariou)
  51. 10. MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG – Not a Day Goes By (Victoria Mallory)
  52. 11. MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG – It’s a Hit! (Jason Alexander, Jim Walton, Ann Morrison, Lonny Price)
  53. 12. MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG – Our Time (Jim Walton, Lonny Price, Ann Morrison, Company)
  54. 13. SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE – Children and Art (Bernadette Peters, Mandy Patinkin)
  55. 14. SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE – Move On (Bernadette Peters, Mandy Patinkin)
  56. 15. MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG – Old Friends (Stephen Sondheim, Angela Lansbury, Company)

Synopsis

[Thomas Z. Shepard, the producer of A Collector’s Sondheim, wrote this Foreword to the album:]

The material in this collection is based mostly upon my personal choice. These three discs encompass the creative periods in Stephen Sondheim’s professional life, although within a given disc there is not necessarily an effort to be strictly chronological. Each disc has been programmed for what I hope will prove to be an attractive and entertaining flow of material.

As a collector myself, somewhat steeped in Sondheim’s works, it is difficult to avoid being a little didactic in this presentation. If there are too many moral or instructive lessons herein, I apologize, and I will try to explain my rationale behind some of the choices.

The album begins not with one curtain-raiser but with two: the final and former openings of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Thereby the tone of this collection is set almost immediately: this is a compendium of material, some less well-known because it was cut from a show before opening night, and some that is simply irresistibly appealing. Throughout the set are examples of songs that did not function properly within the dramatic context of a show but that – when devoid of other contexts – stand apart as brilliant and beautiful or as expressions of character or as just gratuitous pieces of lyricism to be appreciated on their own terms.

This is also a collection that includes recorded material that has not been released before, e.g., “It’s a Hit!” from Merrily We Roll Along and Lee Remick’s “There Won’t Be Trumpets.” And I couldn’t resist the three finales of Company in a row. Perhaps only one worked in the show, but they all work here.

I was surprised to discover the wealth of Follies material extant on RCA. Much of it was written and discarded before the show reached New York. I put all of it into this collection and then added a touch of Stavisky to create musical “bookends” of “Who Could Be Blue?” and “Salon at the Claridge #2.”

Some material is here only because I love it; the English cast versions of “A Weekend in the Country” and “The Miller’s Son,” the Angela Lansbury (plus Sondheim) performances of “Send In the Clowns,” “Someone in a Tree,” and others. But then my need to “demonstrate” re-emerges, and so I have included several sexually suggestive (never explicit) songs like “Marcus Lycus,” “Liaisons,” and “I Never Do Anything Twice.” I also felt the urge (speaking of “Liaisons”) to point up, along with “Children and Art,” Sondheim’s several treatments of old women who combine the wisdom of a lifetime’s experience with the inevitable frailties of old age.

Sondheim’s lyric and dramatic points arise from a musical theater written for adults. Situations are motivated from experiences and emotions indigenous to an intelligent, passionate, and romantic cast of characters. His ingenues are rather arch and acerbic behind their surface sweetness – Anne, for example, in “Weekend.” His heroes – soldiers particularly – can be very brave and very stupid: Carl-Magnus, who turns love into war (“Bang”), and Miles Gloriosus, who makes war out of love (“Something About a War”). Characters often contradict themselves: they say one thing (which they may in fact momentarily believe) but perhaps mean something quite different. Does Fredericka really believe that she is happier because of an absentee mother? Does Ben love Sally? Did Ben ever love Sally?

With Follies we display Sondheim’s homage by imitation. “You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow” and “Love Will See Us Through” are affectionate tributes to Jerome Kern and Burton Lane with Ira Gershwin and E.Y. Harburg. “Losing My Mind” salutes George Gershwin and Dorothy Fields. In Pacific Overtures, “Please Hello” parodies the essence of Gilbert and Sullivan, Sousa, Offenbach, and any number of anonymous Russian composers.

Yet another theme seems irresistible and pervasive: the apparent richness and passion of the past contrasted with the bleakness or crassness of the present. This theme appears to be seminal to Sondheim’s choices of subject matter: it informs Evening Primrose, Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, and, most recently and poignantly, Sunday in the Park with George.

Speaking again of “follies,” one of mine was engendering the disco version of “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd.” I have never yet met anyone who would willingly dance to it, and it was a commercial disaster. But since I doubt that many people will dance their way through this album, here it is, slightly truncated for one’s listening pleasure.

The last few selections may, in their juxtaposition, provide the listener with a flow of songs pointing up the essence of Sondheim as creator: the lyrical beauty of “Our Time” almost segueing into a seriously arpeggiated “Children and Art” (as personal and touching a piece of material as I can imagine), followed by “Move On” and ending with Sondheim himself expressing his camaraderie and sense of continuity with friends and colleagues who came to participate with him at a special concert [at the Whitney Museum] in his honor.

Credits

Joss Ackland, Maria Aitken, David Bexon, Liz Callaway, Len Cariou, Jacquey Chappell, James Dybas, Victor Garber, Hermione Gingold, Gordon Grody, Cris Groenendaal, Bob Gunton, Ernest Harada, George Hearn, Suzanne Henry, Alvin Ing, Steven Jacob, Judy Kaye, David Kernan, Patrick Kinser-Lau, Diane Langton, Angela Lansbury, Craig Lucas, Edmund Lyndeck, Mako, Victoria Mallory, Millicent Martin, Christine McKenna, Julia McKenzie, Chris Melville, Terry Mitchell, John J. Moore, Ann Morrison, Veronica Page, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, Lonny Price, Lee Remick, Liz Robertson, Yuki Shimoda, Jean Simmons, Stephen Sondheim, Mark Hsu Syers, Elaine Tomkinson, Jim Walton, Gedde Watanabe