Albums

A Little Night Music – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 1978

A Little Night Music – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 1978

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  1. Disc 1
  2. 1. Overture / Night Waltz (Love Takes Time)
  3. 2. The Glamorous Life
  4. 3. Now / Soon / Later
  5. 4. You Must Meet My Wife
  6. 5. Every Day a Little Death
  7. 6. Night Waltz
  8. 7. A Weekend in the Country
  9. 8. It Would Have Been Wonderful
  10. 9. Send In the Clowns
  11. 10. Poor Old Frederick (previously unreleased)
  12. 11. Send In the Clowns (reprise) / Finale
  13. 12. BONUS TRACK: Every Day a Little Death (film version, previously unreleased, mono recording)
  14. 13. BONUS TRACK: Night Waltz (film version, previously unreleased, mono recording)
  15. 14. BONUS TRACK: End Credits (film version, previously unreleased, mono recording)

Synopsis

The scene is Vienna in the year 1905 when the Austro-Hungarian Empire still had a few years to live out its fantasy of a world remembered as confection and waltz. We are at the theater when the stage setting metamorphoses into reality, propelling us into the story of A Little Night Music.

The plot turns about the middle-aged Frederick Egerman (Len Cariou) and his teenage bride, Anne (Lesley-Anne Down), still a virgin after eleven months. Frederick is unable to see that Erich (Christopher Guard), his nineteen-year-old son by a previous marriage and a frustrated divinity student, is falling in love with her. When Frederick learns that the beautiful actress Desirée Armfeldt is appearing at a local theater, he and Anne attend her performance. Frederick and Desirée once had a memorable affair and now, fourteen years later, she spots him from the stage and plays directly to him. Anne senses something going on and leaves in a fit of jealousy. Memories of the past are too much for Frederick to resist, and he goes to Desirée’s hotel where they both discover that the intervening years have made no difference in the intensity of their feelings for each other. But they are interrupted by Desirée’s lover, Count Carl-Magnus Mittelheim (Laurence Guittard), the husband of Charlotte (Diana Rigg), who is also an old friend of Anne’s.

Desirée goes to the country estate of her wealthy mother Mme Armfeldt (Hermione Gingold), the mistress of kings and counts in her youth, and persuades her to invite the Egerman family for a weekend. But Count Mittelheim hears of the Egermans’ invitation and decides that he and Charlotte will join the group for the weekend. The count feels he must stop the reawakening romance between his mistress, Desirée, and Frederick; and Charlotte thinks she can turn the weekend to her advantage by making her husband jealous, solidifying their marriage.

There, at Mme Armfeldt’s estate, Erich tells Desirée ‘s young daughter Fredericka (Chloe Franks) of his love for Anne, but the child blurts this information to Anne. When Anne rushes out to find that the mortified Erich is trying to commit suicide, she realizes that it is he, not his father whom she loves, and they make plans to run away.

Moments later, the count is enraged when he sees his wife Charlotte and Frederick apparently embracing in the garden outside and in his fury challenges Frederick to a game of Russian roulette.

Desirée and Charlotte hear the shot, and the count appears, carrying Frederick. He is not hurt but only grazed by the bullet, and now as Desirée cares for him, they know that they are truly meant for each other as Charlotte and the count become reconciled to their own lives together.

The three couples are now matched as they should be, and the scene returns to the stage setting of the beginning. We now understand, more than before, the words of the aged Mme Armfeldt to her granddaughter, telling her to watch for the night to smile: “It smiles three times. First for the young, who know nothing; second, for the fools, who know too little; and third, for the old, who know too much.”

From the original liner note for JS 35333

Credits

Desiree Armfeldt: Elizabeth Taylor
Charlotte Mittelheim: Diana Rigg
Frederick Egerman: Len Cariou
Anne Egerman: Lesley-Anne Down
Mme Armfeldt: Hermione Gingold
Carl-Magnus Mittelheim: Laurence Guittard
Erich Egerman: Christopher Guard
Fredericka Armfeldt: Chloe Franks
Kurt: Heinz Marecek
Petra: Lesley Dunlop
Conductor: Jonathan Tunick
Franz: Hubert Tscheppe
Band Conductor: Rudolf Schrympf
Mayor: Franz Schussler
Mayoress: Johanna Schussler
Box Office Lady: Jean Sincere
First Lady: Dagmar Koller
Second Lady: Ruth Brinkman
Concierge: Anna Veigl
Unformed Sergeant: Stephan Paryla
First Whore: Eva Dvorska
Second Whore: Lisa De Cohen
Major Domo: Kurt Martynow
Cool: Gerty Barek
Footman: James De Groat

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Musical Director: Paul Gemignani
Assistant Director: Kip Gowans
Directed by Harold Prince

Screenplay by Hugh Wheeler
based on the New York stage musical, A Little Night Music
suggested by the film Smiles of a Summer Night by Ingmar Bergman

Produced by Jonathan Tunick and Bob Hathaway
CD Reissue Producers: Didier C. Deutsch, Peter E. Jones and Tim Sturges
Original album: JS 35333, released April 14, 1978