Magazine article The Sondheim Review

More Than a Little Night Music

Magazine article The Sondheim Review

More Than a Little Night Music

Article excerpt

With seven commercial releases in its 35-year history, the lilting and intelligent A Little Night Music is among the most oft-recorded of the music-and-lyrics scores in Stephen Sondheim's repertoire. The first edition of the original Broadway cast recording (Columbia KS 32265) was produced in 1973 by Goddard Lieberson, with an assist from Thomas Z. Shepard. The handsome blue gatefold sleeve, with its amorous sylvan silhouette logo, included a powder-blue libretto insert, reduced to white for the re-release.

It is the second of six Grammy-winning Sondheim cast recordings to date and remains active in the Columbia catalog, having also appeared in 8-track, cassette, quadraphonic and CD formats. In 1998, a re-mastered version of the 15-track original was re-released on CD (SK 64652) with expanded photos, liner notes and the addition of "Night Waltz II," cut from the original issue due to the run-time limitations of vinyl, and "The Glamorous Life," Sondheim's revised version of the song from the film soundtrack.

Green, possibly with envy of its predecessor, is the sleeve of the original London east record-ing with its bashful Alphonse Mucha nymph on the cover (RCA Red Seal LRL 1-5090). Hermione Gingold reprised her Broadway turn as Madame Armfeldt, mother this time to Jean Simmons as Desirée. The somewhat less lush recording repeats the original track list and does benefit from the presence of Joss Ackland and a pre-Side By Side David Kernan. The original CD pressing is still easy to acquire, and a reissue is now also available from Arkiv Music.

Yet to be released on CD is the full 1977 original motion picture soundtrack (Columbia JS 35333) with its severely truncated 10-track rendering of the score. With Len Cariou and Laurence Guittard recreating their Broadway roles, this recording is notable primarily for the presence of Diana Rigg on "Every Day A Little Death" and the lyrics written for "Night Waltz," now called "Love Takes Time." Elizabeth Taylor is the breathiest of Desirées, and a portion of her already limited vocals were dubbed by Elaine Tomkinson, who provided the same services for Lesley-Anne Down and Chloe Franks in the film.

In 1989 British music producer John Yap released a 20-track studio recording (TER 1179/Jay 1241), borrowing Eric Flynn and Susan Hampshire from the London revival and rounding out his cast with Sian Phillips, Maria Friedman and Elisabeth Welch. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.