RODGERS AND HAM­MER­STEIN The Sound of Mu­sic: 50th An­niver­sary Edi­tion (Broad­way Master­works)

Pasatiempo - - Cd Reviews -

This isn’t ex­actly a Christ­mas al­bum, but it’s the next best thing: the orig­i­nal stu­dio cast record­ing of one of the world’s best and most en­dur­ing mu­si­cals, with the in­flec­tions, at­ti­tudes, and sounds com­poser Richard Rodgers and lyri­cist Os­car Ham­mer­stein II wanted and in­sisted on com­ing across tellingly. Pretty much every­one loves the fa­mous and ex­u­ber­ant film of the show star­ring Julie An­drews; but this stage ver­sion writ­ten for the inim­itable Mary Martin as Maria, and with Theodore Bikel as Capt. Ge­org von Trapp, has a di­rect­ness and artis­tic in­tegrity that’s more in­ti­mate and more right for the taken-from-life story of the Trapp fam­ily — their singing and their es­cape from the Nazis. True, book au­thors Howard Lind­say and Rus­sel Crouse played havoc with his­tor­i­cal fact, but the very lim­i­ta­tions of the late ’ 50s the­ater (no lasers, how did they man­age?) helped this story be­come larger than life and beloved of audiences, even if crit­ics carped. It’s also very nice to hear singers singing, in­stead of croon­ing or roar­ing or cling­ing to a mic for dear life. Martin is mar­velous, Bikel is mas­cu­line and bold, and opera singer Pa­tri­cia Ne­way’s “Climb Ev’ry Moun­tain” shows why her Mother Abbess is still a force to be reck­oned with. Come back home to Salzburg, and sing along. — Craig Smith

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