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Discussion: Bernstein: West Side Story - Tilson Thomas

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Post by rammiepie June 5, 2014 (11 of 16)
srl1 said:

Just got this today. Initial reaction: Sound is excellent (I listen in stereo). I really like the two lead singers. They actually sound young. Most vocal numbers are very good. Exception is America. Very bland. Perfect world would be Bernstein's conducting and players (much more exciting than MTT) with MTT's singers. MTT makes everything too nice. Still, quite enjoyable.

Berstein's MCH SACD recording on DGG while fine orchestrally missed the mark by casting Jose Carreras as Tony with his conspicuously Latin accent which was a faux paux if ever there was one.

Thomas has wisely cast youngish Broadway singers in the leads and I look forward to receiving my copy.

Post by Euell Neverno June 5, 2014 (12 of 16)
rammiepie

. . .missed the mark by casting Jose Carreras as Tony with his conspicuously Latin accent which was a faux paux if ever there was one.

Tony cast as a Shark mole

Post by rammiepie June 6, 2014 (13 of 16)
Euell Neverno said:

Tony cast as a Shark mole

When You're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way....from your first 'cigarette' to your last 'dying' day.

How prophetic!

Well, at least MTT had the good sense not to cast Lady Ga Ga as Maria!

Post by wehecht June 6, 2014 (14 of 16)
srl1 said:

Just got this today. Initial reaction: Sound is excellent (I listen in stereo). I really like the two lead singers. They actually sound young. Most vocal numbers are very good. Exception is America. Very bland. Perfect world would be Bernstein's conducting and players (much more exciting than MTT) with MTT's singers. MTT makes everything too nice. Still, quite enjoyable.

MTT's "players" play the piece just great, it's MTT who conducts it on the slow and careful side. The singers are certainly an improvement on LB's grossly miscast operatic version ( if you want a version with an operatic Maria the one with Barbara Bonney in the role is far better). The only nit I'd really pick with this terrific recording, and I think it goes hand in glove with the slow and careful conducting, is the singers' enunciation. Except for intermittent attempts to sound like lower class New Yorkers, mostly in Officer Krupke, the singers enunciate every word so clearly that they appear to have stepped into the show straight from personal language tuition under Henry Higgins ( thank you to Philip Scott who originally made this same point about the 1995 broadway revival recording in his Fanfare review of that rendition). Having been born in Harlem and raised in the South Bronx during the same era in which WSS is set, I can assure you that no one spoke or sang like MTT's cast members. But despite that caveat this is the best recorded WSS by far, really quite spectacular in mch, and is only bettered in performance by the original broadway cast recording. The production values of the set are first rate in every way with a particularly lavish and informative booklet.

Post by AmonRa October 10, 2014 (15 of 16)
I just got the set yesterday and listened about half way to the first disk. Sounds good, but I have a slight complaint about how the singers are recorded. They sound like in a theater, i.e. amplified not natural (classical recording way natural). In the booklet photos they wear personal microphones but I can not say if they have been close-miked with those or also PA:ed from them. In any case it sounds like some PA has been picked up by the orchestra microphones. So if one wants a recording like it sounds in a theater this is quite perfect, if one wants a "classical" clean sound this is not the one to choose.

Post by Loop 7 July 31, 2015 (16 of 16)
Just stunning. I'm amazed by the vocals and we should remember these singers were moving around wearing radio mics.

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