“One of the greatest cast albums ever made” It is no surprise that more than one CLASSICAL music listing has included SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE as a basic requirement for building a classical library, along with Beethoven and Mozart and Bach and their ilk. Thomas Shepard’s ingenious decision to create a free-standing, almost cantata-like soundscape and programming for this watershed score stands as one of the best smartest decisions in a career full of them. The various reviewers who are unfavorably comparing this to the video or the show are missing the point: the CD is its own animal, and from the almost palpable pool of silence from whence Mandy Patinkin’s first “White. A blank page or canvas” emerges to the beautifully piano final chord, the tension is all but unbroken. Both Mr. Patinkin and the incomparable Bernadette Peters richly deserved the Tony Awards that went to George Hearn and Chita Rivera, and the supporting cast is divine. This show, along with FOLLIES and SWEENEY TODD, is a world-class masterwork bearing co…
After Merrily We Roll Along’s devastating flop in 1981, Stephen Sondheim thought about abandoning the theater. He wrote one of his most beloved shows instead, Sunday in the Park with George. Sondheim and his new collaborator, librettist/director James Lapine, used George Seurat’s painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” as a way to tackle the issue of artistic creation itself. Both Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters play two different parts with brio, jumping across decades with ease, and they get to deliver some of Sondheim’s most heartwrenching songs–”Color and Light,” “Finishing the Hat,” “Putting It Together,” and “Children and Art.” Sunday in the Park with George is one of the most intellectually ambitious musicals to ever hit Broadway–and one of the most emotionally rewarding. –Elisabeth Vincentelli
A Classic Stephen Sondheim Musical Available Now at a New Low Price!
Features bonus tracks, digitally remastered and new liner notes.
An old favorite
After seeing a few revivals of this musical in the 2000-2002, inclduing the Kennedy Center show, I felt compelled to pull out the original again for a listen. It was once a favorite, and yet in recent years has taken a back seat for me to other new cast recordings. However, I now once agian have it out to be played often… what wonderful performances by the origainl cast. And the entire cast, in my opion, has not been euqulaeed since 1986. Bernedette Peters I feel was at her finest in this role, her unique voice enhancing the songs (in some other shows or CD’s I feel her style can detract from a song). Ditto for Mandy… his George is excellent, but his “Wild Party” performace, both on the CD and in person, detracted from the songs. This 1986 cast may represnet the very best version of “Sunday…” that we will ever see or hear….
Sondheim is a genius
After viewing Into the Woods for the first time I instantly became a Steven Sondhime fanatic. A friend of mine (Andrew Fox, who has written many reviews here) insisted that I absolutely had to see Sunday in the Park with George and lent me his tape of it. Knowing that it had won the pulitzer prize and that Bernadette Peters, who I loved in Into the Woods, starred, I went in expecting something incredible. While the show was obviously well written, the music great and Mandy Patinkin remarkable I couldn’t help being a little disappointed. Peters, having vocal troubles during the recording, was NOT sounding very good, and the chorous as well didn’t sound great. There’s also the book, which is well written by James Lapine but doesn’t quite measure up to the score like his fantastic book for Into the Woods almost would. The fact that the tape was battered from (obvious) repeated viewings didn’t help either.
Still, I went out to buy the soundtrack so i could really listen to the music and I was blown out of my mind. Bernadette Peters voice is as loud and beautiful as usual and the backround chorous was sensational. This recording also allowed me to truly appreciate the brilliant lyrics and dot-painting inspired music. Like all Sondheim shows, similar themes are repeated throughout and the lyrics range from absolutely hilariious to heart wrenching. I’m planning on buying the DVD soon and I reccomend everyone get both this CD and that as this is the ultimate way to appreciate the score but you have to know the story to get the full emotional impact. Every song (yes, EVERY ONE) is fantastic in its own right, but here are some of the highlights:
1. Color and Light: one of the most incredible pieces of music I’ve ever heard. Sondheim’s incredible music captures Seurat’s style of painting perfectly and Mandy Patintkin is brilliant in both his intense delivery of the main theme “color and light” and his trancelike repetitions of colors. The way it intertwines with Peter’s thoughts is uncanny and it goes in several diffrent directions with many emotions. It is worth buying the CD for this song alone, I guarentee it.
2. Putting it Together: the score’s most well known song is in competetion with Color and Light as the best song on the disc. Mandy Patinkin show’s his true skills in his pin-point, dramatic and lightning fast delivery of Sondheim’s lyrics that vividly describe both the struggle of having to pay for art and the conquest of working the room at a party in search of a commision. The rhyme scheme is incredible and the lyrics are truly revelant today. The chrous is great in this as well, full of character.
3. Sunday: Both rendetions of this song (at the end of the first and second act) are musically excellent but it is the one at the end of the second act that conveys the most emotion. The timing between Patintkin and the chorous is perfection and the song itself has some of the most beautiful music and lyrics ever written. I’ll tell you, if you’ve seen the play (or even listened to the whole CD) the sheer emotional impact of this makes it the greatest musical finale I have ever heard. Period.
Those may be my three favorites, but there are so many more. The opening “Sunday in the Park with George” is quite hilarious, “No Life” as well is brilliantly performed and written. “Everybody Loves Louis” is perfectly sung by Peters, “It’s Hot up Here” is a truly ingenious second act opener, “Gossip” is wonderfully fast and exciting with very funny lyrics and the final two songs before the finale, “Lesson Number 8″ performed by Patintkin and “Move On” Performed by Peters have some of the most profound lyrics of all time. Both are sung perfectly, of course, as Patintkin and Peters are in top form in this show. Buy this CD and either the video or DVD to fully appreciate this masterpiece. And a masterpiece score this is…on par with George Seurat’s “Sunday in the Island of La Grande Jatte”…
Worst Musical Ever
The most moving piece of music I own