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The Sound of Music (Original Broadway Cast Recording)

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Album Review

Rodgers & Hammerstein's final musical, The Sound of Music, was also a definitive work for the team in that it combined many elements common to their other shows, particularly South Pacific and The King and I: it was set in a foreign locale, it starred a female lead in charge of children, it concerned an unlikely romance between an older man and a younger woman, it had a social/political element, and it featured a stirring anthem for a soprano (in this case, "Climb Ev'ry Mountain"). The "based on a true story" plot concerned an aspiring nun who becomes a governess in pre-World War II Austria, only to marry the children's father and flee with the family from the Nazis. Mary Martin played Maria, the postulant, and brought to the part her usual warmth and humor, along with a sense of authority born of decades of Broadway stardom. She was supported by an excellent cast including Patricia Neway, the Mother Abbess who sang "Climb Ev'ry Mountain"; folksinger Theodore Bikel in the male lead; and Kurt Kaszner and Marion Marlowe as collaborationists, plus, of course, the children, who joined in on soon-to-be standards such as "Do-Re-Mi." The massive success of the 1965 film version starring Julie Andrews tends to overshadow the stage production, so it's worth noting that this album topped the Billboard chart for 16 weeks and remains superior to the movie soundtrack, which deleted several key songs and added inferior ones written by Rodgers alone after Hammerstein's death. This CD reissue has noticeably improved sound and adds two bonus tracks: a 16-and-a-half-minute suite of the score put together by original orchestrator Robert Russell Bennett that constitutes a virtual overture and a version of "Do-Re-Mi" by Mitch Miller & the Sing-Along Chorus, with the children of the cast joining in.

Biography

Born: 01 December 1913 in Weatherford, TX

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Singer/actress Mary Martin was, along with Ethel Merman, one of the two leading performers in stage musicals during the middle third of the 20th century. From the 1930s to the 1960s, Martin appeared on Broadway, in the West End, and on tour thousands of times in such massively successful shows as South Pacific and The Sound of Music. She also recorded cast albums for these shows that sold in the millions. Unlike Merman, who was known for her brassy, extroverted style, Martin was a warm, ingratiating...
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