Andrew Lloyd Webber Symphonic Suites Decca, now available
This stunning recording, recorded last April at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London, is for those who love big show tunes performed by a large symphony orchestra.
Peter Cobbin, Kirsty Willeyy and their recording team were exceptional. Your reviewer is not afraid to confess that I played stuff like Don’t Cry For Me Argentina (Evita, 1976), The Music Of The Night (Phantom Of The Opera, 1986) and With One Look (Sunset Boulevard, 1993) over and over again, enjoying them more each time.
These magnificent orchestral suites, composed by Andrew Cottee for an orchestra of 81 musicians, bring these Lloyd Webber musicals back to an earlier tradition that Robert Russell Bennett, the greatest Broadway arranger and orchestrator, established over 70 years ago.
In his liner note, Andrew Lloyd Webber (above) writes: ‘For me this is the triumphant and hopeful return of live music, theatre and entertainment around the world.’
He orchestrated more than 300 ‘Broadway operas’, and with the best of them, not only did the orchestrations for the show itself, but made 15-to-20-minute ‘symphonic pictures’, so that symphony orchestras in the concert hall could get in on the act.
He was particularly successful with Hammerstein and Rodgers shows. Rodgers was once asked why he didn’t orchestrate his shows himself. With admirable candour, he replied: ‘Well I could, but why would I when Bob Bennett does it so much better?’
In a similar vein, Lloyd Webber gives Cottee the head. These orchestral suites are more than 20 minutes in length, and especially Phantom, are fantastic. Simon Lee, music director, gets really excited playing from his pick up band. This is certain to be one my top albums.
In his liner note, Lloyd Webber writes: ‘For me this is the triumphant and hopeful return of live music, theatre and entertainment around the world.’ Good on you, Andrew.