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A Musical Environment

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September 15 is National Greenpeace Day. It commemorates the founding of the organization that asks us all to focus on the environment and issues that contribute toward us making a better planet.To commemorate this unofficial holiday Erik and Ken have developed lists of some of their favorite songs about the earth, the environment, nature, etc. They're both great reads, filled with some surprising (or at least lesser-known) titles.

Normally this is where you’d find me saying something about take a listen to these albums that complement what the guys have done. I’m going to diverge (just a bit) to make mention of Marin Mazzie's unexpected death yesterday which has saddened us all. In tribute to this grand performer I'd like to recommend a few things that fit with our nature theme today. First, there's the album Opposite You, which she recorded with her husband Jason Danieley. It's got a swell rendition of "Honeysuckle Rose" on it. On her concert album Make Your Own Kind of Music she delivers a stirring rendition of the song "Evergreen. Finally take a listen to the revival cast recording of Kiss Me, Kate, where she starred opposite Brian Stokes Mitchell. They sound terrific throughout but they are particularly glorious when they join forces for "Wunderbar," which has the lyric "Gazing down on the Jungfrau."

Remember, if you need to add any of the recordings mentioned here and in the guys' blogs to your collection, you can find links to them in the carousels on the BwayTunes.com homepage. 


A grand array of music - over an hour's worth - is waiting for you with this week's "green" Spotify playlist. It's filled with songs that we all know by heart and a bunch of not frequently heard gems...all of them celebrating, in their own fashion, the environment.


Our new free song download comes from Broadway Records' Beast in the Jungle, a recording of a theater-dance piece with an exquisite score by John Kander!


Take a look at the marvelously diverse array of new music that we've gotten for you, particularly:

  • Beast in the Jungle - John Kander has written a marvelously lush score for this work based on the Henry James short story. It's a richly satisfying listen that you'll probably be savoring for some time to come!
  • Unexpected Joy - Composer Janet Hood and lyricist Bill Russell provided some genuinely infectious pop-theater songs for this tuner about a singer-songwriter who's attempting to move on after the death of her longtime performing--and life--partner.

This latter terrific recording is just one of several just out from JAY Records that I’d like to draw your attention to. To begin there are is a lovely “twofer” album that showcase Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music: a compendium of Sunset Boulevard and Evita. Ria Jones and Matt Bogart are the headliners for the first, while Madalena Alberto and Max von Essen are featured for the second. All are sounding quite, quite good, and the albums is certainly worth a listen. You can find more music from Sunset Boulevard on another album where Kim Criswell provides the vocals for Norma Desmond. Criswell’s beautiful voice brings a new dimension to songs such as “With One Look,” and the backing from the National Symphony Orchestra is particularly sumptuous.

In addition to these albums, you’ll want to check out these new releases, which can be found in the main carousel at the top of the home page and in the “New and Recommended” one at the bottom of the page.

  • Summer: The Donna Summer Musical - One of Broadway's newest hits, this show takes a whirlwind tour through the fascinating life and electrifying music of pop diva Donna Summer.
  • Desperate Measures - Shakespeare's Measure for Measure gets a contemporary, country-western spin in this musical that's enjoying a highly acclaimed and popular off-Broadway run.
  • Carousel - Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1945 classic has gotten a much-discussed revival with a great array of vocalists! Five of them, in fact, are Tony nominated. Listening to this new album will help you understand why.
  • My Fair Lady - Lerner and Loewe's beloved musicalization of Shaw's Pygmalion is delighting audiences at Lincoln Center Theater, and this new cast recording will let you savor the joys of both the writers' work and the lead performances of Harry Hadden-Paton, Lauren Ambrose, and Norbert Leo Butz.
  • Mean Girls - The new musical based on the Tina Fey movie has some bubbly tunes from Jeff Richmond and Nell Benjamin that prove to be wonderfully infectious! Plus there are some great performers delivering them, notably Tony nominee Taylor Louderman.
  • Hair - 50th Anniversary Cast Recording - It's hard to believe that this rock musical is squarely hitting middle age. This new album from England reminds us of how the tunes are still remarkably vibrant.
  • Frozen - You can enjoy the Broadway incarnation of this hit movie at long last! Caissie Levy and Patti Murin headline this company and are in great voice, and there are also 12 new tunes by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez to enjoy.
  • Sing Happy - The amazing Audra McDonald's recent New York Philharmonic concert is captured in all its glory on this release. What makes it particularly exciting are the number of songs on here that she's never recorded before.

At the end of August we celebrated the centenary of Alan Jay Lerner's birth. Just a few days before, another musical theater great, Leonard Bernstein, would also have turned 100.

It seems only fitting that we pay tribute to Bernstein, whose theater work includes On the TownWonderful TownCandide, and, of course, West Side Story. Alas, the one show Lerner and Bernstein wrote together, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, never got a cast recording, but much of its score can be found on A White House Cantata.

I am pretty sure that both Erik and Ken will have a great time penning tributes to this master musician.

 


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