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Isn’t It Rich: Masterworks Broadway Reissues Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music” Soundtrack, Plus Rare Monk, Coward

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A Little Night Music OSTWhere are the clowns?

Following the release last month of Clownaround, one of the rarest cast recordings of all time, Masterworks Broadway is again sending in the clowns.  In August, the label will deliver the long-awaited reissue of the film soundtrack to Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music with Elizabeth Taylor following in the footsteps of Glynis Johns, Frank Sinatra and Judy Collins and singing “Send in the Clowns.”  A Little Night Music will be expanded with previously unreleased music, too – but it’s just one of three upcoming releases coming from the label on CD-R and digital download between July and September.  Night Music will be joined by cast recordings of Julius Monk’s impossibly rare 1961 Seven Come Eleven, and 1972’s Noel Coward salute Cowardy Custard.

August 13’s release of Seven Come Eleven marks the revue’s first reissue since its original LP pressing in 1961.  One in a series of revues created by Julius Monk, Seven Come Eleven featured an elegantly-attired and urbane cast including Mary Louise Wilson (Full Gallop, Grey Gardens), Rex Robbins (Herbie opposite Angela Lansbury’s Rose in Gypsy) and Philip Bruns (Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Seinfeld).  Columbia Special Products released the cast recording of Seven Come Eleven for sale exclusively during its engagement at fabled New York nightspot Upstairs at the Downstairs, then located at 37 West 56th Street.  The album preserves both skits and songs from the act, which offered sophisticated cabaret entertainment in the style of Monk’s other revues including Demi-Dozen, Dime a Dozen, Four Below, Dressed to the Nines, Four Below Strikes Back, Just for Openers, Pieces of Eight, and Take Five.  It will be available exclusively for purchase via MasterworksBroadway.com on July 16 in a limited quantity of Manufacture-On-Demand CDs (CD-Rs) as well as digital download. The CD-R will be available through Arkiv Music on August 13, plus downloads through digital service providers the same day.

After the jump: more on A Little Night Music, plus Cowardy Custard!

Harold Prince, director and producer of 1973’s original Broadway production of A Little Night Music, returned to helm its motion picture adaptation in 1978.  Prince enlisted Len Cariou (Fredrik Egerman), Laurence Guittard (Count Carl-Magnus) and Hermione Gingold (Mme. Armfeldt) from the original Broadway cast to join Diana Rigg (Countess Charlotte), Lesley-Anne Down (Anne Egerman) and Elizabeth Taylor (Desiree Armfeldt) in the adaptation written by the musical’s original librettist, Hugh Wheeler.  Stephen Sondheim was called upon to revisit his score, and he provided new lyrics for the instrumental “Night Waltz” as well as composing an entirely new version of the song “The Glamorous Life.”  The film’s setting was changed from Sweden to Austria, resulting in the change of some character’s surnames, and it was shot on location to take advantage of the lush settings.

Though the film generally wasn’t well-received – with particularly harsh words for Prince’s direction and Taylor’s performance – the Columbia Records soundtrack album showed off its greatest asset: the music.  Orchestrator Jonathan Tunick even received an Academy Award for his fine adaptation of Sondheim’s score.  (Florence Klotz was also nominated for her costumes.)  For the first-ever reissue of the soundtrack, Masterworks has transferred the LP from the original stereo master tapes and added  a previously unreleased instrumental cue, along with two other instrumental cues taken from the mono soundtrack of the film. The complete version of “Every Day a Little Death” is also included from the mono soundtrack, as the carriage ride verse written for the film was not included on the original stereo master.  A Little Night Music features new liner notes from Peter Jones, and it will be released exclusively for purchase via MasterworksBroadway.com on August 13 in a limited quantity of Manufacture-On-Demand CDs as well as digital download. The CD will be available through Arkiv Music on September 10, plus downloads through digital service providers the same day.

Cowardy Custard OLCFinally, RCA’s 1972 London Cast Recording of Cowardy Custard arrives on September 10 at Masterworks’ website.  The story of playwright-composer-lyricist Noël Coward’s life told through song and biographical sketches, Cowardy Custard began its life as part of the City of London Festival in 1972.  The Mermaid Theatre production eventually ran for over a year, racking up 405 performances. Directed by Wendy Toye (who also devised the show with Gerald Frow and Alan Strachan) with orchestrations by Keith Amos, the revue featured songs and scenes from Coward’s works from the 1920s through the 1960s.  The cast recording preserves such musical favorites as “Mad About the Boy,” “A Room with a View,” “If Love Were All,” “Mad Dogs and Englishmen,” “Why Do the Wrong People Travel,” and “I Went to a Marvelous Party,” sung by Tony winner Patricia Routledge (Darling of the Day, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue). This 2-CD set will be released exclusively for purchase from the label on September 10 in a limited quantity of Manufacture-On-Demand CDs as well as digital download. The double set will be available through Arkiv Music on October 8, plus downloads through digital service providers the same day.

You can peruse the track listings below.  All titles will be available for pre-order at Masterworks Broadway’s website.

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Original Cast Recording, Seven Come Eleven (Columbia Special Products LP OL 5740, 1961 – reissued Masterworks Broadway, 2013)

  1. Opening: Seven Come Eleven (Roy) – Company
  2. This Is New York (Holmes) – Ceil Cabot, Rex Robbins, Steve Roland
  3. The Jackie Look (Davison) – Ceil Cabot
  4. Suddenly Last Tuesday (skit by William F. Brown) – Rex Robbins, Donna Sanders
  5. I Found Him (Urbont-Geller) – Donna Sanders
  6. School Daze (M. Brown) – Company
  7. Forbidden Tropics (Wood) – Mary Louise Wilson
  8. New York Has a New Hotel (M. Brown) – Company
  9. Captain of the Pinafore (Warren) – Steve Roland
  10. Alma Whatsa Mater (Davison) – Company
  11. Sick (Roy-Siegel) – Philip Bruns
  12. Don’t You Feel Naked Not Drinking? (skit by Robert Elliott) – Mary Louise Wilson, Rex Robbins
  13. I Flew to Havana Last Wednesday (M. Brown) – Ceil Cabot
  14. Umbilicus Undulatus (skit by Robert Elliott, music by William Roy) – Rex Robbins
  15. Christmas Long Ago (Strain-Barer) – Donna Sanders, Steve Roland
  16. John Birch Society (M. Brown) – Company
  17. Finale: Seven Come Eleven (Roy) – Company

Original Soundtrack Recording, A Little Night Music (Columbia LP JS 35333, 2013)

  1. Overture and Night Waltz (Love Takes Time)
  2. The Glamorous Life
  3. Now/Soon/Later
  4. You Must Meet My Wife
  5. Every Day a Little Death
  6. Night Waltz
  7. A Weekend in the Country
  8. Send in the Clowns
  9. It Would Have Been Wonderful
  10. Finale: Send in the Clowns (Reprise)/Night Waltz (Reprise)

The above is the original LP track listing.  The expanded CD’s complete track listing is still TBA, but it will include previously unreleased music and an extended version of “Every Day a a Little Death.”

Original London Cast Recording, Cowardy Custard (RCA LP LOSO 6010, 1972 – reissued Masterworks Broadway, 2013)

  1. If Love Were All Medley
  2. Shadow Play – You Were There
  3. Any Little Fish
  4. A Room With A View
  5. New York Poverty – When You Want Me
  6. Specially For You
  7. Beatnik Love Affair
  8. Success: I’m Mad About You – Poor Little Rich Girl
  9. Louisa
  10. Mad About The Boy
  11. The Stately Homes Of England
  12. Twentieth Century Blues
  13. I Went To A Marvelous Party
  14. The Magic Of An Empty Theatre – Auditions: Mrs. Worthington
  15. Critics Sequence: Why Must The Show Go On
  16. London Pride Medley
  17. Return To London, 1941
  18. There Are Bad Times Just Around The Corner
  19. Alice Is At It Again
  20. I Love Traveling – The Passenger’s Always Right – Useful Phrases
  21. Why Do The Wrong People Travel – St. Peter’s
  22. Mad Dogs And Englishmen
  23. Nina
  24. I Like America
  25. Bronxville Darjeeling
  26. I Wonder What Happened To Him
  27. Miss Mouse
  28. Let’s Do It
  29. Last Words
  30. The Boy Actor (Reprise)
  31. Touring Days Finale
  32. Noel Coward’s London Morning Ballet

Written by Joe Marchese

June 28, 2013 at 09:55

2 Responses

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  1. CD-R….. BAH!

    Zubb

    June 30, 2013 at 17:11

    • I, too, was quite surprised that a Sondheim CD premiere wouldn’t get the full pressed CD treatment from Masterworks, as, say, BYE BYE BIRDIE’s expanded soundtrack did a few months back.

      Joe Marchese

      July 1, 2013 at 14:54


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