50th Anniversary Recording

50 years after the original and over two decades after the last major recording of this classic musical, a new interpretation of Leonard Bernstein’s infamous West Side Story hits the shelves. Both leads have received much fanfare for their personal careers: Vittorio Grigolo was recently named one of the top four possible heirs to Pavarotti’s musical throne and Hayley Westenra was said to have “the voice of an angel” by the New York Times. As Tony and Maria, though, these two beautiful voices sound almost too polished.

And that’s the main drawback to the entire album. The singers are note-perfect every time, but everything just feels a little too safe. In the recreation of a classic, it seems like the producers, orchestra (the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra led by Nick Ingman) and performers have all made extra sure to follow their sheet music exactly. Though the songs are still solid, there’s just something about Broadway music that asks for some variation and a little more lively energy than is on display here. Even in the rowdy “America” where the energy reaches it’s heights on this album, there’s still a little something missing.

But that doesn’t mean this new recording is unenjoyable. It’s still got the surprisingly catchy music and lyrics that have made West Side Story such a timeless classic in the first place. Fans of Rent who bought the soundtrack to the recent film revamping will understand the difference between an original and a remake. The song’s are beautiful; Grigolo and Westenra sing their hearts out, and that’s something for singers of their caliber, but while it’s interesting and even sometimes enjoyable to hear a remounting of a favorite, invariably something gets lost along the way.

Track List includes:
1. Prologue
2. Jet Song – Riff and the Jets
3. Something’s Coming – Tony
4. The Dance at The Gym (Blues, Promenade, Mambo, Cha Cha Cha, Jump) – Jets and       Sharks
5. Maria – Tony and Maria
6. Tonight (balcony) – Tony and Maria
7. America – Anita, Rosalia and girls
8. Cool – Riff and Jets
9. One Hand, One Heart – Tony and Maria
10. Tonight (ensemble) – Tony and Maria and cast
11.  I Feel Pretty – Maria and girls
12.  Somewhere –  A Girl
13. Gee Officer Krupke – Jets
14. A Boy Like That – Anita and Maria
15. I Have A Love – Maria and Anita
16. Finale – Tony and Maria

Zach’s Rating: C+
Perfect For: The undying Broadway Musical fan.
Stay Away if: Bernstein didn’t even do it for you 50 years ago.

To purchase West Side Story (50th Anniversary Recording) visit Amazon

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