Fans of musicals are likely to be familiar with the original Broadway cast recording of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music. When it was premiered in 1973, virtually everyone fell in love with the work (except Ingmar Bergman, upon whose film, Smiles of a Summer's Night, it is based) and the Columbia LP of the show was a marvel. Produced by the legendary Goddard Lieberson with Thomas Z. Shepherd, the recording captured the performances with amazing fidelity and immediacy for its time. But times change and Shepherd went back to the recording in 2009 and revivified it for a new age, and now, listeners can hear not only the voices of Len Cariou, Glynis Johns, and Hermione Gingold, but feel their presence moving through the room. In the solo numbers like "Send in the Clowns," this lets the listener appreciate anew the ironic sentimentality -- or is it sentimental irony? -- of Johns' reading, while in the ensemble numbers, the individual voices come across with astounding clarity. For this reissue, as for the original CD reissue, Shepherd has also been able to restore "Night Waltz II," which the time limitations of the original LP removed, and to add a bonus track, a song called "The Glamorous Life," which is only loosely related to the song of the same name in the show. Even if you already have access to the original recording, if you love the show, you owe it to yourself to hear this reissue.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|A Little Night Music|