At Home with the Trapp Family Singers is a rarity from a major Classical record label, but no surprise as Deutsche Grammophon becomes increasingly focused on crossover sales. The company is marketing the album as a tie-in to the 40th anniversary of the film The Sound of Music, the romanticized version of the Trapp Family's escape from Nazi-controlled Austria. What this album represents is a type of music and style of singing that most Americans of the early twenty first century will never encounter. The album does begin with English-language folk songs, but quickly moves on to German-language songs. These are songs that give a broader perspective of traditional folk music of Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, than English speakers normally get from perennial recordings of O Tannenbaum and Es ist ein Ros entsprungen. They are also songs that were close to the hearts of the Trapp Family and their European audiences. The Trapp Family Singers embody a culture of amateur music-making that isn't as widely known as it used to be. They use close harmony arrangements that may be a little more complex than what most amateur groups would use, and they have a slightly more formal way of singing, but there is still that homegrown feel of music-making for pure enjoyment. Pieces for recorder ensemble are thrown in with the vocal music, evoking nostalgic (or dismal, depending on the experience) memories for anyone who was taught to play the recorder in elementary school. The remastered sound of the original mono recordings is actually quite good. The music of Rodgers and Hammerstein has little to do with how the Trapp Family Singers really sounded, but this album makes up for that.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Patsy Morita