Metro's The Essential Songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber collects renditions of the composer's classic songs from shows such as Sunset Boulevard, Starlight Express, Song and Dance, and Aspects of Love, as performed by England's National Symphony Orchestra and a variety of international musical theater stars. The compilation presents these songs in more or less chronological order, giving it a good flow and an opportunity to trace Lloyd Webber's development as a songwriter. Highlights include John Barrowman's "Any Dream Will Do" and Kim Criswell's "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar; Maria Friedman's "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" and "Memory" from Evita and Cats, respectively; and Graham Bickley and Claire Moore's "The Phantom of the Opera" and John Diedrich's "The Music of the Night," both from Phantom of the Opera. Many of the songs here transcend the boundaries of musical theater; indeed, the only drawback to this collection is that it doesn't feature any original cast recordings. However, the track selections and performances are strong enough to make this a minor point for anyone but the most extreme musical theater purists.
The Essential Songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber Review
by Heather Phares