» » » Leonard Bernstein - West Side Story - San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas (2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz
Leonard Bernstein - West Side Story - San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas (2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz
Leonard Bernstein - West Side Story - San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas (2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)
Artist: San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas
Title: West Side Story (Based on a Conception of Jerome Robbins; Book by Arthur Laurents; Music by Leonard Bernstein; Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim)
Genre: Classical, Stage & Screen, Soundtrack
Label: © SFS Media
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 01:22:51
Recorded live in PCM 96 kHz/24-bit audio June 27 - July 2, 2013 at Davies Symphony Hall — a venue of the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, City and County of San Francisco.

Michael Tilson Thomas and the Grammy Award-winning San Francisco Symphony present a new live recording of the first-ever concert performances of Leonard Bernstein’s complete score for the beloved musical West Side Story. The recording boasts a talented cast of Broadway actors led by Alexandra Silber (Maria) and Cheyenne Jackson (Tony) alongside members of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. This Collector’s Edition 2-Disc Set includes a 100-page booklet featuring a new interview with MTT, notes from Rita Moreno and Jamie Bernstein, as well as a West Side Story historical timeline, archival photographs, complete lyrics, and rehearsal and performance photos. Presented in a High Definition Premium Audio Hybrid SACD* Set, this must-have album is the latest treasure from the Orchestra’s very own SFS Media label.
The performances were recorded live at Davies Symphony Hall in late June and early July 2013 after Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony became the first orchestra to receive permission from all four West Side Story rights-holders to perform and record the musical score in its entirety in a concert setting. Of the new recording, Michael Tilson Thomas said, “This is a new and rare opportunity to hear Bernstein’s complete score sung by a sensational young cast and a knock-your-socks-off orchestra. The San Francisco Symphony totally understands and feels this music. We show the Broadway roots of the piece and how its universal qualities translate into the way we think about it today.”

In an interview included in this release’s smartly produced booklet, Michael Tilson Thomas responds to Leonard Bernstein’s speculation that West Side Story would “change the face of American musical theater” with this shrewd observation: “That didn’t really happen. West Side Story is a stand-alone piece. Bernstein never wrote anything like it again. And although others have tried, nobody succeeded in doing something similar.” This, I think, is exactly the answer. There are certain pieces of music that are simply so “right” for their time and place, that capture a style or create a distinctive idiom with such inevitability, that they seem not so much “composed”, but rather it’s as if they emerged fully formed through a process of spontaneous generation. Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring may be the iconic example of this phenomenon, but West Side Story is surely another. It encapsulates a special moment in American musical culture, and for that reason it remains unique, and unrepeatable. It’s precisely for this reason that the piece works in concert, where the focus necessarily shines the spotlight on that remarkable music to the exclusion of all else, and in this respect Tilson Thomas has made all of the right decisions. He plays the original Broadway score, and has selected a cast of trained Broadway voices. The result couldn’t be more different from Bernstein’s “definitive” DG recording, with his miscast operatic leads, however beautifully sung it was in the abstract. As Maria, Alexandra Silber reveals a pure and lovely soprano that soars above the orchestra effortlessly. When she sings “I feel pretty” you believe her completely. As Tony, Cheyenne Jackson creates a character nicely poised between a man and a kid–no small feat for a guy who in real life is two decades older than the role he’s playing. His initial meeting with Maria has an affectingly bashful, “gee whiz” quality. The voice, though, is a bit odd: smoothly baritonal in its low register, and almost countertenorish when pressed on high. At times he seems like two different people, but this is, in its way, a typical Broadway sound–that shift from “character” to “singer”. Justin Keyes, who sings Action in “Gee, Officer Krupke”, has a voice of similar shape. He starts each verse with a gravelly sprechstimme, and then all of a sudden opens up and sings as the main melody takes off. Ultimately if this is a fault, and I’m not sure it is or feel we even need to care about it particularly, then it must be Bernstein’s: the songs demand both qualities, “face” and musicianship, shifting blithely back and forth between them. Bernstein’s decision to go whole hog with operatic singers the last time around and jettison the authentic Broadway style was an experiment that arguably lost more than it gained, even in musical terms. The remaining cast members, including Jessica Vosk’s Anita and Julia Bullock singing a truly beautiful “Somewhere”, are all excellent and thoroughly inside their parts. I was particularly pleased that Tilson Thomas did not permit the girls in “America” to shriek and scream “Puerto Ricanly” as Bernstein did, thus allowing us to hear the marvelous orchestration in the orchestral interludes. Even more than in Bernstein’s more aggressive, almost heavy-handed DG production, MTT captures the work’s sophistication, stylishness, spontaneity, and sheer, easy melodic flow, while the playing of the San Francisco Symphony is simply beyond criticism. You won’t hear the orchestral numbers–the dances in the gym, or the ballet sequence in Act 2–done better, anywhere. Recorded live before a very quiet audience (there are a few moments of gentle laughter here and there), the sonics capture both singers and players up close, but never harshly. If you want West Side Story complete, then this is the set to own. --David Hurwitz, Classics Today

Presented with the idea of a West Coast West Side Story, you might imagine some kind of unorthodox interpretation, but in fact this 2013 production, recorded live (and recorded very well indeed) for the San Francisco Symphony's in-house label falls squarely into traditions laid down by the work's composer, Leonard Bernstein. This is not to say that conductor Michael Tilson Thomas follows Bernstein's own recording of the Romeo-and-Juliet tale of the Sharks and the Jets, which had a heavily operatic tinge: this is a Broadway-style recording, not an operatic one, and the vocal qualities of Cheyenne Jackson as Tony and Alexandra Silber as Maria are not too far from those in the hit soundtrack recording of the 1960s. Instead it is Bernstein the composer who is the star of Tilson Thomas' show. Unlike the works of other Broadway composers who wrote tunes and left assistants to fill in conventional orchestration, Bernstein often made the orchestra a key partner in the action, and Tilson Thomas captures such details as the small keyboard line in "Maria" (perhaps a celesta) that is swallowed up in live performances and recordings. Tilson Thomas, like Bernstein, is comfortable with the variety of pop rhythms in the show, and the result is a recording that really represents the best of both worlds. Highly recommended. --AllMusic Review by James Manheim

DISC 1 - Act One
1. Prologue 3:57
2. Jet Song (Riff, Jets) 3:37
3. Something’s Coming (Tony) 2:57
The Dance at the Gym
4. Blues 2:16
5. Promenade 0:27
6. Mambo 2:27
7. Cha-Cha 0:47
8. Meeting Scene (Tony, Maria) 1:51
9. Jump 0:58
10. Maria (Tony) 2:47
11. Balcony Scene, Tonight (Tony, Maria) 1:40
12. Only You (Tony, Maria) 6:01
13. America (Anita, Rosalia, Shark Girls) 5:19
14. Cool (Riff, Jets) 4:25
15. One Hand, One Heart (Tony, Maria) 5:34
16. Tonight (Riff, Bernardo, Anita, Tony, Maria, Sharks, Jets) 3:51
17. The Rumble 3:09
DISC 2 - Act Two
1. I Feel Pretty (Maria, Francisca, Rosalia, Consuelo) 4:14
Ballet Sequence
2. Allegro agitato 0:41
3. Lo stesso tempo (Tony, Maria) 0:35
4. Adagio 0:34
5. Scherzo 1:29
6. Somewhere (A Girl) 2:27
7. Procession & Nightmare (Entire Company) 2:17
8. Adagio 1:29
9 Gee, Officer Krupke (Jets) 5:00
10. A Boy Like That (Anita, Maria) 2:30
11. I Have a Love (Maria, Anita) 3:30
12. Change of Scene 0:29
13. Jukebox, Taunting Scene 2:26
14. Finale (Maria, Tony) 2:49

San Francisco Symphony
Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor
Alexandra Silber, Maria
Cheyenne Jackson, Tony
Jessica Vosk, Anita
Kevin Vortmann, Riff
Julia Bullock, A Girl
San Francisco Symphony Chorus
Ragnar Bohlin, director

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