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The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection / Encore
Andrew Lloyd Webber, Richard Rodgers, Burton Lane
The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection / Encore
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Classical, Broadway & Vocalists
 
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #2

In a career that's veered from '70s pop chanteuse to Broadway star and neo-operatic diva, Sarah Brightman has brought a critics-be-damned sense of dramatic scale to nearly every project she's tackled. This two-CD package o...  more »

      
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In a career that's veered from '70s pop chanteuse to Broadway star and neo-operatic diva, Sarah Brightman has brought a critics-be-damned sense of dramatic scale to nearly every project she's tackled. This two-CD package of 31 hits brings together selections from Brightman's original Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection, including many definitive versions of Lloyd Webber classics. Also included are songs from her album Encore, which itself was largely culled from her Songs That Got Away and Surrender song anthologies, although they do include four previously unreleased outtakes from those collections. Her 1998 recording of the title song from ex-husband Andrew Lloyd Webber's Whistle Down the Wind succeeds by emphasizing its melodic grace with a deft, airy touch, while the remainder rescue worthy songs from obscure or failed musicals. From Lerner and Lane's 1959 Carmelina comes the lovely "One More Walk Around the Garden." Stephen Sondheim's youthful 1954 debut, Saturday Night, yields a sprightly take on "What More Do I Need," and an operatic reading of "In the Mandarin's Orchid Garden," from the Gershwins' unproduced 1929 East Is West, is also included. If the selection leans a little too heavily on the Lloyd Webber connection elsewhere (including Italian versions of "Guardami (With One Look)" from Sunset Boulevard and "Piano (Memory)" from Cats, delivered in her patently restraint-free soprano), they're only reminders that shrewdness has hardly been the least of Brightman's talents. --Jerry McCulley
 

CD Reviews

Encore!
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 09/29/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Before she was a sparkling pop/classical diva, Sarah Brightman was a Broadway star and the onetime wife of the legendary Andrew Lloyd Webber. This two-disc set that includes her "Encore," a collection of songs from mostly-obscure musicals, and "The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection," several of Webber's songs (mostly picked from "Songs That Got Away" and "Surrender").

"Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection" starts off with the gothic "Phantom of the Opera," but quickly moves on to lighter fare in the airy "Unexpected Song," a soaring duet with Cliff Richards in "All I Ask Of You," the sparkling "Love Changes Everything," and some tepid forays into the shrill "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" and "Memory."

"Encore" is far more ethereal and steady. The piano-led "Whistle Down The Wind" starts it off on a strong note, before the aching "Away From You," operatic "Think of Me," affectionate "If I Ever Fall in Love Again," and the symphonic "Nothing Like You've Ever Known." A particular highlight is the sparkling "What More Do I Need," a little tune that celebrates how love brightens up even the most dingy little apartment, in the most miserable weather. "With your love/what more do I need?"

Sarah Brightman was obviously on solid footing with these two CDs. It might leave a bad taste in some fans' mouths that "Collection" is mostly compiled from a pair of other Brightman albums, but if listeners don't have "Surrender" and "Songs That Got Away," this two-disc set would be an excellent way to acquaint themselves with it.

"Encore" is steady and well-suited for Brightman's voice, as well as having a sort of Victorian-garden air. "Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection" has the most flaws of the two -- some of the songs like "Memory" aren't suited to Brightman's voice, and she comes across as shrill and uneasy. But in songs written for her talents and "Encore," her voice alternately soars and murmurs in an airy soprano.

Sarah Brightman reached her artistic pinnacle so far in the velvety "Eden," but her stuff here is still quite beautiful. "The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection/Encore" two-pack is a satisfying look at some of Brightman's Broadway-based songs."