Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Thomas And The King (1981 London Cast Members)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
Bad...but not because of John Williams
Eric J. McClellan | Youngstown, Ohio United States | 11/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It really is no mystery why this musical died a painful death. For those who are curious, the musical is based on the life of Thomas Beckett and was produced for the London stage. It was hampered by a poor book and really awful (actually painful is probably a better word) lyrics.
However, for those who are fans of John Williams (the movie composer/conductor) it is a fascinating glimpse at his song writing skills.
He has written numerous songs for some of his film projects including, "Hook", "Home Alone", "Sabrina", "Yes, Giorgio", "Not With My Wife, You Don't!", "Penelope", "The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing", "Superman: The Movie" and a few more. He even wrote a song cycle with former poet laureate Rita Dove. This recording further illustrates that he is skilled at song writing and if he had worked with a more competent lyricist, these songs would have been much more palatable.
So, in summary, I felt the recording was worth buying to hear some really fine John Williams melodies. If you're looking for more, don't waste your money.
Damien Slattery | Dublin, Ireland | 09/13/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"THOMAS AND THE KING is an odd musical that frequently has some lamentable lyrics by James Harbert that fail to establish the characters (truly horrendous!):
"..Am I weaving dreams?
Tell me is it all
True of false?.. ,"
John Williams' music is worthy of a listen and akin to the style of Frederick Loewe's MY FAIR LADY and CAMELOT. "Improbable as Spring" works very well for its mood (the lyrics work well here) and the sound of harpsichord and high-strings can be beautiful at times. Too often though the lyrics are set to musical time-signatures that are un-singable, with "Look Around You" being particularly egregious.
The singers manage the material well-enough, James Smilie as the King is best, but Lewis Fiander as Thomas (for this recording) is an aural abomination. I cannot believe they got him for a recording session- he has the harshest, most grating, non-singing voice I have ever heard. Really murderous vocalisations that are never on the note.. What on earth were they thinking??!
This recording is really just a novelty. The show itself was butchered by the critics in 1975 and never made it to Broadway."