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West Side Story (Original Soundtrack Recording)
Irwin Kostal, Leonard Bernstein
West Side Story (Original Soundtrack Recording)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
  •  Track Listings (19) - Disc #1

Leonard Bernstein's musical update of Romeo and Juliet, with a young Stephen Sondheim's brilliant lyrics, had already galvanized Broadway with its vivid reinvention as a parable of racial intolerance and generational confl...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Irwin Kostal, Leonard Bernstein
Title: West Side Story (Original Soundtrack Recording)
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 2
Label: Sony
Release Date: 5/18/2004
Album Type: Extra tracks, Original recording remastered, Soundtrack
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
Styles: Musicals, Traditional Vocal Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
Other Editions: West Side Story (1961 Film Soundtrack)
UPC: 696998922624

Leonard Bernstein's musical update of Romeo and Juliet, with a young Stephen Sondheim's brilliant lyrics, had already galvanized Broadway with its vivid reinvention as a parable of racial intolerance and generational conflict. But director Robert Wise's lavish widescreen presentation broke fresh ground by taking the story to its most impressionable audience, the teenagers who could identify directly with Tony and Maria, and opened up Jerome Robbins's kinetic choreography through bravura camera work. The original soundtrack album was not merely a huge seller but a unique touchstone for an otherwise rock-oriented audience, and its release on CD benefits from an expanded program untenable in its initial LP release, as well as a 20-bit digital transfer. With Richard Beymer, Marni Nixon (Hollywood's vocal doppelgänger of choice, here standing in for Natalie Wood), and Rita Moreno dominating, the show's bounty of terrific songs and exciting instrumental pieces remains an ear-filling treat, mixing operatic passions, tart social commentary, and high comedy. From "Tonight" to "One Hand, One Heart," "America" to "Jet Song," this is a landmark in American musical theatre and film beautifully realized on disc. --Sam Sutherland

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CD Reviews

Get this, but don't stop there
Dan3 | 10/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Most people are trying to choose between this (the movie soundtrack) and the Original Broadway Cast recording. I am here outlining the principal differences between these two CDs.

1) The movie soundtrack contains the entire Dance at the Gym sequence, some of the best music in West Side Story. PLUS there is an absolutely tremendous trumpet player who takes an extended solo in the Mambo that has to be heard to be believed. It's not in the music, so you won't find it anywhere but here. The Original Broadway Cast recording starts at the second half of the Mambo, and leaves out the Blues number entirely (among others).
[Edit 11/17/2005: I recently learned that trumpet player's name is Uan Rasey. He is the same guy who plays on lots of old movie soundtracks, including An American In Paris and Chinatown.]

2) Jim Bryant (on the movie soundtrack) goes up to this great high note at the end of Something's Coming that Larry Kert does not attempt in the Broadway recording. Again, not in the music, but amazing.

3) The movie version of America, pitting the Sharks against their girlfriends, is far superior.

4) The movie's Prologue has been revised, and now includes the "Cool" theme as well as *most* of the original material. The two themes are interwoven in an interesting way. But you do lose a couple of great moments from the original...

5) There is no ballet sequence in the movie! Very unfortunate.

6) Much of the singing is done more musically in the Broadway Cast recording, by Larry Kert and Carol Lawrence; pay attention to their diction and phrasing, it's no contest.

7) Many of the songs (e.g. Cool) were reorchestrated for the movie, adding things like electric guitar and bass, and they're a little tacky. (If you're familiar with the music from playing it, or just know the original really well, these will drive you crazy.)

The Symphonic Dances (bonus material on the Broadway recording) are of little interest. Bernstein apparently thought some of the most gorgeous themes were too sappy for the symphony audience, so you won't hear "Tonight" or "I Have a Love" in the entire suite. West Side Story without "Tonight" is just not West Side Story.

A note: stay away from ALL RECORDINGS BUT THESE TWO! Nothing else comes close.

West Side Story is as good as music gets. There's no excuse for skimping out here, do yourself a favor and buy two CDs of it."
The best recording to date of an achingly beautiful score.
Dan3 | 06/13/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Having grown up on the original Broadway cast recording, I was skeptical about the movie soundtrack, but its musical direction is impeccable and turning "America" into a boys v. girls number is inspired. The cd's addition of previously unreleased dance music makes the experience more complete. Even Bernstein's own recording with his hand-picked cast (Te Kanawa, Carreras, etc.) can't match the vivacity and excitement of the soundtrack. Bravo to all!"
Still not all there!
marknyc | 07/19/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I bought this assuming it would restore all the material cut for the LP, but was saddened to find it didn't. The same cut in the "Prologue" that was made for the LP appears here - about a minute. So one of Bernstein's nicer themes is never heard on the CD or LP.There is new material, but a lot of it has dialogue over it! Who wants to listen to dialogue scenes over and over again? Bad decision.Finally, it's nice to see Marni Nixon and Jim Bryant get their proper credit, but Betty Wand did >not< sing "America" or the "Quintet" - those are both Rita Moreno, who has a great voice but couldn't sing "A Boy Like That" since it was below her range. So let's credit the shadow-singers, but let's not get carried away!"