What's Hot Among Recent Record Releases

Special Features   What's Hot Among Recent Record Releases


HIT MAKERS: Martin Guerre is the latest musical from Alain Boublil and Claude Michel Schonberg, the award-winning team that has given us Les Miserables and Miss Saigon. An intimate tale of passion and prejudice, Guerre also resonates within a larger context of a community in social turmoil. The musical, which opened to mixed reviews in London's West End, recently shut down for a few days so that changes could be incorporated into the production. Some of these changes are reflected in the recent one-CD release of the London cast recording on DreamWorks Records. The highlight of the score, which features a 27-piece symphonic orchestra, is the stirring duet "All I Know," sung by Arnaud (Iain Glen) and Bertrande (Juliette Caton). Other great tunes: "The Imposters" and the title song.

EVITA, EVITA: Thousands of Evitaphiles let out a small gasp when it was first announced that Madonna would star in the long-awaited film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Evita: They needn't have worried. Although the pop icon doesn't possess the thrilling vocals of either Patti LuPone (B'way's Eva) or Elaine Paige (London), Madonna holds her own with the demanding score, delivering subtly shaded renditions of the multi-award-winning score. She is at her best in the seductive "I'd Be Surprisingly Good For You," a duet with Jonathan Pryce's Peron, and in "Another Suitcase," a song usually delivered by Peron's mistress. The real surprise of the recording, however, is Antonio Banderas, who ignites the role of Che with his powerful, rock-flavored sound. Listen to the sparks that fly between him and Madonna on "Waltz for Eva and Che."

SOUND BYTES: Opera singer Dawn Upshaw has released her second crossover album on Nonesuch Records. Entitled Dawn Upshaw Sings Rodgers & Hart the singer lends her thrilling soprano to such timeless classics as "A Ship Without a Sail" and "I Didn't Know What Time it Was." . . .Brian Lane Green, best known to TV audiences for his work on "All My Children," currently stars in the national tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Coinciding with his stint in this Lloyd Webber musical is the release of his debut solo album, Brian Lane Green. Green, who possesses a big, rich baritone, sings an eclectic mix of material by such composers as Craig Carnelia and Johnny Mercer. Available from LML Music.

Twiggy possesses one of the more unique sounds of any singer in recent history, which is probably what prompted actor/dancer/director/choreographer Tommy Tune to admit, "When Twiggy sings, I always listen. She's compelling. That catch in her voice, the purity, the feeling, the honesty, the innate style. She's a natural." You can judge for yourself on her latest recording London Pride: Songs from the London Stage. Available from Varese Sarabande, the recording includes such popular hits as "On My Own" from Les Miserables, "I Don't Know How To Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar and rarities like Cole Porter's "The Physician" from Nymph Errant. Also of note are two Noel Coward tunes: "London Pride" and the beautiful ballad, "If Love Were All." -- By Andrew Gans

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