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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Vocals > Broadway > Standards > Barbara Cook - Mostly Sondheim

Barbara Cook – Mostly Sondheim

 

Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: C+     Concert: B

 

 

I had not heard much about Barbara Cook, but knew she was very respected and thought it would be interesting to hear her in concert.  This may not be a substitute for a trip to Broadway, but doing the songs of Stephen Sondheim is a plus.  Barbara Cook – Mostly Sondheim is a the DVD-Video version of a recent CD release where she is joined by music director Wally Harper and wow, is she good!

 

This is a vocalist who is a veteran, has exceptional command of phrasing, still has a great voice, and really loves this material.  From her comments in-between the songs and the specific choices, both she and the material continue to grow in influence and it creates a great school of thought and expression very much worth experiencing.  The songs are:

 

1)     Everybody Say Don’t

2)     Buds Won’t Bud

3)     I Wonder What Became Of Me?

4)     The Eagle & Me

5)     I Had Myself A True Love

6)     Another Hundred People/So Many People

7)     In Buddy’s Eyes

8)     I Got Lost In His Arms

9)     You Can’t Get A Man With A Gun

10)  Medley: Hard Hearted Hannah/Waiting For The Robert E. Lee/San Francisco

11)  When In Rome (Do As The Romans Do)

12)  Happiness

13)  Loving You

14)  You Could Drive A Person Crazy

15)  Send In The Clowns

16)  Ice Cream (Vanilla)

17)  Not A Day Goes By/Losing My Mind

18)  The Trolley Song

19)  Anyone Can Whistle

 

 

At first, I did not know what to expect, but the more I watched, the better it got.  It also reminded me that Sondheim’s work is not heard enough.  DRG Records, Cook’s label, was smart to get this show out on DVD.  It is well done, lasts about 90 minutes and could even be the beginning of a DVD series if DRG and Koch set their minds to it.  I also hope Cook gets a larger audience out of this, because for all her talent, she should be more popular.

 

The full frame 1.33 X 1 NTSC video is good for a recent taping, but I kept wishing it was 16 X 9.  Nevertheless, it is directed with no surprises.  The sound is available in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo with some Pro Logic surround information and a slightly better 5.1 mix.  Too bad there was no DTS here, but her voice is unmistakably on the money.  Extras include a Cook discography, a great 17+ minutes long Master Class at Kennedy Center piece with Cook as host, and Cook interview taped after that class.  Some of the 6:36 segment is sampled in the Class piece.  Barbara Cook – Mostly Sondheim is a pleasant surprise that everyone should enjoy.

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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