Little Night Music: Original Cast Recording
(1973/Sondheim/Sony/Vocalion Hybrid Super Audio CD/SA-CD/SACD)/Summer
(1950/MGM/Blu-ray/*both Warner Archive)
B-/C/B-/X/B Sound: C+/C/B/B+ B B-/B- Extras: C/D/C/C-/C
Main Programs: B-/C/B-/B/B-
Little Night Music
Import Super Audio CD is now only available from our friends at
Vocalion, can play on all CD players through its CD layer but needs
an SA-CD player to play the ultra high definition audio tracks, while
supplies last, while In
are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive
series. All can be ordered from the links below.
for a solid block of music releases, some of which are remarkable or
have something special to offer....
(2018) is a long overdue documentary one one of the most important
figures in Rock and Pop music from Canada: Randy Bachman. Serving as
a biography of the man, the two big bands he was in, a rare look at
Canada, its music scene and the music industry in that period, we get
much to see in it too-short 78 minutes. This could have (and should
have) been at least a little longer (could someone have asked the man
some key questions?) but we get interview moments from him, his
family and music people who were there like Neil Young, Paul
Schaffer, Peter Frampton, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Chris Jericho, Alex
Lifeson of Rush, actor Bruce Greenwood and a new generation of
musicians who get it about Bachman.
on his own, then joining local bands, one of them slowly becomes the
Guess Who? And thinking singer Burton Cummings has a great voice,
that becomes the band with all the hits we all know and love, many
penned by the two or by Bachman himself (These
until Bachman has issues with the band and he is dropped from the
group. They stop having hits, though Cummings has a solid solo
eventually becomes the co-founder of Bachman-Turner Overdrive and a
new set of hits (You
Ain't Seen Nothing Yet,
Care Of Business)
leads to more worldwide hits (and proves The Guess Who? Probably had
a few more classic in them together with Cummings doing so well on
his own) until that comes to an end. We'll save the rest, the
beginning and other items in-between for you to see, but any serious
music fan should check this one out.
include Additional Interview clips and a Theatrical Trailer.
(1935) was RKO Studio's attempt to give Ginger Rogers a showcase that
would make her a bigger star by having her play one in this comedy
that has a few musical numbers, but is not a musical. She starts by
playing a woman with a veil over her face as if she was the victim of
disfigurement and playing the sympathies of a young man, only for it
to b e a rouse. No disfigurement underneath, but hiding from her
fame as she is a movie star.
humor in the 87 minutes now plays like a bad sitcom and though Rogers
looks good and is convincing enough as a star, not always does that
play well in this piece that wants to emulate a screwball comedy
without the actual energy. Also, though one is used to smoking in
older films being all over the place, this one makes it look like a
tobacco company ad without a declared product.
two songs she sings (one is in a movie within a movie) are not very
memorable and that makes this all a curio for only the most
many years, we have covered many Rossini works, but only one other
time did we cover his popular Le
and it was a Blu-ray a few years ago...
few years later, we have a newer performance
(from 2017) from the same distributor (Naxos) and it is a little
longer, but on par quality-wise with the previous release (details on
the story in the previous review) in both playback and content.
Phillipe Talbot leads the cast with Conductor Louis Langree, Stage
Director Denis Podalydes and Video Director Vincent Massip with the
Champs-Elysses Orchestra. You'd do well with either version, the
makers really care about the original work and that both turned out
as well as they did is a plus.
Of A Summer Night
(1956) was a rare comedy from the intellectual, sometimes
existentialist filmmaker from Sweden who was on a roll ion art houses
all over the world by the early 1970s, so it is timely that Stephen
Sondheim found himself with a stage musical classic when he created A
Little Night Music.
By 1973, The
Original Cast Recording
was issued and it was a hit with a great cast that includes Glynis
Johns, Len Cariou, Hermione Gingold, Barbara Long, Mark Lambert and
Beth Fowler in a musical that ushered in a new kind of approach to
the genre and created an instant classic in the hit ''Send
In The Clowns''
recorded at the time outside of this release by Judy Collins and many
Columbia Records (now owned by Sony) valued the release so much, it
was issued at the time in a 4-track Quadraphonic version that has
hardly been heard since and is a rare cast album of the period that
got that treatment, so on its 45th Anniversary in 2018, the great
Vocalion label in the U.K. reissued it in its 4-track form from the
original master tape in the ever underrated Hybrid Super Audio
Compact Disc format and it is now the best you'll ever hear the
it is not a hit-you-over-the-head experience, hearing it in
4-channels makes this more open, naturalistic and you can really take
in the singing and music in a way that has more impact and without
trying so hard. It also confirms how good and ahead of his time
is. Lovers of musicals, his work and the stage will want to get this
audiophile copy of the album, even for the CD tracks (more below on
the playback) and a nice booklet with a new essay and some great
illustrations is included.
been lucky enough to cover more Sondheim than you might think,
including the following that might interest you...
Cook: Mostly Sondheim
we have Charles Walters' Summer
(1950) which brings Gene Kelly back together with Judy Garland in
what would be her last film for MGM after being one of its most
important and lasting stars. She runs a farm that is having some
trouble when her sister (Gloria DeHaven) brings her own group of
theater friends to stage a production at their barn! This does not
sit well with Garland or her mom (Marjorie Main) but they eventually
is being pushed into a marriage she does not really want to be in and
then meets Kelly, who you know will figure better in her life when
they eventually, slowly fall for each other. Eddie Bracken, Phil
Silvers and Ray Collins help round out the cast of what is a
backstage musical, rural as it is. It is not great, but has its
moments and at the last minute, the studio inserted Garland singing
which is better than any of the other decent songs they started with
and her last classic at the studio.
that this is not a folk musical despite the location because
inanimate objects like brooms and clocks do not start dancing.
Warner Archive has issued this in a pretty well-restored edition
including extras: Original Theatrical Trailer, audio only of the cut
MGM Technicolor cartoon The
live-action short Did'ja
and featurette Summer
Stock: Get Happy
made a few decades ago on Garland and the film.
for playback quality. The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition
image on Bachman
has some good new HD-shot footage (especially interviews) and some
great stills, plus old analog video and some fine film clips, so the
experience is going to be a little uneven as expected, but plays just
fine otherwise. The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image
transfer on Comte
may be an all-new HD shoot, but the format has some inherent motion
blur, though color is consistent and the shoot itself is not bad.
leaves the 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on
the best performer here despite being the second oldest release on
the list, sometimes showing the age of the materials used, but this
is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film and
restored well enough. Originally issued on 35mm film in
dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints (if you have one, its
very valuable), the version here is usually up to the high quality of
that 'glorious' format.
1.33 X 1 black & white image on Person
is sadly a generation or two down from an older (or older) sources,
but still has some decent shots to enjoy. The lossy Dolby Digital
2.0 Mono is also a bit rough with background noise, down at least a
generation and could use some work, but has no major issues in
Little Night Music
has no image, but is the best release here sonically in its 4-track
ultra high definition DSD (Direct Stream Digital) 4.0 presentation
with a very pleasant soundstage and smoothness even the DTS-HD MA
(Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Comte
lacks despite being a new recording with a solid soundfield and being
the second best performer on the list. Music
also offers a DSD 2.0 Stereo track that will rival any vinyl copy and
PCM 16/44.1 2.0 Stereo track that is fine, but no match for either
DSD option. Comte
also has a PCM 2.0 Stereo mix for older systems, but it is not as
good as its 5.1 version. Serious fans need a home theater system.
was a monophonic optical theatrical release, so its DTS-HD MA (Master
Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix is as good as it will ever sound, but at
least MGM recorded the music as well as they could.
for some reason, Bachman
sadly settles for a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix when at least PCM
Stereo would have been better, so you can hear everything, but the
music suffers too much (a few Guess Who albums already received SA-CD
4.0 releases as of this posting) so that hurts the presentation, but
the recording is fine otherwise if slightly disappointing.
can order the A
Little Night Music
hybrid SA-CD directly from Vocalion at this link...
to order either the Summer
Warner Archive Blu-ray or In
DVD, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive