A Rich Combination of Power and Passion – Captivating & Hyptnotic! Addictive! Superlative! – The best musical ever made – I’m Addicted to “The Phantom of the Opera” – The most magical musical ever to grace the stage
Due to some reported errors concerning part 4, I’ve reloaded it again.
# Composer: Andrew Lloyd Webber
# Vinyl (1987)
# Number of Discs: 2
# Format: Flac
# Label: The Really Useful Group P.L.C. PODV9
# DR-Analysis: DR 12
# ASIN: B000009CMR
# Size: 2.02 GB
# Scan: yes
# Server: FileFactory
It simply does not get any better than the original London Cast Recording of the Phantom of the Opera. Even before I saw this show live, I felt as if I had after enjoying this records set. Since that time I have seen and heard many musicals, and nothing has captured the excitement, the wonder, the magic, or the mystery quite like The Phantom of the Opera. It is a show beyond compare, one that draws you in and takes you on a journey into the imagination. I don’t believe that there will ever be anything like it again.
To say that “Phantom” is a musical made in heaven or that it is a masterpiece of our age is never an overstatement. The stars seemed aligned perfectly (pun intended) at the time of this endeavor, with every detail, even the most minute, finessed to the highest degree of theatrical and musical excellency.
Andrew Lloyd Webber truly outdid himself, both in style and composition. While many of his previous and consequent works feel dated and sound so time specific, “Phantom” is astoundingly timeless. The romantic lyrics by Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe are descriptive and haunting, and coupled with Lloyd Webber’s amazing score makes for a musical that refuses to be forgotten. It seems safe to say that it appears that nothing will ever surpass it in its beauty, majesty, romanticism and piognancy, even something written by Mr. Webber himself!
Michael Crawford as the Phantom and Sarah Brightman as Christine are simply incomparable in their roles as the two principal characters. They both have the most angelic voices I have ever heard, voices that are like no one else on earth. To me, they are two of the most talented performers of our century, and to have them perform together on one album is just a combination made in heaven.
Michael Crawford will always be THE Phantom for me. His haunting tenor is so sweet and light it’s like listening to an angel. It is impossible not to be moved every time, his voice is just so beautiful. I don’t think it is physically possible for sour notes to ever fall from his silvery throat. He sings so smoothly and evenly and with such grace that at times his voice could easily be mistaken for a woman’s, yet it still remains undeniably masculine. He can make even the fiercest passage sound beautiful. His skill in sustaining notes never fails to amaze me, and makes me wonder why this man never was given more parts in theatre that showcased this marvelous talent quite so well. Truly, he has a divine gift for music, and this uniqueness and adaptability makes him one of my all-time favorite singers, not to mention the perfect choice to play the title character.
Anyone who says he isn’t emotive enough as an actor should listen to more of his work on this album. He completely becomes the Phantom; he doesn’t just play him. He makes the Phantom a real person, not just a man on a stage. His total embodiment of the disfigured genius results in a deep-set passion that is instantaneously noticable in all of the Phantom’s vocal moments, whether booming with rage or soft and romantic with ardor. He brings a real life and feeling to a character who otherwise could come off as little more than a hideous madman luring an innocent prima donna to her doom.
Sarah Brightman on the other hand is equally as unique. Her soprano is so crystalline and pure it’s hard to believe she’s actually human. Her range gets into some problematically high notes with ease but is never shrieky. Her voice is one that strums the heartstrings, and her passion is equal to that of her male vocal partner.
Together, their chemistry is amazing. You can feel the electricity between them as they sing, especially noticeable on “The Point of No Return”. Their unique connection is one that I have yet to hear in any current companies of the show.
The other singers on the album shine, and make for a solid and complimentary cast behind the two outstanding principals.
I read Gaston Leroux’s book after hearing the score, but I was happy to find how faithful the adaptation was in the story’s leap from page to stage. The feeling is creepy and mysterious, and the enigma of the Phantom still remains long after we have seen him with our own eyes and have concluded that he is flesh and blood. There is romance, jealousy, drama, and murder, but the core moral is good one: beauty is not always on the surface, and even the ugliest deserve to be loved.
Although I love every single track of this show, I want to highlight some of the numbers that are especially meaningful to me.
One taste of the “Overture” and you know instantly that found your way into the Phantom’s world. The unmistakable chords signal the power and majesty to come with no hint of any respite from the darkness and villany, but, despite the ominous foreshadowing, the light is to come through.
“Think of Me” is begun softly but builds into a roaring crescendo. The first introduction of Christine is done gently but powerfully; The final cadenza at the finale is perfection and soars to a lovely, operatic close.
“Angel of Music”, which begins as a light back-and-forth conversation between Christine and Meg grows into a stirring confrontation with the Phantom himself is undoubtedly one of my favorite moments from the show. The simple, sprightly tune is easy enough to whistle, yet is one of the most lyrical melodies Webber has ever composed.
From there, the music takes a turn to the more rock-inspired. The title song has a steady, compelling beat without being too out-of-place in the world of 1880’s Paris. Crawford and Brightman’s voices are perfectly blended, and they totally embody their roles as pupil and music-master. Their voices are fresh and passionate and never demure. They hold nothing back and are yet not overbearing. The Phantom’s “sing for me…”, hissed passionately toward the closing chord of Christine’s high note, always makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.
“Music of the Night” is perhaps one of the most beautiful songs ever written, and without a doubt top on my list of favorites. Although it was originally meant for for a woman to sing in another of ALW’s shows, the decision of putting it in the masterful hands of Mr. Crawford just brings it to a whole new level. He takes on each passage with an effortless grace and brings the full majesty and loveliness of the piece to the forefront. One can believe they have truly found paradise when they hear him sing those immortal words, “You alone can make my song take flight. Help me make the music of the night.” He really makes it his song and his alone–It couldn’t have sounded better if it had been written especially for him.
“Prima Donna” is a humorous if brief diversion from the ever-present darkness of the Phantom. It is reminiscent of a Gilbert and Sullivan banter-song, but is brought back to reality by the Phantom’s booming warning during the final chords.
“All I Ask of You” is a fittingly romantic duet between the two young lovers. The lyrics are simple and sweet, and convey the proper emotions without being sappy. In other words, it feels like a true love song. The reprise is even more affecting, and brings the first act to a literally crashing close.
The “Entr’acte” is one of the best I’ve heard in any musical or opera. It showcases some well-orchestrated instrumentals of the principal themes from the show in a beautiful arrangement.
“Masquerade” is a unique tune that is difficult to describe or compare, but is one of the most hummable. It is bright and coloful, but, as always, the Phantom is always looming over, and the jaunty thread soon turns ominous as he begins to descend the grand staircase, dressed in the guise of the Masque of the Red Death. You can feel every step he takes as the strings pluck darkly over his descent, finally culminating in a flaring cresendo of anger and fear.
Christine’s lament in the graveyard during “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” is one of sweetness and longing, and is done very well by Sarah Brightman. Though I like the revised version (where the final line of the song is repeated), there is nothing I can find that flaws her performance here.
Perhaps it is the reintroduction of “Angel of Music”, but the “Wandering Child” track gets me every time. The way it builds from a gentle beckoning to a powerful, almost hopeful love-duet before Raoul intervenes to save the day is strangely moving.
“The Point of No Return” is perhaps the most passionate of all the pieces. Done as an opera-within-an-opera, the romantic tension only builds with each bar, ending with the Phantom’s longing solo reprise of “All I Ask Of You”. Crawford’s stealthy seductiveness and Brightman’s eager vivaciousness couple together to create a highly charged atmosphere. You really feel as if she is really prepared to give herself up to Don Juan/The Phantom’s advances.
The “Finale” is as spectacular as any in a grand opera. The weaving of leitmotifs is a nostalgic nod to every previous moment that came before it, and creates a tension between the three main characters that makes a worthy climax to the rest of the show. The final repetition of Music of the Night always brings tears to my eyes, the Phantom’s last line is so touching. “….It’s over now, the music of the night.”
In conclusion, The Phantom of the Opera paints a vivid picture in your mind with its superb score, stirring lyrics, wonderful cast, and a compelling story that keeps you hanging on, breathlessly, until the very last moment. Forget any other recording; buy this one. Classics never go out of style, and I don’t see this one vanishing into oblivion any time soon. You do have to have the proper imagination to appreciate this story–Some people, I know, find that Phantom is not their cup of tea–but you can’t possibly please everybody. Speaking for myself, I am totally satisfied. It excites my imagination to no end with its thrilling story, superb cast, and soaring music. It is a timeless tale with timeless music that will never grow old, and I encourage those who have yet to discover it to take a listen.
|A1||Prologue: The Stage Of The Paris Opéra, 1905||1:54|
|A2||Overture: Act One: Paris 1861||3:05|
|A3||Think Of Me||4:09|
|A4||Angel Of Music||2:20|
|A5||Little Lotte… / The Mirror… (Angel Of Music)||2:49|
|A6||The Phantom Of The Opera||5:02|
|A7||The Music Of The Night||5:41|
|A8||I Remember… / Stranger Than You Dreamt It…||3:21|
|B2||Notes… / Prima Donna||10:55|
|B3||Poor Fool, He Makes Me Laugh||3:06|
|B4||Why Have You Brought Me Here… / Raoul, I’ve Been There…||3:11|
|B5||All I Ask Of You||4:14|
|B6||All I Ask Of You (Reprise)||3:19|
|C1||Entr’acte: Act Two: Six Months Later||3:35|
|C2||Masquerade / Why So Silent…||6:24|
|C3||Notes… / Twisted Every Way…||9:41|
|C4||Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again||3:30|
|D1||Wandering Child… / Bravo, Monsieur…||6:26|
|D2||The Point Of No Return||5:33|
|D3||Down Once More… / Track Down This Murderer…||11:51|
Analyzed folder: /Users/alfredo/Desktop/ HiResMusic/06kALW_POThOp/96k Andrew Lloyd Webber – Phantom Of The Opera
DR Peak RMS Filename
DR24 -1.39 dB -30.13 dB A1 Prologue- The Stage Of The Paris Opera, 1905.wav
DR9 -0.77 dB -12.77 dB A2 Overture- Act One- Paris 1861.wav
DR12 -1.39 dB -19.98 dB A3 Think Of Me.wav
DR12 -4.97 dB -22.78 dB A4 Angel Of Music.wav
DR11 -2.08 dB -19.14 dB A5 Little Lotte… – The Mirror… (Angel Of Music).wav
DR11 -1.20 dB -14.94 dB A6 The Phantom Of The Opera.wav
DR12 -0.62 dB -18.42 dB A7 The Music Of The Night.wav
DR15 -2.44 dB -24.46 dB A8 I Remember… – Stranger Than You Dreamt It….wav
DR12 -3.13 dB -23.45 dB B1 Magical Lasso….wav
DR11 -0.45 dB -16.95 dB B2 Notes… – Prima Donna.wav
DR11 -0.00 dB -16.06 dB B3 Poor Fool, He Makes Me Laugh.wav
DR13 -0.38 dB -20.34 dB B4 Why Have You Brought Me Here… – Raoul, I’ve Been There….wav
DR11 -0.20 dB -16.93 dB B5 All I Ask Of You.wav
DR10 -0.44 dB -16.15 dB B6 All I Ask Of You (Reprise).wav
DR12 -0.35 dB -16.65 dB C1 Entr’acte- Act Two- Six Months Later.wav
DR13 -2.17 dB -19.24 dB C2 Masquerade – Why So Silent….wav
DR13 -0.67 dB -20.83 dB C3 Notes… – Twisted Every Way….wav
DR11 -2.20 dB -19.70 dB C4 Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again.wav
DR12 -1.03 dB -17.56 dB D1 Wandering Child… – Bravo, Monsieur….wav
DR12 -0.22 dB -16.67 dB D2 The Point Of No Return.wav
DR11 -0.12 dB -16.90 dB D3 Down Once More… – Track Down This Murderer….wav
Number of files: 21
Official DR value: DR12
- Bass – Arthur Watts, Chris Lawrence*, Frank Clarke, Nick Worters, Paul Cullington
- Bass, Bass Guitar – David Rose (2)
- Bassoon – Peter Whittaker
- Cello – Chris Green (4), Earnest Greaves*, Justin Pearson, Norman Jones (2), Robert Norris, Robin Firman
- Clarinet – Steve Pierce (4)
- Conductor – Michael Reed (2)
- Design – Dewynters Limited*
- Design [Production] – Maria Björnson
- Directed By – Harold Prince
- Directed By [Production Musical] – David Caddick
- Engineer – Martin Levan
- Flute, Piccolo Flute – Alexa Turpin
- Flute, Saxophone, Clarinet – Chris Gradwell
- Harp – Sheila Bromberg
- Horn – Daniel Emond, Derek Taylor (3), Keith Riby, Michael Dore (2), Nicholas Busch*
- Keyboards – Callum McLeod, Mike Stanley (2), Paul Maguire, Rod Argent
- Leader – Perry Montagu-Mason*
- Lighting – Andrew Bridge
- Liner Notes – Andrew Lloyd Webber
- Oboe, Cor Anglais – Keith Marshall (2)
- Orchestra – Phantom Orchestra, The (2)
- Orchestrated By – Andrew Lloyd Webber, David Cullen
- Other [Book By] – Andrew Lloyd Webber, Richard Stilgoe
- Percussion – Dave Locke, Stan Barratt*
- Presenter – Cameron Mackintosh, Really Useful Theatre Company Ltd, The
- Producer [Original London Cast Recording] – Andrew Lloyd Webber
- Sound Designer – Martin Levan
- Stage Manager, Choreography – Gillian Lynne
- Supervised By [Production Musical] – David Caddick
- Trombone – Richard Wall
- Trumpet – Graham Ashton, Howard Evans, Norman Archibald
- Viola – Alan Smyth (2), Bill Jones (4), Brian Mack, David Bellman, George Robertson, Jeremy White (2), John Meck, Ken Essex, Linda Court, Michael Cookson, Norris Bosworth, Roger Welch
- Violin – Alison Kelly, Celia Sheen, Colin Staveley, David Randall, Frances Walker, Geoffrey Grey, Gordon Buchan, Hans Geiger, Homi Kanga, John Willison, Ken Hogg, Laurie Lewis (5), Mark Berrow, Mark Thomas (4), Bill Reid*
- Vocals [Don Attilio (In ‘Il Muto’), Passarino] – James Patterson (2)
- Vocals [Flunky, Stagehand] – Justin Church
- Vocals [Innkeeper’s Wife (In ‘Don Juan Triumphant’)] – Jill Washington
- Vocals [Monsieur Firmin] – John Savident
- Vocals [Monsieur Lefèvre] – David Jackson (7)
- Vocals [Page In ‘Don Juan Triumphant’] – Janet Howd, Sue Flannery
- Vocals [Policeman] – Mostyn Evans
- Vocals [Porter, Marksman, Fop (In ‘Il Muto’)] – David De Van
- Vocals [Princess (In ‘Hannibal’)] – Maria Kesselman
- Vocals [Slave Master (In ‘Hanibal’)] – Peter Bishop
- Vocals [Warderobe Mistress, Confidante (In ‘Il Muto’)] – Peggy Ann Jones
Recorded at EMI Studios, Abbey Rd, London and at Audio International Studios, London.
Cut at The Master Room, London.
- RCM: Okki Nokki
- TT: Clearaudio Champion Level II
- System: Special Edition Denon DL 103
- Phono stage: Pro-Ject Phono Box II
- Pre Amp: Unison Research Unico Pre (Tube)
- ADC/DAC: RME Fireface UC
- Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
- Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
- Connections: MIT Terminator, Audioquest Emerald, Audioquest Quartz
- Software: iZotope RX Advanced v2.02, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
- Light de-Clicking with ClickRepair, significant clicks manually removing, no De-Noising
If You hear some clicks and pops here and there, Who cares?
Id rather have a few light anomalies instead of destroying the music. Enjoy the music, not the ticks & pops.
- DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
- Converting Wave -> Flac: Twisted Wave 1.9
- Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5
If you like what i do, please consider that a little donation would be very appreciate. I reinvest all donations in maintenance of my rig, for purchasing cleaning solutions and, most important of all, purchasing of new vinyls.
Click on the “Donate”-button. Thank you very much !
Download from FileFactory