March 12, 2018  //  By:   //  CDs, Reviews  //  Comments are off

This week, musical theatre composer Andrew Lloyd Webber celebrates his 70th birthday and to commemorate this milestone achievement, a greatest hits collection of his work is being released on Friday 16 March, 2018.

Featuring songs from the start of his career (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) to his latest work almost fifty years on (School of Rock), there is something to be enjoyed by everyone.

Available in two formats, a 2CD edition with some of his best known classics such as The Phantom of the Opera and Music of the Night from the original cast recording of Phantom, to songs by Michael Ball (Love Changes Everything from Aspects of Love), Marti Webb (Take That Look Off Your Face from Tell Me On A Sunday), Donny Osmond (Any Dream Will Do from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), Boyzone (No Matter What from Whistle Down The Wind), Glenn Close (As If We Never Said Goodbye from Sunset Boulevard), Elaine Paige (Rainbow High from Evita) and even Madonna’s rendition of Oh What A Circus from the film adaptation of Evita which she sang with Antonia Banderas.

The 2CD collection features some rare recordings that you won’t find on regular cast recordings. Nicole Scherzinger singing Memory from Cats which she performed in the West End production, You Must Love From from Evita sung by Lana Del Ray and a lovely rendition of With One Look from Sunset Boulevard, sung by the legendary Barbra Streisand.

More hardcore fans might like to invest in the 4CD version (featuring a 40 page book, including notes from Lloyd Webber himself with in-depth notes on each track). The third CD is a kind of best-of-the-rest with more songs from Joseph (with Donny Osmond), Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar (including Heaven On Their Minds sung by Tim Minchin live on the show’s Arena Tour and King Herod’s Song sung by rock god Alice Cooper). There are even a couple of songs from one of Lloyd Webber’s most recent West End flop, Stephen Ward (which I think is actually some of his best songwriting).

CD4 is a mixture of overtures and showstoppers from Lloyd Webber’s career, which feature newly composted orchestral suites, emphasising the orchestral aspects of his work. Those who love Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music on it’s own will enjoy this CD as it is overtures galore, as well as a rather funky instrumental edition of The Jellicle Ball from Cats!

Unmasked: The Platinum Collection is a nice collection of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s body of work from the last fifty years and is worth listening to as it does feature some rare and never heard before tracks. I wasn’t quite sure how the track-listing was decided though. There is no real structure to it and songs just seen to be thrown around willy-nilly (songs from School of Rock are spread across the first three CD’s) perhaps dividing each disc in to particular shows would have helped to give an overall feeling of each production throughout the years, rather that putting them around sporadically. Nonetheless though, its well worth checking out.

Reviewed by West End Wilma


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