Monday, April 30, 2018

Sights & Sounds: Specials, Scores, Musicals and More

Fans of one-of-a-kind specials, soundtracks and cinematic-related scores should check out several great new commercial titles available now. 

Title: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: In Concert (Time Life)
You might like if you enjoy: The Beatles, classic rock, soul, alt-country
Tell me more: It's hard not to be blown away watching the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: In Concert, a release available on Blu-ray and DVD featuring the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction speeches and performances from 2014-2017. With 674 minutes of content, there are guaranteed thrills for everyone along the way. Among this music lover's highlights among the 53 (!) performances was Peter Gabriel's powerful "Digging in the Dirt," Carrie Underwood singing the Michael Nesmith-penned "Different Drum" in tribute to Linda Ronstadt, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts performing "Crimson and Clover" and being joined by the song's composer Tommy James along with Dave Grohl and Miley Cyrus, and Beck adding an anthemic quality to the late Lou Reed's "Satellite of Love" with the help of a few friends (Roger Joseph Manning Jr., Nate Ruess, Jason Falkner and Paul Shaffer & the Hall of Fame Orchestra). The entire section featuring Ringo Starr's Award for Musical Excellence is terrific, with both Paul McCartney and Starr shedding insight and humor into the Fab Four's beginnings and subsequent performances of "Boys" (with Starr joined by Green Day), "It Don't Come Easy" (featuring Joe Walsh on 12-string guitar, you can watch the performance of "It Don't Come Easy" via this link)) and the rousing finale with Starr, McCartney, Walsh, Beck and others joining forces. Among the standout performances at 2016's ceremony that shine are Deep Purple blazing through the classic "Highway Star" and Cheap Trick's full original lineup teaming up for a jubilant rocking set ("I Want You To Want Me," "Dream Police," "Surrender" and "Ain't That a Shame"). You can watch the performance of of "I Wan't You To Want Me" via this link). The 2017 ceremony led off with a outstanding sets from ELO; other strong sets came courtesy of Joan Baez, Yes and Pearl Jam. Information:

Title: Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert  - Original Soundtrack of the NBC Television Event (Masterworks Broadway)
You might like if you enjoy: The music of Andrew Lloyd Webber
Tell me more: The airing of Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert on NBC-TV on April 1, 2018 (Easter Sunday) drew an estimated 10 million viewers and reintroduced the power of the enduring rock opera created by lyricist Tim Rice and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber in the early 1970s. The live TV musical is now available as a 2CD audio set and will please fans of those who caught the special earlier this month. Soul singer John Legend (a 10-time Grammy winner) is featured as Jesus Christ and the rest of the cast is just as strong, notably Sara Barelles (Mary Magdalene), Alice Cooper (King Herod), Brandon Victor Dixon (Judas) and Jason Tam (Peter). Other members of the cast include Ben Daniels (Pontius Pilate), Norm Lewis (Caiaphas), Jin Ha (Annas) and Swedish rock star Erik Grönwall (Simon Zealotes). Legend's vocals are up to the task for the wide range of emotions he conveys in the demanding role of Jesus, notably on the foreboding "Gethsemane (I Only Wanted to Say)" and "The Last Supper" as well as on the tragic "The Arrest" and "The Crucifixion." Among the strong performances featuring Barelles are  "Everything's Alright" and the tender "I Don't Know How to Love Him." Another standout on the recording is "King Herod's Song," a zealous turn from Cooper. Dixon and the ensemble of singers' voices soar on the gospel-styled "Superstar." Information:

Title: Orphan Black: The DNA Sampler - Music From The Television Series (Varèse Sarabande Records)
You might like if you enjoy: The music featured on the TV series "Orphan Black"
Tell me more: Those who love to be challenged by a mix of modern, vintage and indie music styles will love the vibe and mix of material on Orphan Black: The DNA Sampler - Music From The Television Series. While nothing on the set sounds decidedly similar to anything else, isn't that what makes going to Coachella or listening to independent radio so fun? After the lush introduction via the wistful theme from the series (performed by Two Fingers), there is the edgy electro-dance "Bodyline" from Peaches and urban-styled "Smash It Up" from The (International) Noise Conspiracy to lead things off. The Belle Game's dreamy "Blame Fiction" and a sassy cover of "These Boots Are Made For Walkin', the latter performed in German, are other early highlights. Among the other far-flung favorites positioned on the collection is the melancholy-drenched "Farewell (Tavern in the Town) performed by Self-Titled Studios featuring Mary Margaret O'Hara and the punkish "Go" from Grimes. Information:

Title: Nostalgia: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
You might like if you enjoy: The music of composer Laurent Eyquem, James Newton Howard
Tell me more: Beautiful and immersed in luxurious moodscapes, Nostalgia: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack has a beautiful and moving flow that spans the entire 11-track disc. Produced by composer Laurent Eyquem and featuring his own affecting performances on the piano, the score is simply sumptuous. The score is also bolstered by the cello of Erich Kory and solo trumpet of Ron Di Lauro. Information:

Title: I Kill Giants: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
You might like if you enjoy: John Williams
Tell me more:  Composer Laurent Perez Del Mar's score for I Kill Giants works within or apart from the companion fantasy film directed by Anders Walter. The sweeping "The Forest," tender "Karen" and evocative "Thousand Times" are particularly stirring. "Fight the Forest Giant" recalls some of composer Howard Shore's dynamic work for the "Lord of the Rings" films. In addition to Del Mar's great instrumental score, the textured song "Under the Stars" (performed by London Grammar) and enticing "Something So Strong" (courtesy of Rasmus Walter) further enhance the 17-track collection. Information:

Robert Kinsler

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