Mandy Patinkin Sings Sondheim

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Barnes & Noble - William Pearl
That Mandy Patinkin loves the music of Stephen Sondheim is obvious from this wondrous recital. Linking 34 songs -- all given full readings -- from Broadway’s premier composer in a concert format, Patinkin reasserts both the distinction and durability of Sondheim’s work and his own assurance as a dramatic performer. Although Patinkin chose his favorite songs rather than working up a thematically linked program, the selections do present a broad yet related picture of the vicissitudes and joys of love and art. Patinkin doesn’t try to present a Sondheim retrospective, either -- as if one could in a single night’s presentation. But in embracing material from such varied ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - William Pearl
That Mandy Patinkin loves the music of Stephen Sondheim is obvious from this wondrous recital. Linking 34 songs -- all given full readings -- from Broadway’s premier composer in a concert format, Patinkin reasserts both the distinction and durability of Sondheim’s work and his own assurance as a dramatic performer. Although Patinkin chose his favorite songs rather than working up a thematically linked program, the selections do present a broad yet related picture of the vicissitudes and joys of love and art. Patinkin doesn’t try to present a Sondheim retrospective, either -- as if one could in a single night’s presentation. But in embracing material from such varied shows as Sunday in the Park with George, Follies, A Little Night Music, and Into the Woods, the singer gives a full impression of Sondheim’s spectacular versatility and richness. With a flexible range that allows him to even take on material shaped for female vocalists, Patinkin completely inhabits the material; his superb diction allowing us to savor each of Sondheim’s chiseled lyrics. Accompanied only by a sharp-eared pianist, Patinkin transforms Sings Sondheim into a love letter of a one-man show.
All Music Guide - Adam Greenberg
Recorded live in concert in Philadelphia, this album features Mandy Patinkin running through a number of Sondheim's works fresh off of a string of performances by Patinkin in Sunday in the Park With George. The songs covered are presented in a manner definitely less than chronological, but instead in an order with some meaning to Patinkin at least according to his introduction in the liner notes. The format is straightforward, with each song beginning immediately after the previous; no breaks taken and no chatting with the audience indulged in as is usually Patinkin's habit. Patinkin is an outstanding singer, with an intimate knowledge of the lyrical content of Sondheim's works, which is arguably the most important aspect in his pieces. He's able to run through the high speed pitter-patter lyrics that were essential to some of the songs. His vocal range gets rather tested in the high ends from time to time, but as long as he stays in a decent middle range, he can power the songs just as needed, switching back to softer, gentler vocals as needed as well. Pianist and co-arranger Paul Ford also provides some ample ability in accompaniment. While Sondheim had only one real hit, Patinkin treats each song with the same reverence of a Broadway follower. It might get a bit melodramatic at times, but that's really part of the point of Broadway in the first place. For someone looking for a nice introduction to Sondheim's sound, this wouldn't make a bad start. For those who are already aficionados of the collection of music, this vocalist might not be a bad one to hear. Either way, the album deserves a listen or two.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/29/2002
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • UPC: 075597969023
  • Catalog Number: 79690

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Mandy Patinkin Primary Artist, Vocals
Paul Ford Piano
Technical Credits
Stephen Sondheim Lyricist
Mandy Patinkin Arranger, Producer, Liner Notes
Robert Hurwitz Executive Producer
Joe Lambert Mastering
Tom Lazarus Producer, Engineer
Paul Ford Arranger, Producer
Michael McCoy Engineer
Gregg Schaufeld Editorial Coordinator
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    hard to listen straight through but lots of gems

    I'm a big Sondheim fan & I like Patinkin too. This live recording from a show of just the singer & piano was probably terrific in person, but there is a sameness to the texture of the songs when listened to end-to-end. Sondheim is a musical dramatist at his best, and his songs have a context in the plays, and these performances with just piano really miss out on the musical variety that would have been achieved with fuller orchestration, or even some other singers. However, when I put my CD jukebox on random & heard one song at a time after hearing other music in between, I certainly enjoy each one. So I'm glad I have the CD in my collection, but it's not a CD that I will play from beginning to end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Pure Mandy, with a little less Steve than Usual

    If you know the Sondheim material mostly from the recordings of the shows, you may be disappointed by the rendering given by Patinkin. He is acting these songs, more than he is singing them, so the dynamics go all over the place. His glorious voice gets a good showing, though, and after a listen or two I bonded with this tour de force of an evening with Patinkin.

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