Hit or Miss

New recording of Candide

I’m a big fan of Bernstein’s Candide, and have most of the various recordings of the score.  They run the gamut from the very spritely, youthful 1974 environmental staging to the very operatic (and lethargic) final revised version conducted by Bernstein in 1991.  But not since the original Broadway cast recording has the proper balance of music and theatricality been struck — until now.

The recently closed Royal National Theatre production of Candide was recorded by First Night Records, who just released the recording on their website.  It’s a little pricey, but there’s no American release of the recording planned, so it’s either buy from them or at the import price at Footlight Records.  Sadly, the proposed videorecording of the production did not come to pass.

The disc is a generous 74 minutes and includes more of the score than other non-operatic productions.  Though I miss Pangloss’s section in “Auto Da Fe,” other treats like “Money, Money, Money” and the “Chorale” are present.  The real find of the recording is the excellent, dramatic performance of “Nothing More Than This,” which I had mostly ignored in previous recordings.  It benefits from a faster tempo and a very different orchestration.  Here’s a portion of the track.

I’m a unabashed Anglophile, so I enjoyed the mixture of British accents (especially Daniel Evans sexy and slightly Irish sounding Candide).  And Alex Kelly’s Cunegonde is truly a rival of Barbara Cook’s original performance!

All in all, this is the “best of all possible” Candide recordings and a definate must for any fan of the score!

(If this recording has been listed on Epinions, I would have posted this review there)