I’ve listened to the Sound of Music television cast album* once through. Carrie Underwood is inoffensive but is not going to be anyone’s favorite recorded Maria. Ironically, I liked her best in “Something Good,” which is a song I detest.
Audra is the star of the recording for me. Her “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” is pure delight, taking full advantage of her smoky low register and her thrilling top notes. The entire chorus of nuns has a lot of fun with “Maria” too.
Laura Benanti is sort of affecting a snootiness that is appropriate to the character but keeps her songs from being quite as wonderful as they’d be out of context. Christian Borle is fine as Max, but it’s a thankless role. Ditto to Stephen Moyer as the Captain, although because no one is expecting much from him, I suspect he’ll get raves.
The kids are what they are. I don’t think any Sound of Music recording has lived or died on its younger cast.
So, like just about every television soundtrack before it, this disc won’t be essential, but you’ll want to get at least a few tracks for your “Ultimate Sound of Music” playlist.
* It’s a cast album, not a soundtrack, because the cast cut an album which is not being used as the, um, soundtrack for the actual film, since that’s being performed live. The Julie Andrews Cinderella and (sort of**) the Mary Martin/John Raitt Annie Get Your Gun albums fall into the same category.
** The Martin/Raitt Annie Get Your Gun album, while delightful, is even more of an oddity because it only preserves the songs of the leads with an anonymous chorus. I don’t think the arrangements are the same as those used in the broadcast. Regardless, it’s one of the few television soundtracks I would consider essential.
I am live tweeting my first (and likely last) exposure to Il Divo’s new show tunes album and you are missing it. But you don’t have to.