OST Review: Leonard Bernstein’s Candide

11 Apr

Music by Leonard Bernstein [1956], Lyrics by Richard Wilbur
Additional lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, John Latouche, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker and Leonard Bernstein

Book adapted from Voltaire [1758]
by Hugh Wheeler, in a new version by John Caird [1999]

Voltaire’s towering work of comic and philosophical genius is one of the glories of 18th-century satire and is as relevant today as when it was first written. Candide explores a world that is dominated by violence, greed, war, hatred and a series of catastrophic events seemingly unmitigated by goodness, truth, beauty or God. Voltaire’s great achievement is to temper his merciless analysis of human cruelty, and the apparent emptiness of heaven, with extraordinary wit and good humour. While disturbed by his story, we also find ourselves laughing uproariously at it. Add one of Leonard Bernstein’s most brilliant scores and Richard Wilbur’s witty lyrics to this heady mix, and you have a work of unalloyed pleasure. – National Theatre

This is what a new love does to me. I devour almost everything I can about them. And it’s just how I have always done things when I start loving someone, in this case with Simon Russell Beale, dubbed and not just hyped mind you, but is admittedly “the finest classical stage actor of his generation”. You just have to prove this by checking out any production he has starred in, in this case, I checked out his role as Voltaire/Pangloss in the National’s 1999 revival of Bernstein’s Candide which gave SRB the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 2000 (1999 season) for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance. Brilliant isn’t he?

So I decided to purchase the OST from Amazon UK and I just love, love, love it! It was great listening to SRB singing as Pangloss, his enunciation even whilst singing was perfect! My favorite tracks are, The Best of All Possible Worlds, Dear Boy, Oh Happy We, Candide’s Lament, Glitter and Be Gay, I Am Easily Assimilated, Make Our Garden Grow among others. I regret not having seen this production but Candide will be staged by the English National Opera (ENO) come June closing the ENO season with style. I am tempted mind you!

Candide OST: 5/5

NT’s 1999 Candide: http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/Candide+1277.twl

ENO’s 2008 Candide: https://www.tickets.eno.org/show.as

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