Stephen Sondheim


Born: March 22, 1930; New York, NY  
According to most critics and theater historians, Stephen Sondheim (born 1930) stands among Broadway show composers and lyricists not only as the greatest of his generation but also as the only great one of his generation. Observers may debate why Broadway failed to produce consistently great writers to follow the Rodgers and Hammersteins and Lerner and Loewes of the 1940s and 1950s, but the fact remains that Sondheim clearly ranks with such Read more masters, and even with Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, and other masters of the century's first half.

Sondheim became a protege of Hammerstein's after befriending the lyricist's son in school, but he got his first big break when he was hired to adapt Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet for Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story (1957). That show turned out to be one of the biggest hits and most memorable works of its time, and it brought many proposals for text-writing Sondheim's way --though he had always wanted to write music as well. Nevertheless, he worked with Jule Styne on Gypsy (1959), another enormous hit, and would later agree to collaborate with Richard Rodgers on the unsuccessful Do I Hear a Waltz? (1965).

Before that, however, Sondheim scored his first success as both composer and lyricist with A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962). It was his last hit until Company (1970), a show about contemporary life and mores that did much to revolutionize the Broadway musical and, as many of Hammerstein's 50 shows had, move it more toward serious and exotic subjects. Since that time, Sondheim's shows have been amazingly daring in terms of subject matter, with unusual musical ideas and stunningly original lyrics. But they have not always been big hits, and have marked a time in theater when Broadway show music became a marginalized art form in terms of popular culture.

Nevertheless, Sondheim's shows of the 1970s and 1980s are benchmarks of the genre: Follies (1971) brought together aging Follies girls for a look at American middle age; A Little Night Music (1973) is based on Ingmar Bergman's film Smiles of a Summer Night and contains Sondheim's sole hit song, "Send in the Clowns"; Pacific Overtures (1976) ambitiously took on the subject of Japanese-American relations; Sweeney Todd (1979) was an operetta based on the British grand guignol tale of a murderous barber; Sunday in the Park with George (1984) was a biography of impressionist painter Georges Seurat; and Into the Woods (1987) wove together children's fairy tales with the theories of psychologist Bruno Bettelheim. At this writing, Sondheim's latest show is Assassins (1991), a short piece about presidential killers. In recent years, he has turned more to films, writing songs for Madonna in Dick Tracy in 1990 and reportedly working on an original movie musical. Read less
Browse 101-114 of 114 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Experiment / Mandy Patinkin
    Label: Nonesuch   Catalog: 79330 Release Date: 05/17/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Herman Hupfeld,  Jerome Kern,  Alan Menken,  Stephen Sondheim  ... 
    Performer:  Mandy Patinkin
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  • 102.
    The Great Waltz / John Mauceri, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 438685 Release Date: 10/12/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dimitri Tiomkin,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Richard Rodney Bennett,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Conductor:  John Mauceri
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
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  • 103.
    New Music With Guitar - Selections From Vol 1-3 / Starobin
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9009 Release Date: 09/11/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Barbara Kolb,  Toru Takemitsu,  John Anthony Lennon,  Stephen Sondheim  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Frisch,  David Starobin,  Peter Press
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  • 104.
    Patti Lupone Live
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 61797 Release Date: 06/08/1993   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Kurt Weill,  Julie Gold,  Irving Berlin,  Cole Porter  ... 
    Performer:  Jackie O'Neill,  Brian Miller,  Mike Vaccaro,  Joel Dibartolo  ... 
    Conductor:  John McDaniel
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  • 105.
    Sondheim: Follies / Original Broadway Cast
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 64666 Release Date: 11/17/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
    Performer:  Dorothy Collins,  John McMartin,  Gene Nelson,  Alexis Smith
    Conductor:  Harold Hastings
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Original Broadway Cast Orchestra
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  • 106.
    Movie Love Themes / Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80243 Release Date: 05/10/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stanley Myers,  Maurice Jarre,  Marvin Hamlisch,  Angelo Badalamenti  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops
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  • 107.
    Sondheim: Follies In Concert / Cook, Remick, Patinkin, Hearn
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 27128 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
    Performer:  Adolph Green,  Elaine Stritch,  Betty Comden,  Phyllis Newman  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Gemignani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 108.
    Music Of The Night / John Williams, Boston Pops
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 45567 Release Date: 04/20/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hugh Martin,  Leonard Bernstein,  Andrew Lloyd Webber,  Stephen Sondheim  ... 
    Conductor:  John T. Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
    CD: $8.99
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  • 109.
    Music, My Love / Jean-Pierre Rampal
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 45548 Release Date: 05/25/1989   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Fernande Le Borne,  Johann Joachim Quantz,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Veyron-Lacroix,  Jean-Pierre Rampal,  Jean Huchot,  Lily Laskine  ... 
    Conductor:  Placido Domingo,  Jean-Pierre Wallez,  Claudio Scimone,  Michel Colombier  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Paris Orchestral Ensemble,  Paris Baroque Ensemble  ... 
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  • 110.
    Jerome Robbins' Broadway / Original Broadway Cast
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60150 Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Various,  Leonard Bernstein,  Morton Gould,  Stephen Sondheim  ... 
    Performer:  Debbie Shapiro,  Robert La Fosse,  Scott Wise,  Michael Kubala  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Gemignani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 111.
    Live At Carnegie Hall / Cleo Laine
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60960 Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Carole King,  Daryl Runswick,  Wesley Wilson  ... 
    Performer:  Cleo Laine
    Conductor:  John Dankworth
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  • 112.
    Scarlet And Gold / Massed Bands Of The Household Division
    Label: Bandleader   Catalog: 5131 Release Date: 09/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
    Conductor:  D. E. Price
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regimental Band of the Coldstream Guards,  Scots Guards Band,  Band of the Welsh Guards  ... 
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  • 113.
    Symphonic Celebration / Band Of The Royal Irish Regiment
    Label: Bandleader   Catalog: 5147 Release Date: 07/13/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Stephen Sondheim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Irish Regiment
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