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Stephen Sondheim

Biography

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 26-50 of 117 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    The Hi-fi Sound Of Orchestra
    Label: Premium Records   Catalog: 27824 Release Date: 01/17/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Max Steiner,  Larry Kusic / Nino Rota,  Stanley Myers,  Andrew Lloyd Webber  ... 
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  • 27.
    Follies / 2011 Broadway Cast
    Label: Ps Classics   Catalog: 1105 Release Date: 11/29/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
    Performer:  Elaine Paige,  Danny Burstein,  Ron Raines,  Rosalind Elias  ... 
    Conductor:  James Moore
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 28.
    Invitation To Romance
    Label: Opening Day   Catalog: 7412 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joseph Kosma,  David Raksin,  Henry Mancini,  Erroll Garner  ... 
    Performer:  Rob Piltch,  Ben Riley,  Doug Riley,  Tom Szczesniak  ... 
    Conductor:  Doug Riley
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  • 29.
    Sondheim: Into The Woods / Peters, Gleason, Zien, Aldredge, Westenberg
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 790256 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
    Performer:  Robert Westenberg,  Chip Zien,  Bernadette Peters,  Joanna Gleason  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Gemignani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Original Broadway Cast Orchestra
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  • 30.
    Sondheim: Merrily We Roll Along / Walton, Morrison, Price, Gemignani
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 790257 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
    Performer:  Ann Morrison,  Lonny Price,  Jim Walton,  Jason Alexander  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Gemignani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Original Broadway Cast Orchestra,  American Theatre Orchestra
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  • 31.
    Sondheim: Pacific Overtures / Original Broadway Cast Recording
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 790649 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
    Performer:  Yuki Shimoda,  Isao Sato,  Ernest Harada,  Alvin Ing  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Original Broadway Cast Orchestra
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  • 32.
    Sondheim: Sunday In The Park With George / Patinkin, Peters, Gemignani
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 790259 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
    Performer:  Bernadette Peters,  Mandy Patinkin
    Conductor:  Paul Gemignani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Original Broadway Cast Orchestra
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  • 33.
    Broadway Magic - 1970s
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 40699 Release Date: 04/23/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  Stephen Sondheim,  Jerry Bock,  Richard Rodgers  ... 
    Performer:  Elaine Stritch,  Hal Linden,  Danny Kaye,  Jack Gilford  ... 
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  • 34.
    A Beautiful Thing / Cleo Laine
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 61664 Release Date: 01/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stevie Wonder,  Donovan Leitch,  Stephen Sondheim,  George Gershwin  ... 
    Performer:  Roy Markowitz,  Cliff Morris,  Tony Hymas,  Cleo Laine  ... 
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  • 35.
    100 Greatest Musicals
    Label: Silva   Catalog: 1328 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Jerome Kern,  George Gershwin,  Richard Rodgers,  Irving Berlin  ... 
    Performer:  Jill Washington,  Jason Howard,  Lesley Garrett,  David Shannon  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Bateman,  Ivor Bolton,  James Fitzpatrick,  Andrew Greenwood  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Music Works
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  • 36.
    Feelings / Roger Whittaker
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 61984 Release Date: 07/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bobby Russell,  Stephen Sondheim,  Roger Whittaker,  John Denver  ... 
    Performer:  Roger Whittaker
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  • 37.
    Bad Boys / Bryn Terfel
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4778091 Release Date: 04/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Gioachino Rossini,  Amilcare Ponchielli  ... 
    Performer:  Bryn Terfel,  Anne Sofie von Otter,  Balcarras Crafoord
    Conductor:  Paul Daniel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Swedish Radio Choir
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  • 38.
    A Little Night Music [2009 Broadway Revival Cast]
    Label: Nonesuch   Catalog: 523488 Release Date: 04/06/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
    Performer:  Paul Staroba,  Alexander Hanson,  Marissa McGowan,  Kevin David Thomas  ... 
    Conductor:  Tom Murray
    CD: $21.99
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  • 39.
    Send In The Clowns / London Brass
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 4686174 Release Date: 01/11/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Stephen Foster,  Julius Fucik,  Jan Koetsier  ... 
    Performer:  Andrew Crowley,  Mark Bennett,  Robert Farley,  Anne McAneny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Brass
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  • 40.
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 756208 Release Date: 10/06/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
    Performer:  Laurence Guittard,  Len Cariou,  Hermione Gingold,  Glynis Johns  ... 
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  • 41.
    Encore Collection - The Many Sounds Of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
    Label: Mormon Tabernacle   Catalog: 5022851 Release Date: 06/09/2009   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Isaac Albeniz,  Mitchell Leigh,  Harold Arlen,  Lucy Simon  ... 
    Conductor:  Craig Jessop
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mormon Tabernacle Choir
    CD: $39.99
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  • 42.
    Company - A Musical Comedy / Original Cast Recording
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 749914 Release Date: 05/05/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
    Performer:  Charles Braswell,  Elaine Stritch,  Barbara Barrie,  Dean Jones  ... 
    Conductor:  Harold Hastings
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 43.
    David Starobin - Favorite Tracks Vol 2 - 20th Century Classics
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9292 Release Date: 04/14/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mario Lavista,  Elliott Carter,  Michael Starobin,  Humphrey Searle  ... 
    Performer:  David Starobin,  Susan Jolles,  Peter Press,  Patrick Mason  ... 
    Conductor:  David Starobin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Speculum Musicae
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  • 44.
    That's Entertainment / John Williams, Boston Pops
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 416499 Release Date: 11/04/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Burns,  Stephen Sondheim,  Jerry Bock,  Jule Styne  ... 
    Conductor:  John T. Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
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  • 45.
    The Night They Invented Champagne
    Label: Prosody Records   Catalog: 3013291 Release Date: 02/19/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sigmund Romberg,  Arthur Sullivan,  Victor Herbert,  Franz Lehár  ... 
    Performer:  Arnaud Sussmann,  Sophie Shao,  Jessica Lee,  Kt Sullivan  ... 
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  • 46.
    A Little Night Music / Original London Cast
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 5090 Release Date: 12/26/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
    Performer:  Terry Mitchell,  Veronica Page,  Hermione Gingold,  Joss Ackland  ... 
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  • 47.
    Sondheim: Sweeney Todd - Original Soundtrack
    Label: Nonesuch   Catalog: 368572 Release Date: 12/18/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
    Performer:  Johnny Depp,  Helena Bonham Carter,  Alan Rickman
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  • 48.
    Sondheim: Sweeney Todd Highlights - Original Soundtrack
    Label: Nonesuch   Catalog: 356540 Release Date: 12/18/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
    Performer:  Johnny Depp,  Helena Bonham Carter,  Alan Rickman
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  • 49.
    Clowning Around / London Brass
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 46069 Release Date: 11/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Stephen Foster,  Julius Fucik,  Jan Koetsier  ... 
    Performer:  Andrew Crowley,  Mark Bennett,  Robert Farley,  Anne McAneny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Brass
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  • 50.
    The Arthur Fiedler Legacy - From Fabulous Broadway To Hollywood's Reel Thing
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001005902 Release Date: 11/13/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  John T. Williams,  Stephen Sondheim,  Barbra Streisand,  Paul Simon  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
    CD: $16.99
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