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 76-98 of 98 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    Label: Danacord   Catalog: 559 Release Date: 08/01/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nikolai Medtner,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Stephen Sondheim,  Frederick Holländer  ... 
    Performer:  Hamish Milne,  Konstantin Scherbakov,  Jody Karin Applebaum,  Marc-André Hamelin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tal & Groethuysen Duo
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  • 77.
    Eloquence - American Classics - Copland, Etc / Boston Pops
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 468156 Release Date: 03/27/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  Henry Mancini,  John Williams,  Stephen Sondheim  ... 
    Conductor:  John Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
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  • 78.
    Evelyn Lear - The Art Of The Recital
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1195 Release Date: 03/13/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Monro,  Stephen Sondheim,  Carl Zeller,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Evelyn Lear,  Martin Katz
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  • 79.
    A Very Special Album / Assad, Starobin, Isaac, Et Al
    Label: Gha   Catalog: 126045 Release Date: 03/01/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Carlos Jobim,  Francisco Tarrega,  Raphael Fays,  Roland Dyens  ... 
    Performer:  Odair Assad,  Sérgio Assad,  Wang Yameng,  Raphael Fays  ... 
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  • 80.
    Angelika Kirchschlager - When Night Falls
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 64498 Release Date: 11/02/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim,  Richard Rodgers,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Roger Vignoles,  Angelika Kirchschlager,  John Williams,  Helmut Deutsch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Metropolitan Ensemble
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  • 81.
    Sondheim: Sunday In The Park With George / Original Broadway Cast
    Label: Image Entertainment   Catalog: 4586 Release Date: 03/23/1999  
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
    Performer:  Charles Kimbrough,  Dana Ivey,  Mandy Patinkin,  Bernadette Peters  ... 
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  • 82.
    Sondheim: Follies / 1998 Cast
    Label: Tvt   Catalog: 1030 Release Date: 10/27/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
    Performer:  Tony Roberts,  Dee Hoty,  Ann Miller,  Donna McKechnie  ... 
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  • 83.
    Tenors On Tour / Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 62886 Release Date: 03/04/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Eldo Di Lazzaro,  Arturo Buzzi-Peccia,  Cesare Andrea Bixio  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Andrea Griminelli,  Peter Hofmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Luis Cobos,  Emerson Buckley,  Roland Heck,  Richard Österreicher  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus  ... 
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  • 84.
    Leading Man - The Best Of Broadway / Thomas Hampson
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 55249 Release Date: 05/21/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jerome Kern,  Claude-Michel Schönberg,  Richard Rodgers,  Frederick Loewe  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Hampson,  John Raitt
    Conductor:  Paul Gemignani
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  • 85.
    Sondheim: Follies Highlights / 1987 London Cast
    Label: First Night   Catalog: 6019 Release Date: 05/21/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
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  • 86.
    Stairway To The Stars / Tom Hazleton
    Label: Klavier Records   Catalog: 77006 Release Date: 08/22/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Leo Robin,  Irving Berlin,  Ray Noble  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Hazleton
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  • 87.
    City Of Strangers / Ute Lemper
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 444400 Release Date: 02/07/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joseph Kosma,  Harriet Zinnes,  Hanns Eisler,  Wal Berg  ... 
    Performer:  Ute Lemper
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  • 88.
    I Wish It So / Dawn Upshaw
    Label: Nonesuch   Catalog: 79345 Release Date: 08/02/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  Stephen Sondheim,  Marc Blitzstein,  Kurt Weill
    Performer:  Dawn Upshaw,  Matthias Naegele,  Eric Stern,  Leslie Stifelman
    Conductor:  Eric Stern
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  • 89.
    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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  • 90.
    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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  • 91.
    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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  • 92.
    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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  • 93.
    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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  • 94.
    Sondheim: Sweeney Todd Highlights / Original Broadway Cast
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 15033 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
    Performer:  Victor Garber,  Len Cariou,  Angela Lansbury
    Conductor:  Paul Gemignani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 95.
    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 Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
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  • 96.
    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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