In Love With Musical

A concert with Viktor Gernot, Maya Hakvoort, Marika Lichter, and Uwe Kröger

Recorded live in Vienna on May 13th and 14th, 1996

In Love With Musical cover

I really like about half of this concert. Unfortunately, parts of the other half--including all of the songs from Elisabeth, alas--I prefer to skip. I shan't do a very detailed description of each track, but would like to give some idea of what the whole recording's like.

The first track is simply labelled Intro: 19 seconds (or so they say; my stereo claims it's only 9) of applause.

The first song is Everything's Coming Up Roses, performed as a quartet. I don't much care for the song, usually, but as is clear later on in the concert, these four singers work very well together; I like nearly all of the numbers they're all on.

I've never heard I've Got the World on a String before, and although I'm not inclined to seek out other recordings of it, I probably wouldn't mind it too much. Gernot sounds very different from what I'd expected, based on his Franz Joseph (the only thing I'd heard him do when I got this recording), but not bad--just different. Unfortunately, I just don't like Marika Lichter's voice that much. She frequently sounds very...brassy, I suppose. Reminds me of a trumpet at times, actually.

I wasn't expecting too much from Maya Hakvoort, since I really really didn't like her on the live Vienna cast album of Elisabeth, but I was very impressed by her Inside Looking Out (from Gaudi). In addition to perfect English pronunciation--something I'm coming to expect from Dutch performers :) (Gernot, Lichter, and Kröger all have great pronunciation too, but Hakvoort's is perfect)--I find her voice much more pleasant than I did as Sisi. Frankly, this concert makes me suspect that Hakvoort's better when she's not trying to act....She's got a pleasant voice, she just makes some really poor acting choices, which she's then not capable of pulling off....Oh, I like this song, too. :)

Dora is another song by Eric Woolfson--this time a) from Freudiana; b) in German (the first of the concert); and c) sung by Viktor Gernot. I like this song a great deal, as well as Gernot's performance of it. There have been days when I've listened to nothing but this song, over and over and over.....

Next comes the first song I always skip: Wein nicht um mich, Argentinien (yes, that's right, Don't Cry for Me, Argentina), sung here by Lichter. I really don't think her voice is right for this song, and vice versa. In fact, I don't even have an opinion of the translation; I haven't been able to listen to this track closely enough to get an idea of what it's like!

At last, Kröger makes his first appearance since the opening quartet, with Mein Gott, warum (Why, God, Why). And this is a much better performance than he gave on the Stuttgart Saigon cast album, IMO. I suppose a year of performing this role regularly helped him grow into it. Or maybe the sound quality of this CD is just better than that of the cast album--wouldn't take much. Then again, it could be because Kröger's just better live, in general, than on studio recordings--even the good ones (such as Sunset). :) Whatever the reason, although this isn't my favourite version of the song (I prefer Tony Neef, from the Dutch recording; his voice is just more suited to the role), it's not too far behind.

It's followed by the first real travesty of the concert, IMO. Maya Hakvoort, I think, could do an okay I Know Him So Well; Marika Lichter's a stretch, but with only two women in the concert, they didn't have much choice if they wanted to do this song at all. However, they change far too much....The way the two parts are split up, some minor lyric differences, and worst of all, some ad libbing and changes to the vocal lines, especially from "if I knew from the start" on....Another regularly skipped song.

Surprise is hardly an outstanding song--in fact, in and of itself, I don't like it--but when performed by someone who's getting into it, it can be quite hilarious. Gernot gets very into this song, and certainly seems to be having fun with it, which makes it almost enjoyable for me as well. I do skip it at times, but only because I just don't like the song.

I have no idea why they included When I Fall in Love, and I really wish they hadn't; I was working in a movie theater when Sleepless in Seattle came out, so I got thoroughly sick of hearing this song during the closing credits eight times a day. But it's a Kröger song here, so I tried to give it a few chances....I don't find Lichter as strident as I do elsewhere, by a long shot, and Kröger certainly sounds fine, but neither of them is spectacular enough to make me listen to this one often.

I just love Quand on n'a plus rien à perdre (from Starmania)! Hakvoort and Kröger both sound great on this song--which is considerably more rock than most of the concert. Their voices don't just blend well; they actually sound like one person at times, especially the final line!

The first half of the concert--and the first CD--ends as it opened, with a quartet. This time it's Es wird dir gutgeh'n, morgen (You're Gonna Like Tomorrow, from Follies), and this is easily one of my favourite tracks from this recording. Once again, the four sound great together, and the song's just plain fun. I can't understand all the lyrics, but it sounds like a good translation of Sondheim--lots of rhymes everywhere, especially once it turns into a round of sorts.

On to part two

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