I was at Fry’s Electronics last week, getting a wireless access point and a wireless card for my desktop, when I passed by the CD section of the store. I saw the original cast recording of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street stashed in the new release portion of the very messy CD shelves.
Huh? Why would a 1979 cast recording be filed as a new release? Unless …
I stopped and looked at the cover. It was the remastered versions promised two years ago. Broadway Masterworks, the cast recording division of Sony BMG, was supposed to release remastered versions of Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George and Merrily We Roll Along to coincide with Stephen Sondheim’s 75th birthday back in 2005.
The release dates kept getting pushed back further and further, until finally they dropped from the schedule entirely. With news of Sony making staff cuts in its Masterworks division, I pretty much thought the project was shelved completely.
I don’t know if ICE magazine would have been on the ball to notify when those release went back on the schedule, but I sure heard no peep of it from Pause & Play. I need a better a new release resource. And don’t point me to the Billboard new release section — that site is a clusterfuck of Flash.
As for the discs themselves, the sound is incredibly crisp, but the new liner notes are terribly written. The libretti are also missing from the packaging, so if you have an original CD pressing of these cast recordings, keep them. They’re supposed to be available online at the Broadway Masterworks web site, but I haven’t found them.