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Product: Audio CD
Title: Cabaret: The New Broadway Cast Recording (1998 Broadway Revival)
Label: RCA
Artist: John Kander, Fred Ebb
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5

Alan is absolutely unbelievable- like he was born for the role. Saw him on broadway today and he was just wonderful. He leaves the show June 6th so if you get a chance- see it!!

Product: Audio CD
Title: Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade for orchestra Op35; Capriccio Espagnol Op34
Label: Sony
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
I Could Have Rated 5 Stars But.....

Ohhhhh, this could have been the very best Rimsky-Korsakav's recording ever! Berstein's performace was just completely magnificent and all from the foretelling first movement through the climatic fourth movement. And the solo violin was absolutely beautiful. Arghhhhh! If only there wasn't this major error (seriously, it's an error even a non-musician can notice); one crash on the cymbal was really out of timing during the shipwreck part of the fourth movement. This single mistake really killed the perfection Bernstein could have really appreciated!
If you're one of those who will be disappointed by this catchy error, tough luck finding another recording as great. Not even Karajan's recording on DG was as stimulating.
Otherwize, it will make a great (not wonderful, but just plain great) collection for classical music CDs!

Product: Audio CD
Title: Glitter
Label: Virgin Records
Artist: Mariah Carey
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Stellar vocal prowess; stronger musical style

Glitter, as the soundtrack of the movie, (though not quite obvious based on the album cover!) offers a coherent mix of hip hop, R&B music interspersed with a few power ballads. Played from the start till the end, Glitter is quite unlike conventional soundtracks. Most soundtracks suffer from an incongrous compilation of songs. There are always some tracks that don't relate well to other tracks in terms of genre. (People typically buy soundtracks because they like a few songs on the album) In Glitter, given most songs are hip hop and all done by Mariah Carey, this problem is minimised in a certain way. Compared to her previous albums, this album sounds more like a complete entity on its own, instead of the songs themselves sounding like disparate entities (e.g. in Rainbow). A musical concept is veritably sensed here. Perhaps this could be attributed by the 80's style adopted in most songs.
Vocally, Mariah Carey has never sounded as good as she did in this. Since Daydream, her technique of airy singing has improved noticeably, especially in this particular album. She uses it to good effect, with clearer dictation, often alternating it with her normal vocal tone. This unique style of hers is best savoured in the album's ballads. "Lead The Way", the album's 2nd track is by itself, a touching song but more so when it unravels with a surprisingly unprecedented, heartfelt singing from Mariah Carey. Another song that comes close to "Lead The Way" is "Never Too Far" - a radio-friendly track reminiscent of late 80's ballads. There are 2 other ballads - Reflections (also an emotional rendition) and Twister (sounds like "Petals" in Rainbow except her singing is stronger here)
The rest of the album (7 tracks) are what makes the album so seamless sounding. Hip hop is the main essence of it all, and inescapably, rap commands a sizeable place in a lot of songs, much to the chagrin of some fans. Nevertheless, Mariah Carey does not seem to mind the slightly over-intrusion of rap here. In "Don't Stop", besides the background vocals, she sings only one tiny verse of the whole song although she did made quite an impression (with her characteristic high note) at that juncture anyway. The issue of using rap liberally may have to do with the minimal-sounding (not heavily orchestrated) music in the uptempo songs. In any case, this should not be wholly viewed as a discreditable move, as of late, rap is by itself gathering its influence in the commercial music arena. The marriage of rap with pop might even become a trend in the future.
Her last album, Rainbow, may have been weak and disoriented. But Glitter is different this time. The diva is back with improved vocals and a stronger sense of musical style.

Product: Audio CD
Title: Songbirds at Sunrise
Artist: Solitudes, Solitudes, John Herbermann, Dan Gibson & John Herberman, Dan Gibson
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Birds and Music Come Together

The sound of chirping birds, combined with relaxing music; it can't be anymore relaxing. It is just the thing when relaxing, sleeping, or just going through the day. Close your eyes and imagine a whole different time and place; it will help relax you.