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Cast recording

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Cast recording

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A cast recording is a recording of a musical that is intended to document the songs as they were performed in the show and experienced by the audience. An original cast recording, as the name implies, features the voices of the show's original cast. A cast recording featuring the first cast to perform a musical in a particular venue is known, for example, as an "original Broadway cast recording" or an "original London cast recording".

Cast recordings are (almost always) studio recordings rather than live recordings. The recorded song lyrics and orchestrations are identical (or very similar to) those of the songs as performed in the theatre. Like any studio performance, the recording is of course an idealized rendering, more glossily perfect than any live performance could be, and without audible audience reaction. Nevertheless, the listener who has attended the live show expects it to be an accurate souvenir of the experience.

Prior to the development of original cast recordings, there had of course been recordings of songs from musicals, and collections of several such songs, and recordings of songs performed by cast members; but they were recordings of songs, not recordings of a musical. For example, Danny Kaye made a set of recordings of songs from Lady in the Dark. Even though Danny Kaye was a member of the cast, this was certainly not an original cast recordingónot merely because the arrangements and presentation were different, but because in this recording, Danny Kaye performed Gertrude Lawrence's songs!

The first original cast recording as we know it was probably Decca's 1943 recording of Oklahoma!. Earlier candidates exist, such as Marc Blitzstein's 1938 recordings of songs from The Cradle Will Rock. The Decca album, however, was a huge commercial success and was systematically followed up by further recordings from Decca, and, soon, all the other record companies. Cast recordings were particularly well suited for the then-new Columbia Records LP and in the early 1950s Columbia, guided by Goddard Lieberson, ascended to leadership and Columbia's cast recordings came to define the genre.

A 1970 documentary by D. A. Pennebaker, Original Cast AlbumóCompany gives a straightforward view of the making of a cast recording. It shows how the recording studio looks, how performers are arranged, and how the director behaves. The cast feels the pressure of delivering a definitive performance, with a degree of perfection beyond that ever required on stage, under a time limit imposed by the high cost of studio time.

Vinyl LP cast recordings were usually released as single discs, and it was not rare for compromises to be made to fit the recording within the forty-to-fifty-minute time limit. For example, obscure songs might be not be included. In the 1980s, the rise of the Compact disc with its 74-minute recording capacity (which was increased to 80 minutes in the 1990s) resulted in improvements in cast recordings, which were now usually capable of including all songs, the full overture and entracte, and, when appropriate, lead-in dialogue to the songs.

See also

Home | Up | List of albums | Boxed set | Cast recording | Compilation album | Concept album | Copy Control | Demo | Discography | DualDisc | Enhanced CD | Live album | Remix album | Super Audio CD | Soundtrack album | Split album | Tribute album | Debut album | Double album | Gatefold | List of EPs | Sampler album | Sophomore album | Studio album

Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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