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Music Review

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Matters of the Heart


Artist: Patti LuPone
Label: Broadway Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 18 September 2015

Patti LuPone is one of those curious performers, who are able to work successfully across many fields without being instantly recognisable. If you’re a great fan of the musical theatre then you probably recognise her as a multiple Tony award winner. If you’re into films you would recognise her from probably Witness (1985), Driving Miss Daisy (1989) or State and Main (2000). This doesn’t even cover her work on television appearing in such diverse shows as Glee, American Horror Story and Penny Dreadful.

Matters of the Heart (1999) is a reissues of Patti’s cabaret show, performed as a studio recording. As befits a cabaret show the musical backing is intimately sparse, mostly she is accompanied by the piano. As the title suggests there is a general theme of love and relationships running through the album, but this is not to say that they are all melancholy numbers, 'Shattered Illusions' is a highly, and more than slightly, ribald song. She has chosen a good spread of accomplished composers, including Stephen Sondheim, Rodgers and Hammerstein and Randy Newman, to name but a few.

LuPone was able to challenge my expectations of what the album would sound like. Many fine singers do well in their chosen field but always sound odd when trying to extend their repertoire. Pavarotti sounds sublime when singing opera and always sounded a little odd when trying to sing anything else.

My expectation of Matters of the Heart was that LuPone would belt out the numbers as if I were sitting in the back row of the balcony. Not so, or at least not completely so. There is a veneer of musical theatre that is hard to ignore, her training and the precise phrasing of presentation removes her far from being able to present herself as a convincing pop songstress, as proved by her rendition of 'The Air That I Breath', by the Hollies. The full listing of the album is:-

Storybook/Love Makes the World Go 'Round (Theme from Carnival)
A Cock-Eyed Optimist
The Boy Next Door
It's for You/A Wonderful Guy
Where Love Resides
Shattered Illusions
Not a Day Goes By
Air That I Breathe
Sand and Water
When the World Was Young/I Never Do Anything Twice
I Regret Everything
his Moment
Real Emotional Girl
My Father/Look Mummy, No Hands
My Son
Back to Before
Hello, Young Lovers
My Best to You

There is enough range to interest and it is far enough away, for the most part, from the mores of musical theatre to attract a wider audience.


Charles Packer

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