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Song of Solomon
Original Concept Recording


Music: Andrew Beall
Lyrics: Neil Van Leeuwen
Performed by: Ramin Karimloo, Alison Luff, Casey Manning, Alexander Gemignani, Hayden Tee, Jessica Foster, Alessandra Baldacchino and Desi Oakley
Label: Broadway Records
Release Date: 27 January 2017

So after a brief break for me to have a little holiday, and deal with some health issues, and for Broadway Records to get over their Grammy win, and get some Tony nominations, we’re both back to work on some exciting new releases. First up on the CD player is a release from way back in January which I missed for some reason, but have found time to give a listen to now.

Song of Solomon is an epic love story. In ancient Israel, King David's bloody wars are coming to an end, and the road is treacherous and uncertain for Israel's future. To avoid another war, Solomon is forced to marry foreign princesses. But one Israeli vineyard girl intoxicates the King's heart, threatening his entire nation. She suddenly and mysteriously disappears. Song of Solomon is the King’s quest to find Almah while he struggles for peace, redemption, and humanity.

With music by Andrew Beall and lyrics by Neil Van Leeuwen, the original concept album stars Tony Award nominee Ramin Karimloo (and star of the new Broadway musical, Anastasia), Alison Luff, Casey Manning, Alexander Gemignani, Hayden Tee, Jessica Foster, Alessandra Baldacchino and Desi Oakley and a full orchestra. Produced by Michael Croiter and Andrew Beall.

By co-incidence, I was also listening again to a work I orchestrated many years ago, called Solomon The Peaceful King, and it struck me how great a story this is, so it’s little wonder that there are several musical versions of it. It lends itself to epic numbers, as well as sweeping ballads, and it’s fair to say this version has both. The opening, accompanied by the full orchestral sound, is majestic, and has a lovely ‘eastern’ flavour to it. I liked the duet ‘Falling With You’ which was a nice contrast to some of the numbers, in that it didn’t try too hard to be ‘epic’. However, as I found with much of the recording, there is an amount of ‘forced’ recitative, which jarred slightly at times.

The performances are strong, and headed up by the star of the recording, Ramin Karimloo. For me, he is one of the unsung stars of musical theatre, and I wonder what he has to do to get more recognition. He has a very versatile voice, and is completely at home here. The highlight of the recording for me is 'Solid Rock', which he performs so well with Casey Manning. Broadway Records’ production values are again very strong, and the well-designed booklet allow you to follow the story very easily.

An enjoyable recording of a not-perfect score, but certainly has a lot of promise.


Ian Gude

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