Joyful Life

Gift Idea: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Symphonic Suites

Here is a gift idea for a friend or family member on your Christmas list, or for you to put on your own Christmas list.

“My power over you grows stronger yet.”

Sung by the Phantom in the title song The Phantom of the Opera from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical The Phantom of the Opera

Andrew Lloyd Webber Symphonic Suites is a lavish and lush arrangement of the scores to his musicals Evita, Sunset Boulevard, and The Phantom of the Opera. With the release of this CD, Lloyd Webber’s musical power over me grows stronger.

I love music that is bold, powerful. and dramatic. Symphonic Suites does not disappoint. The 81-piece Andrew Lloyd Webber Orchestra, under the conduction of Simon Lee, recorded the CD in the newly remodeled Theatre Royal Drury Lane earlier this year.

Your mind will start a journey to three different eras because of the music’s storytelling power.

The Evita Suite with its Latino liveliness will take you back to Argentina and the story of Evita and Juan Peron’s rise to political power. The music has depth to it because of the castanets, tambourines, and any other instruments used to create the Latino sound. But it has is dramatic and powerful moments too such as during the iconic ballad Don’t Cry For Me Argentina.

From the Evita Suite, it is on to the jazzy and mysterious 1940’s soundtrack of the Sunset Boulevard Suite. This suite is the story of Joe Gillis, a struggling screenwriter, and Norma Desmond a 1920’s silent film star who dreams of making a comeback. The story is a musical retelling of the classic 1950’s film. The luxurious music will make you feel a part of glamorous old Holywood.

The final suite is The Phantom of the Opera. From the first chord of the dramatic organ opening, you will believe you are sitting in the Paris Opera House of the late 1800s – just keep one eye on the chandelier.

My favorite track right now is number 16 – Lloyd Webber: The Phantom Of The Opera Symphonic Suites (Pt.4). It starts out with the ballad Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again and then moves on to the title song The Phantom of the Opera. The song is a duet between characters Christen Daae (member of the Opera House’s ballet corp) and the Phantom.

The orchestra plays Christine’s part (In sleep he sang to me, in dreams he came, that voice which calls to me and speaks my name, and do I dream again, For now I find the Phantom of the Opera is there inside my mind).

Then the horns enter playing the Phantom’s part (Sing once again with me our strange duet, my power over you grows stronger yet.) I immediately fell in love with the horns as they are very bold, powerful, and passionate with a touch of mystery, just like the Phantom.

The Phantom of the Opera suite is a stunning finale to the Symphonic Suites CD.

Symphonic Suites makes me want to get the original cast albums to Evita and Sunset Boulevard. I’ve had the original cast recording of The Phantom of the Opera since its release, which was before I met and married Joe (The Music of the Night was our first dance).

It also makes me want to get my flute out of the case and start practicing, never should have quit after graduating high school.

Symphonic Suites is a wonderful present for the musical theater lover in your life. They also will love watching the recording of the CD in A Night In At The Theatre on YouTube. Footage of the newly remodeled theater is interspersed throughout the video.

So if you know of a Broadway Baby or a Music Man then gift them this CD for Christmas. I’m sure they will love it.

Finally, this CD is a perfect gift for any figure skaters as there are plenty of tracks with the appropriate length for short and long programs. You will not have a hard time envisioning ice skaters gliding around the rink performing jumps and fancy footwork to these tracks (jazzy track #8 from Sunset Boulevard is playing as I put this post to bed).

May Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music bring comfort and joy as you close your eyes and start a journey through a strange new world, floating, falling from the sweet intoxication of Symphonic Suites. (lyrics from The Music of the Night)

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to inspire widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s currently using those skills as a virtual contact center representative for a Fortune 100 company. She’s also managed call center teams, co-facilitated a grief support group, and helped small businesses with various writing assignments. Michele loves Jesus, books, history, music, chocolate, red roses, and golden retrievers. She is also the amateur photographer behind the blog