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Jun 19, 2009

Hooray for Hollywood, Broadway and Stephen Sondheim, wherever you are.

By John McAlley

Nonesuch, a long-time home to instrumental music, made a natural expansion into movie soundtracks in 1985.
But it did so in its own inimitable fashion, with Philip Glass’s knife-edged score for Mishima, director Paul Schrader’s fractured biopic of the emotionally turbulent Japanese poet and author Yukio Mishima.
Four years later, the chance to work with Stephen Sondheim proved irresistible, and suddenly Nonesuch was lifting a curtain on the best of music for the stage.
That 1989 cast recording of Gypsy (with Tyne Daly) was just the first of, to date, nine beautiful Sondheim/Nonesuch collaborations, including two versions of the composer’s lushly chilling slasher masterpiece, Sweeney Todd.

Show Time!

Highlights of Nonesuch’s theater- music output range from the classic (Sondheim’s Company) and cool (fine vocal albums by Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald) to the semi-manic. How else to describe the scenery-chewing intensity of Mandy Patinkin?

’Such Scores!

Still think the Nonesuch catalog is stuffy? Unspool some movie music from Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood (There Will Be Blood) and Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt (Pieces of April).

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