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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Jesus Christ Superstar CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)


Various Genres

4.21 | 176 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I didn't know this recording was listed here in ProgArchives, but now that I've seen a review of it, I just feel the need to say a few words about this masterpiece that has been a favorite of mine for a long, long time!

I'm not a big musical-theater fan. In general, I'm not a big fan of music created for stage purposes. Even in what we wrongly call "Classical" music, I only like a few Operas. In Broadway-style musicals, I've never been a fan of the work of the likes of Rodgers and Hammerstein or Stephen Sondheim (even though I love his collaboration with Leonard Bernstein in "West Side Story"). As for Andrew Lloyd Webber, he's always been the one out of the "big three" whose music I've liked the most. I can tolerate "Evita" (though only to a certain degree), I can enjoy (and at times, a lot) his work in "The Phantom of the Opera", and I can usually listen to his music with less problems than I have with that of his peers.

But when it comes down to his first masterpiece, this original re-creation of the passion of Jesus told from Judas' perspective, I have quite a different view of things, and just a few words would suffice: "Jesus Christ Superstar" is the greatest rock-opera of all time, bar none. Period. And this, the original recording of the play, is without doubt the best.

I just heard this recording a few months ago. I had heard other recordings of "Superstar" long ago, including the legendary one by the original London cast with Paul Nicholas as Jesus, and another one with Alice Cooper as Herod (?!?) When I learned that the original album was more rock-oriented than its stage-centered successors, I rushed to my online store and bought the CD. I put it on my player, and enjoyed every single minute of it.

Gillian as Jesus is just fantastic, the best Jesus of them all. His rock-persona shines though the music, with a power but also a conviction (as reflected in "Gethsemane") that few have had after him. Murray Head is a fantastic Judas, and all the rest of the cast are excellent in their respective roles. Regarding the music, as I mentioned earlier, this time around things were more rock-oriented: melodies, rhythms, the style of playing, the riffs, everything sounds more like a true rock-opera album than a NY's Broadway or London's West End production recorded in a disc.

But the glory of this music is here, and in even higher amounts. The fantastic melodies, the incredible catchiness and beauty of the tunes, the contrasts between characters, the use of fixed themes for the most important of them, the energy and the passion, the sadness and the melancholy, all is highlighted by a group of skilled musicians that, together with an impressive cast, present Lloyd-Webber's masterpiece as none has done afterwards. That this album even managed to get huge sales and score in the charts is just an afterthought, or maybe another example of how much more-refined people's taste was back then. Anyway, this is a fantastic work, and all fans of good music should give it a try.

As for the religious content, don't be afraid. This is actually quite a rational view of things, without any of the "preachiness" of "religious" rock music. This is a pagan, more intelligent tale, where Jesus is allowed to be a man and Judas raises some good questions. But believe me, the music and some melodies are so beautiful, that for an instant even unbelievers will feel a higher presence.

I did. And I know whose presence it was: the presence of good music, great art.

The T | 5/5 |


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