The 50th Anniversary Soundtrack
by Peter Blight
I'm sure even the most die-hard Sound of Music fans (like me) were less than enthused by the prospect of buying, yet again, a CD of the movie soundtrack, this new release timed to coincide with another home entertainment remaster as a 50 year celebration.
I had no intention whatsoever of adding this disc to my string of previous purchases - which began in 1986 with the legendary and unmitigated mastering disaster of its first CD release, a disappointing RCA engineering catastrophe to put it mildly. The crystal clear sound of the 1965 vinyl was lost in a morass of treble-less, over-equalised horrors. It was unbelievable to me that these sounds, loved the world over, could have deteriorated this much in only 20 years - but also that RCA believed this to be acceptable audio of ANYTHING to release to the public.
Fortunately, with subsequent releases through the '90s and beyond, this was the worst it ever got. Mostly, though, we were treated to somewhat dull and muddy transfers from 20th Century Fox film masters which were inferior to the original RCA session tapes, an improvement on 1986 and with many previously unreleased submerged pieces from the soundtrack, but not top-notch. I believe all of the CD releases through the 1990s and up to 2010 were from this source. They certainly left my ears wanting more.
And now... all these years later... I have it. You will too, if you buy it! Finally. The CD I have waited almost my entire life for. GET the 50th Anniversary Sound of Music CD and you will NEVER so much as look at those old discs. This is beautiful, absolutely crystal clear sound as you have never heard it before, since the original vinyl. RCA have apparently located the original session tapes and done an amazing job of mastering them - even (almost seamlessly) combining the original album with Fox tracks such as Edelweiss (with Liesl), Sixteen Going on Seventeen (verse 3) etc... I cannot describe the sheer brilliance of this disc.
Now... some important information. There are two versions of the disc that I know of: the 'standalone', buy it on its own, disc, and the Blu-ray set version. These are completely different, and even the edits of some of the tracks are different. The 'standalone' version is as complete a set as you will get, with several extended versions. But the Blu-ray version gives us the 16-track soundtrack album as originally released (even the original track order has been retained), followed by some strange foreign language versions of a few songs. I have both discs, and I would not part with either!
Highly, HIGHLY recommended. Throw out your old ones! This is it. Worth the wait? Well... I wish the wait hadn't happened, but YES, unequivocally.