A Little Night Music

Songs By: Stephen Sondheim

Distributed by: Masterworks Broadway

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Based on the musical by Stephen Sondheim, A Little Night Music is a film starring Len Cariou as Frederick Egerman, a middle-aged man married to an eighteen-year-old virgin named Anne (Lesley-Anne Down).  While happy in his marriage, he is nonetheless frustrated at his wife's insistence on protecting her virginity.  Meanwhile, his old flame, famed actress Desiree Armfeldt (Elizabeth Taylor), still entertains hopes of being reunited with Frederick, despite also entertaining a dalliance with married lover Count Carl-Magnus Mittelheim (Laurence Gittard).  Frederick's son, Erich (Christopher Guard) is fed up at not being taken seriously and secretly yearns for his father's wife's affections, while Desiree's daughter, Fredericka (Chloe Franks) concedes her happiness for her mother's fame, but wishes she would spend more time with her daughter at home.  When all of the players are invited to a weekend at the Armfeldt country estate, there's no telling what can happen...or who might get paired up.

                The movie adaptation of A Little Night Music first hit theaters in 1977 and was mostly met with negative reviews, despite the award winning positive reception of the musical it was based upon.  In August 2013, Masterworks Broadway announced the release of the digitally re-mastered soundtrack on limited edition CDs and in digital download format.  The new album contains previously unreleased music and liner notes by Stephen Sondheim himself.

                The songs found on the soundtrack of A Little Night Music perfectly express the story of the film.  Having never seen the film or the musical it was adapted from, I could tell exactly what was going on and picture each scene in my mind.  The songs were often comical and I laughed as Anne put off Frederick's advances while Frederick expressed his frustrations in Now Soon Later.  I also found myself laughing as marriage is explained in all its glory and pain in Every Day A Little Death and as some couples try to come up with ways to avoid the invitation while others find reasons to attend in A Weekend in the Country.  I also enjoyed the sad song Send in the Clowns and the later reprisal of the song toward the end of the soundtrack. 

                While the film may have received lousy reviews, the music and songs have always been praised.  Listening to the A Little Night Music Soundtrack was an incredibly fun experience nd am happy to be adding it to my soundtrack collection. 


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