The Sound of Music
Music from the NBC Television Event
Music by: Richard Rogers
Lyrics By: Oscar Hammerstein II
Book By: Howard Linsday and Russel Crouse
Distributed by: Sony Masterworks
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Who hasn't heard of the 1965 musical film called The Sound of Music starring Julie Andrews, but did you know that the movie was inspired by a Broadway musical? In the late 1950s, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse had decided to adapt The Story of the Trapp Family Singers into a play and approached songwriting team Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II to create a few songs for their production. Rodgers and Hammerstein suggested the play could instead be a musical and so it was, in 1959, that The Sound of Music appeared on Broadway with Mary Martin in the lead role. The film did even better than the musical and still airs on television all over the world. In December 2013, NBC aired a live version of the musical, starring Carrie Underwood in the lead role.
The Sound of Music tells the tale of Maria von Trapp (Carrie Underwood), an Austrian woman studying to become a nun in the late 1930s. Although Maria is a sweet woman, the nuns in her chosen abbey are not quite certain that she will ever become a nun. After all, Maria is not exactly nun material, with her free-spirited ways. When the Mother Abbess (Audra McDonald) receives a request from the widower Captain von Trapp (Stephen Moyer) for a governess to help care for his children, she sends him Maria. She gets along with the children famously, but not so well with the Baron who runs a very strict household.
But as time passes, the Captain's attitude changes toward Maria, especially when he sees how much she is adored by the children. In fact, he begins to see something more than a governess in Maria and eventually falls in love with her, asking her to marry him. The two had just been wed when the Nazis annex Austria into the Third Reich and give Captain von Trapp a commission in the German Navy. The family, using their singing talents as a cover, eventually escape the Nazis and travel to Switzerland and freedom.
I never watched the Live version of The Sound of Music that aired on NBC, believing that the Julie Andrews version was just fine and didn't need to be remade. Apparently, many television critics agreed with my assessment. However, I did decide to listen to the soundtrack of the NBC special that was sent to me, simply for curiosity's sake. What I heard surprised me.
Carrie Underwood is no Julie Andrews, but her versions of the songs that made The Sound of Music famous, like Maria, My Favorite Things, The Sound of Music, Do-Re-Mi, Climb Ev'ry Mountain and Edelweiss, were very well done. Carrie Underwood has a very good voice and I love her music, but I never expected her to be able to pull these songs off. Nor did I expect that the rest of the cast would pull the songs off as well as they did, despite their musical backgrounds. I actually enjoyed the soundtrack of this version of The Sound of Music just as much as the original and found myself singing along with the songs after the first listen assured me that they hadn't been butchered in this remake. I was happy to discover that The Sound of Music - Music from the NBC Television Event album is actually quite enjoyable, even if the actual television special was viewed as a flop by critics. It was well worth the listen.