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re: Ryan Takes Us Through The Tanz Album - One Of Jim's Greatest Works

Posted by:
Evan 01:33 pm UTC 05/12/21
In reply to: re: Ryan Takes Us Through The Tanz Album - One Of Jim's Greatest Works - rockfenris2005 01:33 pm UTC 05/10/21

Your write up of Tanz is excellent. Iíll be honest, I havenít really listened in the past because of the language barrier but this definitely makes me want to give it a try. Also, after hearing the news of Jimís passing I cried for about a week straight. It hit me so hard because it felt like a part of my teenage years was just gone. I still canít get over it. His songs and personality seemed larger than life so his death was something that I just never thought about.

> Thank you. I feel like I put everything into that review.
> I didn't feel very well at the end of it, because I'd just
> been typing for so long. I had to edit it down from 5,000
> words. It was getting out of control. So I went to bed,
> having put it up. Woke up the next morning with a horrible
> migraine, thought I'd had an aura in my sleep or something
> like that. I felt like I was going to be sick when I was
> in the bathroom. I couldn't get off the floor because I
> thought I was going to be sick, but somehow I got my
> second wind and just went back to bed. As it slowly began
> to settle, I checked the news... and there was a top 10
> greatest Jim songs, and they said "by the late composer
> Jim Steinman", and at that point, my heart was just
> pounding. It had actually happened.
>
> > Jim would have loved reading your review. He was very
> > proud of Tanz.
> >
> > > Thanks. I wrote that the night before I heard the news.
> > >
> > > > This review originally appeared on the Ryan's Reviews
> > > > site. It is Ryan's (rockfenris2005) review of the 1998
> > > > Tanz Cast Recording. Please enjoy.
> > > >
> > > > In October 1986, "The Phantom of the Opera" opened at Her
> > > > Majesty's Theatre in London and as of early 2020, nearly
> > > > 35 years later, the same production was still running in
> > > > both the West End and Broadway. The success of this
> > > > musical was sort of like catching lightning in a bottle.
> > > > First there was the score, with songs like "The Music of
> > > > the Night", "All I Ask of You" and "Wishing You Were
> > > > Somehow Here Again" and "Phantom", all of which were
> > > > released as singles (the last one directed by Ken Russell
> > > > who did the video for Pandora's Box "It's All Coming Back
> > > > to me Now"). There was also the way that it was performed
> > > > by Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman and Steve Barton
> > > > (remember that name). It had been directed by musical
> > > > theatre legend Harold Prince, the Prince of Broadway. The
> > > > sets and costumes designed by Maria Bjornson were a
> > > > masterpiece of design. At the end of the first act, when
> > > > the Phantom drops the chandelier on the audience of the
> > > > Opera Populaire, a chandelier comes sliding down over the
> > > > heads of the audience and crashes onto the stage, which
> > > > you probably already knew! There is very little I can
> > > > fault about this production, which you've got to
> > > > understand is difficult for a musical.
> > > >
> > > > In December 1996, Jim Steinman and Andrew Lloyd Webber the
> > > > composer of "Phantom" and some of the biggest musicals of
> > > > the twentieth century were in Washington D.C. for the
> > > > world premiere of their musical "Whistle down the Wind".
> > > > At the time, Andrew had just opened the London, Los
> > > > Angeles and New York productions of "Sunset Boulevard",
> > > > while Jim had released "Bat out of Hell II" with Meat Loaf
> > > > and was about to have another hit with Celine Dion on a
> > > > remake of "It's All Coming Back to me Now". On "Whistle",
> > > > Andrew and Jim were working with Harold Prince, the third
> > > > and final time Hal would direct one of Andrew's musicals,
> > > > and the anticipation for audiences everywhere was high. If
> > > > "Whistle" worked, it would open on Broadway the following
> > > > April at the Martin Beck Theatre (posters advertising this
> > > > production still show up sometimes online.) Ultimately,
> > > > despite the success at the box office, Andrew and Jim were
> > > > left feeling dissatisfied. They would put together a new
> > > > production in 1998, which spawned the Boyzone Number #1
> > > > "No Matter What" (when "Songs from Whistle down the Wind"
> > > > is in the car, that is the most played song.)
> > > >
> > > > In October 1997, Jim composed the score for another
> > > > musical which opened at the Raimund Theater in Vienna,
> > > > based on the 1967 film "The Fearless Vampire Killers"
> > > > called "Tanz der Vampire: Das Musical". Both the film and
> > > > musical were directed by Roman Polanski, who also co-wrote
> > > > the screenplay. The book and lyrics for the musical were
> > > > written by Michael Kunze, who had translated musicals like
> > > > "A Chorus Line", "Evita" and "Phantom" for their original
> > > > German productions. He had recently written his own
> > > > musical "Elisabeth" with score by longtime collaborator
> > > > Sylvester Levay. The choreography was handled by Dennis
> > > > Callahan, meanwhile sets and costumes were spectacularly
> > > > brought to life by William Dudley and Sue Blane, who once
> > > > upon a time had designed costumes for a little musical
> > > > called "The Rocky Horror Show". Meanwhile a very talented
> > > > man named Hugh Vanstone handled the lighting, with Michael
> > > > Reed supervising the score and Steve Margoshes providing
> > > > orchestrations. Steve Barton was cast in the leading role
> > > > of Count Von Krolock opposite Cornelia Zenz as Sarah,
> > > > Gernot Kranner as the Professor Abronsius and Aris Sas,
> > > > his young apprentice Alfred. To top everything off,
> > > > Dewynters who had also designed the advertising for
> > > > "Cats", "Les Misťrables", "Phantom" and "Miss Saigon",
> > > > created the logo image of a set of vampire fangs
> > > > underneath the show's bloody title.
> > > >
> > > > I say all of this, because in my humble view from
> > > > everything I've been able to experience with these
> > > > musicals, this is one of those times a productions catches
> > > > lightning in a bottle. Look at all of these things from
> > > > both musicals. If there's a weak link in either of them,
> > > > it would probably be the book, but how many times have I
> > > > even noticed this? Everything just works, and it not only
> > > > works, it works beautifully, and so it becomes easier to
> > > > see why both "Phantom" and "Tanz" have been running all of
> > > > this time. Originally by the way, Jim was going to write
> > > > lyrics for "Phantom", but he was too committed to the
> > > > Bonnie Tyler album ("Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire"),
> > > > however he then composes "Tanz". If it had been produced
> > > > successfully in the English language, I think more people
> > > > out there would agree with me on this. I'm not even sure
> > > > how many audiences in London or New York, much less
> > > > Australia, are aware of this musical, compared to
> > > > something like "Wicked" or "The Lion King" and obviously
> > > > "Phantom".
> > > >
> > > > Since the release of the 1970 concept album of "Jesus
> > > > Christ Superstar", which launched the careers of Tim Rice
> > > > and Andrew Lloyd Webber, listeners have always had the
> > > > ability to listen to the complete scores of Andrew's
> > > > shows. What you hear on the "Superstar" album is more or
> > > > less what is played in the theatre. It's the same with
> > > > "Evita", "Cats", "Phantom", "Sunset Boulevard", and then
> > > > Boublil and Schonberg with "Les Mis" and "Miss Saigon".
> > > > This was not something that really happened in, say, the
> > > > Golden Age of Musicals when Rodgers and Hammerstein were
> > > > writing "The King and I". Musicals like "Evita" and "Les
> > > > Mis" on the other hand are predominantly through sung,
> > > > meaning there is little to no dialogue and everything can
> > > > be recorded onto an album, so long as you can get it to
> > > > fit. This is what happened with both the albums for
> > > > "Phantom" and "Tanz", and this is what I first heard. I
> > > > also experienced it from the point of view of a Steinman
> > > > fan, having heard the "Bat" albums, suddenly putting this
> > > > in and treating it as an album produced by Jim.
> > > >
> > > > What I heard that first time, firstly in a highlights
> > > > version and then a complete, only underlines what I've
> > > > been saying, that "Tanz" like "Phantom" before it caught
> > > > lightning in a bottle. The album itself not only
> > > > compliments a truly extraordinary production that as of
> > > > early 2020 was still being performed somewhere in the
> > > > world, but it is one of the greatest cast recordings I've
> > > > ever heard. It is a monster! And it's also, for this
> > > > listener, the ultimate showdown as a Jim Steinman fan.
> > > > It's like a movie, like "Star Wars" perhaps, where
> > > > everything is building towards that last battle with Darth
> > > > Vader and Luke Skywalker facing off against the Emperor,
> > > > who's been pulling the strings ever since "The Phantom
> > > > Menace". The sabres are flashing. Tempers are flying.
> > > > Palpatine's laughing in the background and he's about to
> > > > zap you with Sith lightning. This is it. Hold onto your
> > > > hats. The next three hours are going to blow your mind.
> > > > You've listened to "Bat", you've listened to "Bat II",
> > > > "Bad for Good", "Dead Ringer", "Original Sin", and the
> > > > Bonnie Tyler albums, the soundtracks, all of that, you've
> > > > cringed at some of the accents from "Whistle down the
> > > > Wind" while gushing in awe over Batman and Superman
> > > > writing songs together, and now this. This is just fucking
> > > > it!
> > > >
> > > > The story takes place in late nineteenth century
> > > > Transylvania, as vampire hunter Professor Abronsius and
> > > > his assistant Alfred travel from Konigsberg to
> > > > Transylvania in the search of vampires. The scene rises on
> > > > a blizzard and Alfred is helplessly searching for the
> > > > Professor, who is frozen solid in the snow. Alfred finds
> > > > him and takes him to a village which seems to fear
> > > > vampires. There, Alfred meets the Innkeeper's daughter
> > > > Sarah who loves taking baths, and they begin to get
> > > > romantic about one another, only Sarah is being serenaded
> > > > and seduced by the mysterious Count Von Krolock who
> > > > invites her to his ball. Abronsius is suspicious, and when
> > > > Sarah runs away to the castle, they all find themselves
> > > > drawn into the world of the vampires, where everybody's
> > > > dreams and nightmares come true. In Krolock's Soliloquy in
> > > > the second act, he turns directly to the audience and
> > > > warns them that in the next millennium the world will be
> > > > filled with an insatiable greed. Meanwhile everything is
> > > > set to the musical rollercoaster that is Jim's score.
> > > >
> > > > Let's have a look at what I call the complete album, that
> > > > is the full double cast recording containing the vast
> > > > majority of the show. Note: so I don't embarrass myself
> > > > with any poor German here, I'm going to list these titles
> > > > in English.
> > > >
> > > > Disc 1:
> > > >
> > > > "Overture"---Bang! "The Storm" from Jim's album "Bad for
> > > > Good" is transformed into a thunderous Overture which
> > > > drags you into the world of this blizzard, howling in the
> > > > middle of a wilderness in Transylvania. This Overture
> > > > alone is bloodcurdling, in a great way.
> > > >
> > > > "Hey Ho Professor"---Alfred searches for the Professor.
> > > > Listen to the underscore and the sound effects that are
> > > > happening here. When it gets to the bit where all the
> > > > music swells, when Alfred finds the Professor, it's
> > > > mental.
> > > >
> > > > "Garlic"---firstly, I love the burps!!! Alfred and
> > > > Professor arrive at the village Inn, which is filled with
> > > > garlic hanging in all directions. We meet Chagal the
> > > > Innkeeper, Rebecca his wife and Magda the maid who Chagal
> > > > is having an affair with. Professor asks Chagal about the
> > > > garlic, but he just tries to fob him off. This song is an
> > > > earworm.
> > > >
> > > > "Please, Gentlemen"---Chagal escorts Abronsius and Alfred
> > > > to their rooms, when they start hearing voices, singing
> > > > voices, which turns out to be Chagal's daughter Sarah in
> > > > the middle of taking a bath. Alfred is smitten with her
> > > > and as it turns out, the feeling is pretty much mutual,
> > > > but Chagal isn't happy.
> > > >
> > > > "A Pretty Daughter is a Blessing"---Chagal comes back with
> > > > a hammer and nails and boards up the door to Sarah's room,
> > > > while singing about it. While he's hammering at the door,
> > > > it's all happening in time with the music. The mix of
> > > > humour and drama in this score is just fantastic.
> > > >
> > > > "Never Ever Seen"---everyone goes to bed, but Alfred and
> > > > Sarah are still wide awake, "dreaming" about one another,
> > > > meanwhile Chagal's trying to continue his affair with
> > > > Magda, Rebecca wakes up irate, and Professor thinks he
> > > > sees someone on the stairs, but outside the Inn the
> > > > Vampires are gathering, singing the music for, wait for
> > > > it, "Turn around..." It gives me the chills.
> > > >
> > > > "God is Dead"---Alfred and Sarah are still awake, when
> > > > Count Von Krolock appears outside the inn and begins
> > > > serenading Sarah with his song. It's the music for all of
> > > > the choruses from "Original Sin", when then morph into the
> > > > chorus of "Total Eclipse of the Heart", only it breaks off
> > > > toward the end. The music, orchestrations and Steve
> > > > Barton's performance are phenomenal.
> > > >
> > > > "Everything's Fine"---it's the next day at the Inn, and
> > > > Chagal, Magda and Rebecca are doing their chores outside
> > > > when suddenly the local hunchback, Koukol, appears asking
> > > > for candles. Listen to the underscoring here. It goes from
> > > > happy and chirpy to nervous and suspenseful. Again, I just
> > > > love it.
> > > >
> > > > "Truth"---Professor appears, asking about Koukol, but
> > > > Chagal just tries to fob him off again. Professor launches
> > > > into his patter song, which is like something out of a
> > > > Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera. Perfect for the
> > > > Professor, meanwhile Jim goes "Pirates of Penzance", wow.
> > > >
> > > > "You're Really Very Nice"---Alfred is about to take a
> > > > bath, but Sarah shows up. She wants to use the bathroom
> > > > and gives him her special sponge. The music underneath
> > > > here, turning into snatches of song, is a neat tune. Of
> > > > course, it's all leading up to the next bit. That part
> > > > where she starts humming is gorgeous.
> > > >
> > > > "Invitation to the Ball"---Count Von Krolock appears in
> > > > the skylight, gazing down on Sarah, and inviting her to
> > > > his ball. Now he's standing in front of the tub singing to
> > > > the music from "Original Sin". Only Alfred hears voices,
> > > > Krolock vanishes and everything turns into a big
> > > > shemozzle. The ending of this scene is the orchestra
> > > > quoting "Total Eclipse", not the first time that music's
> > > > going to give me the shivers here.
> > > >
> > > > "Out There is Freedom"---Alfred is serenading Sarah
> > > > outside her window, only she's outside looking for the
> > > > package which Koukol has just delivered to her. They sing
> > > > a song together, which is some of the most breathtaking,
> > > > heartbreaking, haunting music I have ever heard from Jim.
> > > > This song will become the basis for "Going all the Way is
> > > > Just the Start" on 2016's "Braver Than We Are" and you can
> > > > see why Meat and Jim would want to record this together.
> > > > The chorus of this song is quite literally breathtaking.
> > > >
> > > > "The Red Boots"---the original version of this sequence is
> > > > a dance scene, which means we get treated to a five minute
> > > > medley from this score, and it's just mental. Chagal and
> > > > Alfred come out at the end, realizing Sarah is gone, and
> > > > Chagal races off to look for her as the music turns into
> > > > the second half of "The Storm".
> > > >
> > > > "Mourning for Chagal"---Chagal's body has been recovered,
> > > > Rebecca's world is shattered and this is actually the last
> > > > time we see her in the play. I always wonder what happens
> > > > to her. You assume she's still down there in the Inn
> > > > while... more later. Her little moment at the end of this
> > > > is devastating, quoting the music from Chagal's song
> > > > earlier.
> > > >
> > > > "Death is Such an Odd Thing"---now Magda the maid steps
> > > > forward. She finds it odd that Chagal is now dead, only he
> > > > isn't because he wakes up, having turned into a vampire.
> > > > Magda wards him off with a crucifix, but it doesn't work
> > > > because he isn't that kind of vampire. This song is just
> > > > cool, an underrated theatre classic.
> > > >
> > > > "Through the Wilderness to the Castle"---Alfred and
> > > > Abronsius catch Chagal, after they find out he's a
> > > > vampire, and they get him to lead them straight to the
> > > > castle. The music starts quoting "Midnight Serenade" from
> > > > Jim's 1977 workshop of "Neverland" and it's so thrilling.
> > > >
> > > > "At the Castle"---they arrive at the castle, to be greeted
> > > > by verses of "Turn around" and Count Von Krolock singing
> > > > to music from "Neverland". The first time I heard this
> > > > scene on the complete album, I felt like I was in my
> > > > musical happy place, and not just because of the
> > > > recycling. It's just precious. The "Come with me" music at
> > > > the end is everything. And so, Krolock leads them into the
> > > > castle, and the audience is left wondering what is going
> > > > to happen next. It's time for an intermission, or in this
> > > > case we have to change the CD.
> > > >
> > > > Disc 2:
> > > >
> > > > "Total Eclipse of the Heart"---Disc 2 begins with another
> > > > bang, as the orchestra recites the music from "The Storm",
> > > > and finally *that* song. In a way, the 1983 Bonnie Tyler
> > > > song almost seems to sum up my idea of the 80s, where sky
> > > > was the limit. Cynics wonder why this is here, and why Jim
> > > > couldn't have come up with something new. I think it was
> > > > destined for "Tanz". In the original song, Bonnie Tyler
> > > > sings "Once upon a time there was light in my life/But now
> > > > there's only love in the dark/There's nothing I can do/A
> > > > total eclipse of the heart". To me, that could be a
> > > > vampire singing. I also noticed the acronym for this song
> > > > which is TEOTH which could be TEETH, as in vampire fangs.
> > > > This version is a knock out. It equals Bonnie and Rory's
> > > > original for me.
> > > >
> > > > "Carpe Noctem"---while Sarah is wandering the castle,
> > > > singing with Krolock in the portrait gallery, Alfred is in
> > > > the middle of a nightmare where Sarah is being turned into
> > > > a vampire. This is a new song, but it features sections of
> > > > older songs, music you'll recognize from "Come with me",
> > > > "The future ain't what it used to be" and "Back into
> > > > Hell". It does not surprise me that someone would want to
> > > > record it for "Bat III". I just love this. It goes from
> > > > metal to a choir singing at the end.
> > > >
> > > > "A perfect day"---Alfred and the Professor wake, preparing
> > > > to go down into the crypt to kill Von Krolock and his son,
> > > > Herbert... The quote from "Out There is Freedom" on piano
> > > > is practically worth the album alone for me.
> > > >
> > > > "In the Crypt"---they make their way into the crypt,
> > > > singing to the music from "Who Needs the Young?" from
> > > > "Neverland" and "The Dream Engine", which eventually
> > > > appears in both "Braver Than We Are" and the "Bat"
> > > > musical. It has another section here. Listen to that
> > > > piano. I just love it. It feels like an old silent movie.
> > > > Meanwhile Alfred is too scared to kill the Count and
> > > > Abronsius who's caught on the railings by his suspenders
> > > > is furious. They have to leave, which is when we see
> > > > Chagal and Magda as vampires singing together.
> > > >
> > > > "Books, Books"---Alfred and Abronsius discover the
> > > > library, and we hear this reprise of "Truth". This is a
> > > > list song, and it's a very good one. I love when Sarah's
> > > > humming comes in.
> > > >
> > > > "For Sarah"---Alfred finds Sarah, in the middle of having
> > > > her bath, but she doesn't want to be saved. Alfred is
> > > > resolute, and that's when he sings his big song, which was
> > > > once the music for "Milady", a song Barry Manilow recorded
> > > > but never released in the 80s, from Ray Errol Fox and
> > > > Jim's musical "The Confidence Man". This song is a wonder
> > > > in all its manifestations, including Jim's film score for
> > > > "A Small Circle of Friends". By the way, the chorus music
> > > > from "Out There is Freedom" is also from "Confidence
> > > > Man".
> > > >
> > > > "More Books"---the Professor is still in that library!
> > > > Alfred ends up finding a book called "When Love is Inside
> > > > You" which is how he meets the Count's sequel.
> > > >
> > > > "When Love is Inside You"---this is such a fun song!
> > > > Alfred learns that Herbert the son is gay and has a thing
> > > > for him, and Herbert tries to bite him, but Alfred escapes
> > > > with the help of the Professor. The reprise is mental!
> > > >
> > > > "You're Mistaken, Professor"---Abronsius confronts the
> > > > Count on the battlements of the Castle. This whole
> > > > sequence is riveting. I love all the quotes from "The
> > > > Storm"/Overture music. Imagine hearing a calm quiet
> > > > version of "The Storm". Well, it's on this track!
> > > >
> > > > "Eternity"---the "Bat out of Hell" tour in the 70s would
> > > > begin with a drummer bashing out a rock version of the
> > > > Bolero, while Jim starts removing his gloves and pounding
> > > > the piano onstage, before they all launch into "Great
> > > > Boleros of Fire", and Meat comes out to sing "Bat". In
> > > > "Tanz", this is now an introduction for the vampires with
> > > > full orchestra behind them. Terrific!!!
> > > >
> > > > "The Insatiable Greed"---Alfred and the Professor watch
> > > > from behind one of the graves as Krolock delivers his
> > > > haunting soliloquy, talking about his victims from the
> > > > past. The music here is "Objects in the rear view mirror
> > > > may appear closer than they are" from "Bat II", one of the
> > > > great highpoints of that album. This stands in its own
> > > > right as one of the most powerful performances in Jim's
> > > > career. I'd love to know what Meat Loaf thought of it.
> > > >
> > > > "The Ball"---the ball has officially begun, and as the
> > > > Vampires gather together and Abronsius and Alfred watch in
> > > > their disguises, the scene completely goes off. The
> > > > "Original Sin" music gives way to the chorus of "Total
> > > > Eclipse", a truly awesome moment for this Steinfan, as
> > > > Krolock bites Sarah. The Minuet based on "Turn around
> > > > bright eyes" and what happens next, by the way? OMFG!!!!
> > > >
> > > > "Out There is Freedom (Reprise)"---Alfred and the good
> > > > Professor manage to escape all right, but then Sarah bites
> > > > Alfred and turns him into a vampire. The reprise of the
> > > > chorus only underlines what a killer piece of music this
> > > > is, and so well matched to the drama.
> > > >
> > > > "The Dance of the Vampires"---Abronsius is oblivious to
> > > > everything and the Vampires take over the world. The music
> > > > here is none other than the song Iíve been raving about
> > > > for like how many reviews now? Yeah, "Tonight is What it
> > > > Means to be Young" from "Streets of Fire" has been made
> > > > over into the song of triumph for the vampires, their
> > > > global dance as they take over the world, which this
> > > > production also might have done.
> > > >
> > > > And so we come to an end. It's over now, the vampire music
> > > > of the night.
> > > >
> > > > In the 2004 edition of "Musicals: The Complete Illustrated
> > > > Story of the World's Most Popular Entertainment", this is
> > > > what the author Kurt Gšnzl had to say: "Tanz der Vampire's
> > > > tale, its fun, its music and its spectacle all came
> > > > together in what was undoubtedly the most complete and
> > > > effective musical to have come out of central Europe." I
> > > > can't say I'm surprised? Lightning in a bottle!
> > > >
> > > > Thank you,
> > > >
> > > > Ryan.


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Previous: re: Ryan Takes Us Through The Tanz Album - One Of Jim's Greatest Works - rockfenris2005 01:33 pm UTC 05/10/21
Next: re: Ryan Takes Us Through The Tanz Album - One Of Jim's Greatest Works - rockfenris2005 04:28 pm UTC 05/12/21

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