CD Review: Andrew Lloyd Webber – Unmasked: The Platinum Collection

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music has been with many of us seemingly a lifetime. His own lifetime spans some 70 years now and to tie in with his landmark birthday, the musical maestro has curated a 4 CD greatest hits compilation encompassing many of his compositions and collaborations.

Among the musicals featured are Cats, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph, The Phantom of The Opera, School of Rock, and Sunset Boulevard. All musicals have struck a chord over the last five decades. Be they forming part of a live on-stage soundtrack or standing out alone as popular songs and contributing to the ever growing soundtrack of life for those who made them hits.

Those songs are brought together on Unmasked: The Platinum Collection, a 4 CD set  featuring a host of superstars from Elvis Presley and Cliff Richard to Madonna and Antonia Banderas stepping up to vocal duties.

Its no easy feat compiling such a collection. Renditions of Lloyd Webber’s songs stretch far beyond musical soundtracks and single releases, making it a difficult choice of what to retain and what to leave off. However, there’s a strong line-up of material to enjoy here, Michael Crawford’s unforgettable take on Music of The Night, Julia Covington’s unbeatable recording of Don’t Cry for Me Argentina and Donny Osmond’s singalong rendition of Any Dream Will Do all make the cut.

There are also new recordings. Gregory Porter’s Light at The End of The Tunnel, Nicole Scherzinger’s Memory and Lana Del Ray’s  You Must Love Me, show Lloyd Webber as contemporary as ever before.

Of course, it would be easy to say Andrew Lloyd Webber was only a master of the musical, he wasn’t. Variations, his instrumental odyssey of rock and pop fused with classical, performed by his brother, Julian and a host of rock stalwarts in 1978 still endures. Variations 1-4 sit neatly on this release with melodic echoes of other Variations blurring into Sarah Brightman’s Unexpected Song and Alex Brightman and The Cast of School of Rock’s  Stick It to The Man.

Unmasked: The Platinum Collection is a great opportunity to revisit some all-time classics while rediscovering some forgotten gems, while demonstrating that the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber is not likely to go out of style anytime soon.