A trio of album reviews with Notes of Love – The Songs of Oliver Boito, Hamlisch Uncovered, and Michael Thomas Freeman – Rewrite This Story
“So many lives to live and risks to take”
Oliver Boito is clearly a man with many strings to his bow. He’s a photographer and artist as well as being a songwriter and a smattering of his tracks make up his EP Notes of Love – The Songs of Oliver Boito. And on this evidence, he’s quite the skilled composer. This selection is ballad-heavy and so naturally falls into my wheelhouse but the soaring clean harmonies of the Disney-esque ‘I’ll Always Stay’ sung by Stuart Matthew Price and Siubhan Harrison and the drama of the sumptuous ‘Sometimes’ by Sharon Sexton and Sooz Kempner should appeal to anyone. I look forward to hopefully hearing more from Boito’s pen.
Not only is Marvin Hamlisch one of the handful of people to have accomplished the EGOT but he is also one of just two who can also add a Pulitzer Prize to the mix too. He composed for the screen more than the stage but he was responsible for a little show called A Chorus Line that you might have heard of… He sadly passed away in 2012 but this 2017 album gathers together some of his unrecorded songs and as it often the case with these kind of posthumous collections, there’s a feeling of knowing exactly why many of these songs ended up on the cutting room floor. Despite a company that includes the marvellous Kelli O’Hara, I don’t think I’d recommend Hamlisch Uncovered unless you’re a hardcore completist fan of his work.
Michael Thomas Freeman’s album Rewrite This Story stood out for me due to the calibre of his guest artists, including Alice Fearn, Luke Bayer and Christina Bennington to name a few. Freeman is a Canadian singing teacher based in London and his deep knowledge of musical theatre is in evidence here with the inclusion of composers like Jonathan Reid Gealt and Adam Guettel rather than crowdpleasers from Les Mis. An impassioned ‘Awaiting You’ from Guettel’s Myths and Hymns probably stands out, though the duet with Fearn on Waitress‘ evergreen ‘You Matter To Me’ is rather lovely too.