Linda Sanders
December 13, 1991 AT 05:00 AM EST

Michael Crawford Performs Andrew Lloyd Webber

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Michael Crawford
genre
Soundtracks

We gave it a C-

Michael Crawford grabbed just about every award in the book for his performance in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, in large part because of his expressive singing. In Crawford Performs Andrew Lloyd Webber, however, he has gone completely over the top. Accompanied by cymbal-crashing, string-sodden arrangements for the Royal Philharmonic, Crawford manages to sing songs from every period of the Lloyd Webber oeuvre — from Jesus Christ Superstar to Aspects of Love — without allowing a single note to emerge unstrangled by trembling, gasping, choking, whispering, bellowing emotion. So overwrought and overkilled in every way, it makes you long for the simple good taste of a Howard Keel. The amazing thing is that in spite of Crawford’s superhuman efforts to bring out previously unsuspected emotional depths in songs from Cats and Starlight Express, the album overall comes off as innocuous, even pleasant. It’s the most eloquent testimony yet to the unassailable vacuousness of Lloyd Webber’s work. C-

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