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Rare Live Recording of Stephen Sondheim's PHINNEY'S RAINBOW Found on Bookshelf

Rare Live Recording of Stephen Sondheim's PHINNEY'S RAINBOW Found on Bookshelf

Paul Salsini is donating the CD to the Sondheim Research Collection in Milwaukee

A very rare live recording of one of Stephen Sondheim's earliest musicals has been discovered in the US city of Milwaukee.

Phinney's Rainbow was written in 1948 by the legendary composer when he was an 18-year-old student. The show had four performances at Williams College in Massachusetts and was recorded at some point. It was eventually transferred to a CD.

Paul Salsini, who found the CD, is the author of the memoir Sondheim and Me: Revealing a Musical Genius. He told BBC News that he found the CD while he was cleaning his office.

"This is the first original cast recording of a Sondheim show," he said.

"I noticed that there was a space between a couple of CDs and I looked at the shelf below and found that this recording had fallen down into the next shelf. It had literally fallen through the cracks."

The amateur recording, featuring background noise, laughing and applause, lasts 80 minutes and has 19 tracks.

Listen to the overture below!

Music scholar Stephen Banfield, who wrote Sondheim's Broadway Musicals, shared, "Any complete recording of a live show from 1948 is pretty important, there aren't many,"

Paul Salsini is now donating the CD to the Sondheim Research Collection in Milwaukee to enable the wider public to hear it.

He does not think Phinney's Rainbow should be performed again, as it was a "college musical ... it's a curiosity piece it really is,"

"But it's an interesting curiosity piece not only because it was the first for him but because of how it had showed the imagination and tendencies that he would show through the rest of his career."

Read the full BBC story here.

Photo Credit: Wlater McBride

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