Sunday, October 20, 2013

MT Soundtracker: Day 20

Whistle Down the Wind (1996)

Original Cast Recording (1998)

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics: Jim Steinman

Synopsis: Based on the 1961 film of the same name, the musical is set in Louisiana in 1959. Swallow finds an unknown man hiding in the barn and believing him as he says he is Jesus Christ, she and the other children promise to keep his existence secret while the adults search for a murderer on the run.  

Like most Andrew Lloyd Webber scores, Whistle Down the Wind has one very distinct motif which keeps returning for continuity and coherence. Even though the musical was unfamiliar to me, I still knew that 'Whistle Down the Wind' tune. However, even for Lloyd Webber, this tune was recycled a lot and I was tired of it before I was even halfway through the soundtrack. 
Many of the songs are very melodic and are reminiscent of older musical theatre shows by the likes of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Like in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, children are an integral part of the show. A few of the songs are rock-influenced such as Cold and Tire Tracks and Broken Hearts
Interesting fact: No Matter What, sung by Boyzone on the concept album and later released by them as a single, was voted UK's single of the year in 1998 and it became the most successful single produced from a musical ever. 
Also A Kiss Is a Terrible Thing to Waste and When Children Rule the World became well-known tracks outside of the context of the show. 

Due to the negative reviews following its Washington D. C. premiere in 1996, the date set for a Broadway opening of Whistle Down the Wind was cancelled. A reworked version of the musical opened in the West End in 1998 and this production ran for over 1000 performances. It has since been revived in the West End and it has successfully toured both in the UK and the USA. 


  1. I originally got the cast recording because of Jim Steinman's lyrics, but I could swear that he has also composed some of the rock-like songs like Tire Tracks. They are so very Steinman-ish and so little ALW-ish. Then again, ALW is known for taking influences from other composers... Anyway, the child choir parts get on my nerves, but the most over-the-top songs work for me.

  2. While I was doing my research I briefly looked up Jim Steinman as I did not know much about him and that made me think exactly what you just said about him having an input in composing the rockier songs.
    And I agree about the children's chorus :P