Adapters: John Williams ; John Williams .
Personnel: Isaac Stern (vocals, violin); Leonard Frey, Neva Small, Barry Dennen, Molly Picon , Paul Mann, Ruth Madoc, Chaim Topol (vocals).
Audio Remasterer: Ron McMaster.
Audio Remixer: John Hendrickson.
Liner Note Author: Didier C. Deutsch.
Director: Norman Jewison.
Originally released as a double-LP set and now on one CD, the gold-selling soundtrack album for the screen adaptation of the long-running Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof, which became the top-grossing film of 1971, stretched out Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick's song score with musical adaptations by conductor John Williams, who used a giant orchestra and chorus that sounded like it was far bigger than the population of the little village of Anatevka. (Williams won the Academy Award for musical adaptation for his trouble.) There was plenty of screen dialogue, too. But the appeal of the work continued to be the wonderful songs "Tradition," "Matchmaker," "If I Were a Rich Man," "To Life," "Sunrise, Sunset," and "Do You Love Me." Topol, who repeated his starring performance as Tevye from the London stage version, wasn't as funny as Zero Mostel, who created the part on Broadway, but gave it more gravity. Occasionally on the soundtrack he sounded so tired, though, that he barely got his lines out. Happily, he nailed "If I Were a Rich Man," which is Tevye's real showcase number. The soundtrack also includes one song, "Chavaleh," here called "Chava Ballet Sequence," that was cut from the stage show, though a song that was in the show, "Now I Have Everything," has been dropped. Still, the Fiddler on the Roof album to buy is the original Broadway cast recording. The 2001 CD reissue is even more the creature of Williams than of Bock and Harnick, adding several short instrumental orchestral pieces. But it also adds a good previously unheard song, "Any Day Now," sung by Paul Michael Glaser, who played Perchik, and probably intended to replace "Now I Have Everything," although it, too, was left on the cutting room floor of a film that already ran three hours. ~ William Ruhlmann