History may or may not count The Sound of Music among the very greatest American musicals, but it is undeniably one of the most popular and well beloved, and few other musicals can boast as many songs that have become firmly embedded in the national consciousness. Its wide popularity can be attributed to the 1965 movie, which has been seen by exponentially greater numbers of fans than the stage version, but the elements that made the movie such a success (except, of course, for the fabulous cinematography) are all there in the Broadway show, which received a Tony Award for Best Musical. The original cast recording, featuring Mary Martin, made just a few days after its 1959 New York opening, went to the top of the Billboard charts, sold millions of copies, and won a Grammy for Best Show Album in 1960. The performances are top-notch, justifying the album's enduring popularity. Martin, who won a Tony for her performance, is clearly not a 21 year old, but her youthful energy makes her compelling as Maria, and she fully inhabits the role. Patricia Neway (who was six years younger than Martin) is a magisterial Mother Abbess, a splendid performance for which she also won a Tony Award. The other soloists, Theodore Bikel as Captain von Trapp, Lauri Peters as Liesl, Kurt Kasznar as Max, Marion Marlowe as the Baroness, and Brian Davies as Rolf, are sharply etched and vocally convincing. And the children are genuinely adorable. The album includes three songs that were not in the movie version, Max and the Baroness' "How can love survive?"; "No way to stop it," for Max, the Baroness, and the Captain; and the Captain and Maria's love duet, "An ordinary couple." By dropping them, the producers of the movie were free to cast non-singers in the roles of Max and the Baroness, and the original love duet was replaced in the movie by "Something good." An additional possible explanation for the omission of "No way to stop it," may have been its comic tone, which could be seen as trivializing the seriousness of the Anschluss. Considered apart from its grim context and without its brief introduction, though, it's a completely delightful song; it's a shame it could not have found a more suitable setting somewhere in the creators' oeuvre. The sound quality is very fine for the era, and the details of Robert Russell Bennett's marvelous orchestration are clearly audible. This is a classic recording, one that any fan of the musical, or anyone with a serious interest in American musical theater, will want to hear.