I know how it feels. To find a brand new artist, to be excited, then to slam the keys of their name into Amazon only to find an overwhelming 20 pages of results. Where to start? As I pretty much have the whole catalogue (excluding several singles and her vinyl years) I thought I would share my extensive knowledge of Brightman’s discography.
This guide is divided into sections from what I deem the most important, to the least important:
1. Nemo Studio Albums
The “Nemo” Studio albums refer to her career with Frank Peterson. Sarah Brightman met Peterson in the early nineties whilst Brightman was trying to find a new direction in her career (she wanted to pull away from musical theatre). Inspired by new age group Enigma Brightman wished to work with someone who was part of the project, and Peterson stepped up. This collaboration is still ongoing today, and together, they have made eight studio albums (or nine, if you include the original Classics). These eight albums paint the true picture of Brightman and Peterson’s artistic vision and should be your first priority. Their trademark tends to be the conceptual theme, though not all have this. One thing you should definitely keep in mind when buying the studio albums are the countless editions that they have. For help on deciding which editions to buy, see section 8. If you do not care about losing the odd song or two, buy whichever one you can get your hands on the fastest and cheapest.
Winter Symphony 2008
Brightman’s first Christmas album. There are no original songs on this album, only some predictable Christmas standards, and some equally unexpected covers such as ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’. Features Fernando Lima and Mario Frangoulis (only on certain editions) as guest vocalists.
A mixed bag of songs, including originals, covers and arias. This album sees Brightman pair up with old friend Andrea Bocelli again, Paul Stanley, Alessendro Safina and Fernando Lima. Although this album is clearly a repeat of her Eden and La Luna, the classical side is toned down a bit, with a hint of symphonic metal leaking through.
Most songs have heavy electronics and Eastern instruments, some covers and originals. A slight departure from her usual albums, but the classical influence can still be heard. This album features Ofra Haza, as guest vocalist (posthumously), Nigel Kennedy on the violin and Iraqi singer Kadim Al Sahir.
La Luna 2000
Theme: The Moon
Heavily classical, but some mild pop slips into the songs. It is almost the same as Eden, only more atmospheric and fairly more classical as Brightman tackles Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Handel and Dvorák.
Genre: Classical/New Age/Pop
Leans more towards new age and pop with classical influences woven through. This is the first album that cemented Brightman’s current style that maintains a balance between pop and classical. The formula used for this album is used in all subsequent albums, not to mention the formula for almost every new Classical Crossover artist.
Timeless 1997 (also called “Time To Say Goodbye” in America)
Her most successful album and definitely her most classical. This album features guest vocalists Andrea Bocelli and José Cura. Features some classical standards, but also a few original songs and unexpected covers.
A complete mumbo jumbo of genres. Probably her most pop/rock of albums. A later edition of this album includes ‘Time To Say Goodbye’ with Andrea Bocelli, but this album also includes guest vocalists Chris Thompson and Tom Jones.
Genre: Pop/New Age
First album fresh after the Enigma influence. Full of very mild pop songs interwoven with new age influence. She does not use her operatic voice at all on this album, and only belts out every now and again.
2. Andrew Lloyd Webber Collaboration Albums
There are six of these albums and many of the track lists overlap the others. These albums tend to be released by Webber, not Brightman, and belong to his company The Really Useful Group. Very often these compilation albums are simply Webber putting out old recordings he has of Brightman singing his songs, but that does not mean that these albums are of poor quality, because they most certainly are not. There are some gems to be found in this collection. The problem here is that if you buy only one of these albums, you will have most of the tracks already, and buying more will cause a repeat of tracks. My advice would be to buy two or three of these albums as you will be sure to have most of the recordings.
Love Changes Everything 2005
Exclusive Track Count: 7
This album boasts a huge amount of exclusive tracks but it lacks definitive and famous songs from Webber’s repertoire and the production is not very good. Leave this one until later when you are sure you love her enough.
Exclusive Track Count: 3
This album contains songs from other musicals besides Webber’s. This album also lacks definitive songs, though it has some real gems, but they can be found on others. Standing on its own, it is a very beautiful slow album, but I still would not recommend it over others.
The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection 1997
Exclusive Track Count: 0
Every single track on here can be found elsewhere, but that is because this is the definitive collection. It has both famous songs and hidden gems you would not expect. This should be your first or second buy within this section.
Surrender: The Unexpected Songs 1995
Exclusive Track Count: 0
This album is definitive, but also keeps the promise that the title of the album makes. Brightman and Webber actually got together to work on this album and record for it, so it is quite unique in that way. Should be your first or second purchase.
Sarah Brightman Sings the Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber 1992
Exclusive Track Count: 0
All of these tracks are Brightman’s original recordings back when her voice was used purely for musical theatre which is why these recordings are really unique and enjoyable. With no exclusive tracks (but a few exclusive recordings), it’s up to you whether you wish to hear these recordings.
The Songs That Got Away 1989
Exclusive Track Count: 10
This is a Webber release, but it only contains one of his songs. A collection of recordings of very obscure songs from musical theatre. There are a few wonderful tracks on here, but mostly, they are obscure for a reason. Come back for this one at a later date.
3. Pre-Nemo Albums
Before Brightman found her footing with Peterson, she kept trying to boost her career away from theatre and to my knowledge did not like the results of either of the ventures. There are only two of these albums, one of which is probably the least liked by Sarah fans (Trees They Grow So High).
As I Came of Age 1990
Genre: Eighties Pop
A manufactured album that Brightman had no creative control over. If you like cheesy eighties pop there is no reason why you will not like this. It is actually quite catchy, and even contains her rendition of ‘Good Morning Starshine’!
Trees They Grow So High 1988
This was not really a release of Brightman’s, rather, a contribution. It is part of the EMI Classics catalogue. It is simply Brightman’s raw soprano and Geoffrey Parsons piano performing folk songs like ‘The Ash Grove’ and ‘Dear Harp My Country!’
4. Best of/Compilation Albums
With a career spanning three decades, it is of little surprise that Brightman has a few of these in her catalogue. There are five to be exact and whilst they do lack importance regarding exclusivity, they are vital for newcomers.
Amalfi: Sarah Brightman Love Songs 2009
This is a Japanese release to coincide with Brightman’s movie release of Amalfi in which she features. The album does not contain any exclusive tracks, but it is the most up to date compilation album that includes tracks from Symphony. Its other claim to goodness is that the album sleeve features all new photographs.
Classics: The Best of Sarah Brightman 2006
This exclusive European release is almost identical to a previous release in 2001, then, simply called ‘Classics’. This is probably the weakest release of this section, and I would not recommend it as it focuses only on Brightman’s classical side – probably due to the fact that the UK requires a certain amount of classical pieces to be eligible for the Classical Chart.
Diva: The Singles Collection 2006
Released along with above, but this was for the rest of the world, and they got the better deal. A fine collection of Brightman’s most notable single releases. It has a wide variety, correctly depicting Brightman’s career. This might be the first one you should get, though it is not slightly out of date due to the release of Symphony.
Some may consider this a studio album; for that reason, you should actually make the effort to obtain this. What it ultimately is though, is a collection of classical pieces Brightman had recorded up to that point with six new recordings; only four of which were new songs (which includes ‘Winterlight’, one of the standout tracks of the album).
The Very Best of Sarah Brightman 1990-2000 2000
This is a decent, solid compilation that celebrates Brightman’s time with Peterson. Unlike Diva, this album contains tracks from Dive, more from Fly, and even two exclusive tracks (though their exclusivity depends on your location). On the downside, it’s obviously out of date now and it does not acknowledge Brightman’s time with Webber.
Symphony: Live in Vienna 2008
A live album from her one off concert in Vienna. It was originally released on DVD to a limited consumer market, but after much protest by fans, the DVD, and the CD of the live show, became readily available. There are no exclusive tracks, but if you get a special DVD/CD edition of the album, you will be treated to Brightman’s studio recording of ‘Vide Cor Meum’, which cannot be found elsewhere.
Sarah Brightman in Concert 2008
Although this concert had been on DVD for over ten years, a CD edition was released as recently as 2008. Although there are no studio recordings, Brightman sang a lot of songs in this concert that she has never recorded. For that reason, this CD may be worth getting. This release also comes with the DVD, so it is also good value for money.
The Harem World Tour: Live from Las Vegas 2004
This is the first live album that was released, so although it is advertised as Harem the album’s real purpose is to demonstrate Brightman’s main repertoire, which is why only four songs from the Harem album appear on here. Contains a studio recording of Anggun’s ‘Snow on the Sahara’.
A Whiter Shale of Pale/A Question of Honour EP 2001
Contains ten tracks. Five are of ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ remixes and the other five are for ‘A Question of Honour’ remixes. It depends whether you like remixes or not if you may consider this worth your money. Some of the remixes are lengthy, hitting over the 8:00 minute mark.
A Gala Christmas in Vienna 1997
Brightman sings a Christmas concert in Vienna with Plácido Domingo, Helmut Lotti and Riccardo Cocciante. She only has one song to herself, which you can find on her ‘Best of 1990-2000′ album, but she features in many other songs you will not hear elsewhere by her.
This is a recording of Webber’s Requiem. This is where Brightman’s ‘Pie Jesu’ originally comes from. She also participates in other songs. Plácido Domingo and Paul-Miles Kingston are also part of this recording.
6. Tour Albums
If you are a new Sarah Brightman fan, you might as well give up hope on this section. It contains three albums, and your only hope on obtaining these beautiful gems is to haunt eBay and to be willing to pay over £150 ($300) for them. These are not official releases, but limited edition albums that were only available at her various tours. If you are able to get your hands on them, you are very lucky!
Symphony: Pre-Show Music 2008
This is a boxset containing 32 instrumental tracks of Brightman’s most loved classical pieces. This was only available on the North American leg of her Symphony tour and on her offical website store. It is not as desirable as Brightman’s other tour albums since her vocals do not feature on a single track – none of which are exclusive. In essence, this is an extortionately priced karoke set for aspiring Brightmanettes. At time of writing, this boxset is still available on the singers official site.
The Harem Tour 2004
This one pops up more often on eBay and even though it will still be a costly affair, it is of less value than Fly II. Six of these thirteen songs can actually be found elsewhere if you look hard enough (think Sash!, Schiller and Gregorian, see section 9), and the first track ‘Karma Sutra’ is simply a studio recording of the live version found on the Harem Live CD.
Fly II 2000
The most wanted CD in all Sarah Brightman Fandom. This album is a double disc CD. It contains the first original release of Fly, and a second disc full of mouth watering goodies that you will not find anywhere else (thirteen of them, in fact). It’s older than the other tour album, so it is even more difficult to get hold of this one.
Before Sarah’s very successful outing into the classical crossover world she was primarily known as a musical star. Although she is more famous for her roles in Phantom of the Opera and Cats, she did others.
Repo! The Genetic Opera 2008
This is Brightman’s first film. She plays the role of Blind Mag and has a key role in the story. Also starring are Paris Hilton, Anthony Head, Alexa Vega and Paul Sorvino. Brightman has a few solos on this soundtrack, including an opera piece. At the time of writing this album is only available in America, and is still awaiting release elsewhere.
Song & Dance 2007
Originally recorded in 1984, it was remastered and released in 2007. Song & Dance is a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, coupled with his brother’s cello variations on the second disc. In its original format it was simply Tell Me On A Sunday which is basically a one-woman show, such is the case for the first disc of this release. Purely Sarah Brightman.
The Phantom of the Opera 1987
It is absolutely vital that you get the original cast recording and not the movie cast recording. Brightman was not in the film, but in the original cast. This is her most famous role, and her then husband, Andrew Lloyd Webber, wrote this musical for her, and she was its muse. It is financially the most successful musical of all time.
Brightman starred in the Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic Carousel and featured heavily in the first half of the musical playing the character of Carrie. She does not have any solos, though she duets with Barbara Cook in ‘Mister Snow’. This musical also stars Samuel Ramey, Barbara Cook, Maureen Forrester and David Rendall.
This obscure and modest musical by Charles Strouse is often forgotten by Brightman fans, but she plays the title role. She does have a few solos and features quite often throughout. The epic track ‘Who Are These People’ has Brightman’s vocals mimic a nightingale’s sound. Although never found in highstreet stores, it’s still easy enough to obtain over the net.
Brightman played the very small role of Jemima in this musical. She does not have a song to her self, but you can hear her often in the ensemble pieces, and she does have some solo lines, most notably in ‘The Moments of Happiness’ and in the ‘Memory’ finale. This was the first Webber musical Brightman starred in, and it is also when they first met.
8. Notable Editions
With every new studio album, there are a dozen new editions. You know… the “limited” editions, the “ultimate” editions, the “international” editions, the “Japanese” editions, and so on. Most annoyingly, each edition seems to have its own special bonus track that you cannot get elsewhere. This list will try to give you the best possible edition for each album. However, because of the sheer awesomeness of rare tracks they are either quite difficult to find and/or they are very expensive when you do find them. Happy hunting (and spending).
Classics (Taiwan Limited Edition) 2002
You can actually get any edition of Classics. As far as I know, none have any bonus tracks. This Taiwan edition, however, has a bonus VCD which includes the rare ‘Winter Light’ music video, and two video live performances of ‘Dans La Nuit’ and ‘Ave Maria’ with a personal greeting message from Sarah.
Fly (Japanese Import) 2006
If you do not have the Fly album at all, then this is well worth getting. It is as the original 1995 release, only, it has four bonus tracks. Two of these tracks are from the ever elusive Fly II album. The bonus tracks are ‘Do You Wanna Be Loved’, ‘How Can Heaven Love Me (Video Version), A Question of Honour (Alternative Radio Version)’ and ‘On the Nile’.
Eden/Time To Say Goodbye 1999
This wonderful, but very rare, edition of Eden includes a second disc. The Eden disc is as usual, and the second disc is almost exactly the same as the Time To Say Goodbye single, only it has the bonus track of ‘Desert Rose’, only available on the Fly II album. If you do not have the single originally either, then this also includes the rare track ‘Sleep Tight’. Score.
Harem Limited CD+DVD Edition 2003
This edition comes in a digipak, includes the bonus track ‘Gueri De Toi’ (basically a French version of ‘Free’) and an extra satisfying DVD on the making of the album. Harem has countless editions, but I will tell you to avoid the US edition, which only has the common ‘You Take My Breath Away’ as the bonus track.
Symphony (Japanese Edition) 2008
Has one bonus track of ‘Forbidden Colours’, previously only available on the rare Harem Tour CD. ‘Forbidden Colours’ is an adapted version of the famous ‘Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence’. Unfortunately, every edition of Symphony has its bonus track, but this bonus track is the most rare of them all, so this is probably the best choice.
Other notable editions:
Eden (US Edition) – Includes ‘The Last Words You Said’ bonus track
Harem (Japanese Edition)- Includes ‘Sarahbande’ and ‘Namida (Where Firebirds Cry)’ bonus tracks
Harem (AVCD Edition) – Includes two videos (’Harem’ and ‘What A Wonderful World’) and three audio tracks (’Harem Remix’, ‘Anytime, Anywhere’, ‘Nessun Dorma’)
Symphony (UK Edition) – Includes ‘Sarahbande’ as a bonus track
Symphony (Polish Edition) – Includes an exclusive duet with Andrzej Lampert on the track ’I Will Be With You’
9. The Gregorian Project
Gregorian is an important group for any Brightman fan as they are another project from Frank Peterson. They borrow not only Sarah from time to time, but also her sister, Amelia Brightman. Both vocalists have stage names on the Gregorian project. Sarah is Hepsibah whilst Amelia goes by Violet (’Eve’ on earlier albums). There is not one album of Gregorian’s that does not use either of the Brightman sisters, so if you’re serious, you should make an effort to get their albums too.
Masters of Chant 2000
Sarah features on: Don’t Give Up
Amelia features on: None
Amelia’s writing credits: None
Masters of Chant: Chapter II 2001
Sarah features on: Moment of Peace
Amelia features on: Stairway To Heaven, Moment of Peace (French and Spanish versions)
Amelia’s writing credits: Moment of Peace
Masters of Chant: Chapter III 2002
Sarah features on: Join Me, Voyage Voyage, Join Me (”Schill Out”-Version)
Amelia features on: None
Amelia’s writing credits: Before the Dawn, Out of the Cold
Masters of Chant: Chapter IV 2003
Sarah features on: None
Amelia features on: The Gift
Amelia’s writing credits: The Gift, The End of Days (Japanese Edition only)
The Dark Side 2004
Sarah features on: None
Amelia features on: Where the Wild Roses Grow, More
Amelia’s writing credits: None
Masters of Chant: Chapter V 2006
Sarah features on: Heroes (originally, Tarja Turunen was to lend her vocals to this track), Send Me An Angel
Amelia features on: Silent Lucidity, A Weakened Soul
Amelia’s writing credits: The Forest
Christmas Chants 2006
Sarah features on: When A Child Is Born
Amelia features on: The First Noel, Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy, Happy Xmas War Is Over
Amelia’s writing credits: None
Masters of Chant: Chapter VI 2007
Sarah features on: None
Amelia features on: The Circle, Joga, The Time Has Come
Amelia’s writing credits: The Time Has Come
10. Other Albums Sarah Notably Features On
I’m only going to include albums with tracks that she does not have on her own official albums. Like the Gregorian albums, these are difficult to get hold of, but easy enough on amazon.de.
Sash – S4! 2003
Brightman features on one track of this fairly obscure album by popular DJ, Sash. It’s called ‘The Secret’ and the only other place that this track lives is on the rare Harem Tour CD so you may wish to get this if you simply can’t get hold of the tour album.
Schiller – Leben 2003
Another popular DJ that is very popular in Germany. Brightman recorded two tracks for this album, but only one made the cut. The other one can only be found on the… you guessed it, Harem Tour CD. The one on this album is called ‘The Smile’.
Princessa – Princessa 1997
Brightman features on this album consistently as a backup vocalist and has a few writing credits including ‘Do You Wanna Be Loved’ (a rare track that Sarah recorded herself, only to put it on the elusive Fly II album), ‘I Do What You Want Me To Do’ and ‘Like a Nun’. Frank Peterson wrote most of the album with the usual Nemo team.
Oh yes, Brightman has plenty of these. This list here is no where near the exhaustive list of her DVD’s or her appearences. For a full list, visit the site I link to at the bottom of this page. This is only a selection of her DVDs, but all of her main and commercially available ones are included.
Symphony: Live In Vienna 2008
A live recording of Brightman doing a one off concert of Symphony in Vienna. Originally this had an extremely limited release, but after much protests from fans, the DVD was released commercially, also releasing a live album in CD format.
Diva: The Video Collection 2006
An excellent DVD released to complement the Diva: The Singles Collection album. It basically has many music videos throughout Brightman’s career. Unfortunately, this fantastic DVD has only been released in region 1, despite a promise of a region 2 release.
The Harem World Tour: Live From Las Vegas 2004
Her concert DVD of her Harem Tour. Colourful and her most experimental of all of her concerts. Includes Brightman flying, and swinging over the audience on a very large swing. Came with an interactive quiz, which would then give passwords to prizes on her official website. The quiz was very difficult and time consuming.
Harem: A Desert Fantasy 2003
An unusual but very welcome DVD that basically made a music video out of almost every track from her Harem album, along with some others. All of the videos were shot on location and there are plenty of bonus materials to keep you happy.
Vatican Christmas Concert 2002
This DVD was released in 2002, but I’m pretty sure the concert took place in 1998 or 1999. She only performs two songs: ‘O Holy Night’ and ‘Nella Fantasia’. This concert has plenty of big names, including Bryan Adams, Charlotte Church, Tom Jones and Dionne Warwick to name a few.
La Luna: Live in Concert 2001
As lavish as all of her tours, this concert takes you through her La Luna album with the visual aids that Brightman intended. This tour is more theatrical than her One Night in Eden tour. Brightman attached to a hot air balloon was originally planned, but was cut due to health and safety issues for the audience. Josh Groban guest stars.
Andrew Lloyd Webber: The Royal Albert Hall Celebration 2000
A star studded concert that celebrates most of Webber’s musicals. Sarah performs four songs, three of which are from Phantom, the other is ‘Pie Jesu’. Other notable stars include Michael Ball, Glenn Close, and Elaine Paige.
One Night in Eden: Live In Concert 1999
The first of Brightman’s conceptual tours. It’s not as grand as La Luna or the Harem tours, but it certainly sets the path in stone. It was the first time Brightman put herself in an harness to float over the stage, for example, and the set for ‘La Mer’ hints at the wonderful creativity that was set to come in her later tours.
Sarah Brightman in Concert 1997
Because of her success with Timeless, this concert was put on. It’s nothing like her later concerts. It’s a very formal, highbrow affair. The programme is mostly classical with a few musical numbers thrown in for good measure. Guest stars Andrea Bocelli and Andrew Lloyd Webber. A new edition has been released of this in 2008 that is coupled with a CD version of the concert.
Christmas in Vienna V 1997
The DVD version of the CD. See section 5 for more details. This is relatively hard to get hold of now, but amazon.de seem to have a few copies up for sale. Includes Plácido Domingo, Helmut Lotti and Riccardo Cocciante.
12. The End
That’s it! Every album has been covered! Still, this does not cover everything ever released or recorded by Brightman. Her back catalogue goes deeper into history with the Hot Gossip days in the 70s and 80s. There are also countless of singles that have been released that I have not covered here. If you want even MORE information regarding any of her vinyl work or her singles, the only place I can suggest for you to go to is the ever excellent and fully detailed website that is The Early Sarah Brightman Website.
I hope you found this helpful, and if you spotted any inaccuracies, or something that is possibly missed on this list, leave a comment to let me know.
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