Just in time for her Broadway opening in “Sunset Boulevard” comes “Betty Buckley: The London Concert,” on Sterling Records, a live recording made in March with the BBC Big Band and the BBC Concert Orchestra. Most of the songs are available on Buckley’s two earlier Sterling records, though in much more intimate formats. Here, the arrangements are big and often brassy, starting with the opening, “Old Friends,” from Stephen Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along.” Sondheim’s “Finishing the Hat,” from “Sunday in the Park With George” doesn’t really work for a woman, though I certainly understand the impulse to record this great, haunting song.
The high points are Kurt Weill’s “Surabaya Johnny,” a hair-raising “Rose’s Turn” from the Styne/Sondheim “Gypsy,” and two gorgeous numbers, Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and a sweet “Amazing Grace” that gently evokes Buckley’s Texas background. Overall, it’s an extremely listenable album, though I like the earlier pair better and I’d be happy with a long vacation from both “Meadowlark” and “With One Look.”