Sunday, February 24, 2013

Les Misérables : The Musical Phenomenon : Highlights From the Motion Picture Soundtrack

Just in time for tonight's Academy Awards broadcast, in which Les Miserable is nominated in numerous categories, including for the music...

Les Misérables : The Musical Phenomenon : Highlights From the Motion Picture Soundtrack
music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; Anne Dudley; Alain Boublil; Herbert Kretzme [On Order]

Having seen traveling stage productions of the musical Les Misérables twice over the years, I was really looking forward to the big-budget star-studded feature film version of the musical, which opened on Christmas Day in 2012. The film has gotten generally positive reviews, with raves for several of the performances. One choice that the filmmakers made was to record the actors/performers singing their lines/songs live on set, rather than dubbing them in from studio recordings later. This has leant the compulsively singable music a greater sense of emotion and immediacy that is occasionally missing from the more traditional "stage" recordings of either the London or Broadway casts of this show. This "highlights" disc features 20 tracks of music from the feature film -- not all the show's music, by a long shot, and a few keys songs are notedly absent. However, it does hit most of the most memorable songs from Les Misérables...and there are some absolutely terrific performances. Anne Hathaway's "I Dreamed a Dream" as Fantine is raw and painful. Hugh Jackman's solos throughout the soundtrack as Jean Valjean are very strong. Samantha Banks as Eponine offers up a heartbreaking "On My Own". And Sacha Baren Cohen's "Master of the House" is a show-stopper. But for me, Freddie Mayne's "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" is the most touching of the solos. Frankly, this album's strongest performances come when groups of characters are overlapping, as in "Red and Black", "At the End of the Day" and the emotional, rousing "One Day More". I wish the entire soundtrack had been released, but I'm quite excited to have this selection of songs, if nothing else! [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try any of the previously recordings of the Les Misérables soundtrack from numerous other staged productions.] -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [Subscribe to Scott's monthly booklist newsletter It's All Geek to Me! - on the Books, Movies & More newsletter sign-up page].

[Also available: various other soundtrack recordings from various other productions of Les Miserables for the stage.]

[ official Les Misérables movie web site ]

Have you listened to this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

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