- Audio CD (June 10 1996)
- Number of Discs: 2
- Label: Grasm
- ASIN: B0000071KE
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Audio Cassette | LP Record
- Average Customer Review: 97 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #98,231 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Finally available for the first time officially this is their rare and only LP, another slice of teen garage rock from Quebec. A great record in the same vein as Les Lutins filled with great catchy tunes and really great guitar playing, they should have been as popular as Les Lutins or Les Sultans but were sadly kept in the shadows. This is your chance to discover and enjoy. Remastered from the original master tapes. Pressed on 180 gram vinyl. Limited to 500 copies.
While not overly generous at 55 minutes, the highlights album of the 1987 original Broadway cast recording of Les Miserables is intelligently selected and likely to prove satisfying to most fans. It includes the best-loved numbers of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg's score, beautiful ballads ("Bring Him Home," "I Dreamed a Dream") and rousing anthems ("One Day More," "Do You Hear the People Sing?") alike, but eliminates some choral numbers ("Lovely Ladies"), redundancies ("Red and Black"), and connective tissue that propels the plot along ("Valjean Arrested," "Come to Me (Fantine's Death)"). Sure, a more perfect selection could have lasted longer than half of the two-disc set's 104 minutes by adding "At the End of the Day" and "In My Life," among others, but it's still a good representation on a convenient single disc. Of course, those who always want to re-create the theatrical experience will never be satisfied with a highlights album.
Re-creating their roles from the London production, Colm Wilkinson plays the heroic Valjean and Frances Ruffelle is the despondent Eponine. Randy Graff (Fantine), Terrence Mann (Javert), David Bryant (Marius), Judy Kuhn (Cosette), Michael Maguire (Enjolras), and Leo Burmester and Jennifer Butt (the Thénardiers) fill out the cast. --David Horiuchi --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Like the Original London Cast (OLC), the Original Broadway Cast (OBC) album is a highlights recording. I believe it has more of the material than the OLC, and with good cause: the music here is fast. Very fast, actually. The kind of fast where performers don't get to hold out their notes. Just like the slowness on the OLC, this works both for and against the OBC.
The up tempo may scare away seasoned Les Miz fans...it loses a bit of the richness of its flavor. The more dramatic songs are enlivened by this interpretation, for instance "Confrontation," "Plumet Attack," or the barricade sequences. The Loud Hailer, particularly, is the strongest in all the recordings-the sound seems omnipresent here. "Javert's Suicide" is well-tailored to the speed, as well, making Terry Mann's great acting of Javert's final desperation all the more thrilling. The ensemble songs, notably "At the End of the Day" and "Lovely Ladies," are stronger for it as well. Of course, it has its downsides-mostly in the grand ballads like "Stars," or "I Dreamed a Dream," or "On My Own," where it just seems rushed. All in all, though, it makes for a much more driveable, generally listenable recording, whereas the OLC is more of a leisurely album, great for relaxation.
Sonically, the album is superior to the OLC-ironically, the album with the more hurried music seems like it was given more time to be completed. It would prove a fine template for upcoming foreign cast albums, and made for an excellent release of a fine American cast.
Colm Wilkinson's Jean Valjean is wonderful as always, and here you can hear him absolutely on top of the role. Likewise, Frances Ruffelle (mm...Frances Ruffelle...what a voice, what a beauty...oh, sorry) is on top of her Eponine, the role that would make her famous and she would make famous-her imperfect voice lends so much more character to 'Ponine than Lea Salonga (who, in the Tenth Anniversary Concert (TAC), seems more to reprise her part as Kim in Miss Saigon than to play Eponine). So that's it for the imports.
The highlights of this cast are Terrence Mann (Javert) and Michael Maguire (Enjolras). Though perhaps Phillip Quast is a better Javert on the Complete Symphonic Recording (CSR), and Anthony Warlow (also on CSR) is a slightly better Enjolras, these two are still incredible in their roles, both in terms of acting and of singing. Terry Mann is simply a fantastic actor, and this is his only Les Miz album, while Maguire is also on the TAC. Leo Burmester turns in a splendid Thenardier, and it may be your only chance to hear a non-Cockney interpretation of the role, so he's another one worth checking out. Randy Graff doesn't have the hold over me in her interpretation of Fantine that Patti LuPone (OLC) does, and she's no Ruthie Henshall (TAC), but she's still an excellent Fantine. Braden Danner is cool as a non-Cockney Gavroche (though Ross McCall (CSR) epitomized the part), too. And Judy Kuhn (Cosette) and Anthony Crivello (Grantaire) make excellent showings in their parts, with Crivello being probably the best recorded Grantaire, and Kuhn making Cosette more than a throwaway part.
All of which brings me to the one, single reason I do not wholeheartedly recommend this album to you. There is one major role I have not mentioned yet: Marius. David Bryant plays Marius. (Michael Ball, who originated the part and is a great actor and singer, was on the OLC, CSR, and TAC.) Unfortunately, he is wretched. His voice is terrible, and his acting worse. Marius' big solo, "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables," is a hit played to beautifully agonizing sorrow by Michael Ball, but Bryant delivers it as a flat, boring song. His parts in "Red and Black," "One Day More!," and "Drink With Me" are cringe-inducing, which is a great shame-Anthony Crivello's delivery in "Drink With Me" is nothing short of incredible, as is Michael Maguire's in "Red and Black." "One Day More!" would be the perfect version of the song if not for Bryant. He is the single low point in a great cast, which is truly a shame.
I don't know whether I should tell you to get the OLC or the OBC. I think the Les Miz fan needs a core of 3 albums: the Original French Concept Album, the Complete Symphonic Recording, and then either the OLC or the OBC. The CSR is really not optional-it's the complete score, with Philip Quast, Anthony Warlow, and Michael Ball as its highlights. If you want a version of Les Miz you can listen to at leisure, get the OLC. But if you want a more upbeat, high-speed recording you can listen to whenever you like, go with the OBC. In any case, it's a worthy album for newcomers and fans alike.
VALJEAN & JAVERT = John Curl, FANTINE & COSETTE = Lindsey Stafford Smith, MARIUS= Christopher Smith, ENJOLRAS= Adam Pinter, THENARIDIER=Julian Emery, M. THENARDIER= Catherine Watson.
Uhhh, why have the same man sing 2 different parts. Okay, maybe I can see the same woman singing the mother and daughter, but the rivals?
Song List: AT THE END OF THE DAY,--I DREAMED A DREAM,--WHO AM I?,--FANTINE'S DEATH, --CONFRONTATION, --MASTER OF THE HOUSE, --STARS, --ABC CAFE, --RED AND BLACK, --DO YOU HERE THE PEOPLE SING, --A HEART FULL OF LOVE
Songs only from Act I of Les Miz!
Anyhow, the singers could turn out to be good for all I know, but I was just upset that it wasn't what it said it was. Although it wasn't listed as having Colm and Patti it did say "Original London Cast." So, at least now you can purchase this CD fully aware that it's not the London Cast! :)
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