France / UK / USA, 1996, soundtrack

Claude-Michel SchönbergLes Misérables – The Musical That Swept the World (10th Anniversary Concert at the Royal Albert Hall): This is the dream cast, collected from all the English-singing troupes. I’ve come to realize that this kind of music is for fans of the stage, so the people (like me) who love it are going to really really love it, and those who don’t care for the genre are going to shrug and wonder why this kind of music is so popular. Well, for me, it’s the storytelling, the swells of beauty, and the depths of despair. Les Misérables is one of my favorite books, one I re-read often, simply because I love the struggles and final triumph of Jean Valjean. The selfless and self-sacrificing bishop at the beginning of the book is inspiring, too, to say the least. However, Hugo often digresses in his narrative, descending into not only Napoleonic history (wherein he pontificates) but the history of the Paris sewers! All this non-essential scribbling is left out of the music, and the story is better for it.

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