Top positive review
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Excellent but be aware it's not a complete soundtrack
on 11 January 2013
I'm a long-time fan of Les Misérables and I was eagerly awaiting the release of another interpretation of the classic musical. I won't discuss the film here, but will concentrate on this album.
There are 20 songs on the disk, less than half of the 49 in the film. This is clearly listed as a highlights album so I don't believe it is at all misleading, but I thought it important to stress that fact here in the review. Some of the omissions are a surprise to me; notably "Come to Me", "Do You Hear the People Sing?" and "A Little Fall of Rain" - all iconic songs for the musical in my personal opinion (plus I'd have liked to have "Little People" included as it's one I enjoy a lot). However, included is "Suddenly", a new song for the film, and the songs that are included are very strong.
Of the songs on the disk some stand out and I would like to comment on them...
Anne Hathaway's rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream", a portion of which was used in the trailer and has gone far and wide across the internet, is the run-away piece of this compilation for me. From it's jarring and quiet start it rides a roller-coaster of emotion and is truly amazing.
"A Heart Full of Love" shows the vocal talents of the singing actors exceptionally well as they sing together. You can feel the passion in the piece, and things like this show exactly why the cast singing live together was a great choice.
"On My own" has been my favourite song from the musical, from the very first time listening to it, and Samantha Barks doesn't disappoint as she delivers it exceptionally.
One final nod goes to the unlikely pairing of Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter for "Master of the House". Although I have read a couple of articles expressing that maybe they weren't ideal choices for the film (and my wife was very unsure about "Borat doing Les Mis") they perform a brilliant and funny double act. Great stuff. Nobody else will truly be Thénardier for me after this!
The quality of the recordings is very good, though the large ensemble numbers (such as "Master of the House") can sometimes get a little hard to follow some of the lyrics with a large number of background singers - the only thing that is a negative to the idea of the actors singing live.
All-in-all this is a great version of an amazing musical. I'm very positive about this (as I am sure you have detected through my subtle review...) and I have no hesitation in giving it a five-star review as it is fantastic soundtrack collection. My one caveat (and may seem contrary to the five-star review, but I don't believe so) is that if you want the whole soundtrack, this isn't it and don't buy it (I chose to buy it in the hope that sales will drive an earlier release of the full soundtrack). What is here, however, is more than worth the £4.99 it cost me.