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on 19 January 2013
Love this CD which brings back memories of the many times I saw Les Mis on the London stage when I lived there. The original cast includes Colm Wilkinson who for me has always been the best Jean Valjean ever.
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on 26 September 2005
This was the musical I enjoyed before I knew what musicals even were. I remember hearing "on my own" on TV one day and then waiting on my local library list to borrow the double LP. I listened to it until I knew all the words and it had to go back. Then my mum got the cassette of it and we would both sing it as we drove to work every morning. Now I'm a mum myself, I enjoy playing the CD and singing along with my daughter. The melodies, the lyrics the sad and funny, it's the best musical in the world. I think it is the most played CD album I've ever owned.
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on 4 February 2013
This is an absolutely brilliant cd, sung by the original cast. Having seent the film I wanted to buy a CD where the singers were actual singers, trained etc, and boy can you tell the difference! Film is brilliant, and cast sing beautifully but when you are just listening to the music without the pictures it has to be spot on, and this is. A must for all fans.
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on 30 June 2010
I have never seen the show but have always loved the song " I Dreamed a Dream" most recently bought to the fore by Susan Boyle. Little did I consider I was in for such a treat. The original London cast and some songs that I had never known the origin of but knew I would like in my collection.Typically " Bring him Home " sung here by Colm Wilkinson but probably more widely known for the Peter Corry rendidtion at the funeral of George Best. Michael Ball in the earlier part of his career, his voice as always crystal clear in this the orignal version of Empty Chairs at Empty Tables. Play it from cover to cover, or cherry pick the best bits, I have done both and love it all. If you love the musical theatre ( and even if you don't ) this was worth every penny as a double CD.
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on 1 September 2010
At this risk of upsetting Les Mis purists, I disagree that this album can be considered the definitive version. Maybe it's not even possible to have a definitive recording of such a long-running show.

Taken stand-alone, there are good and bad points to be made, with the balance generally coming out as favourable. Unfortunately Patti LuPone as Fantine has a slight tendency to sound bored, and I would prefer Javert to have more gravitas. However, there is no question that Michael Ball is a phenomenal Marius, and Frances Ruffelle as Eponine has exactly the right level of naive youthful yearning - and consequently their duet is sublime.

But it's not really possible to listen to this album without considering the subsequent record-breaking history of the show, as it was all-too-clearly recorded early in the show's West End run. Seeing the show today incorporates some important improvements to the lyrics, orchestrations, staging and even entire songs. To put it another way, this album highlights some weaknesses in the material as debuted. It starkly demonstrates Les Mis' origins as a 1980s rock opera; there is a massive over-reliance on synthesisers, which over the years has been softened significantly in live performances by more delicate orchestral arrangements. (Early recordings of Phantom of the Opera suffer from the same problem.)

There is also a tendency for some singers, particularly Colm Wilkinson as Valjean, to scream certain lyrics in a rock-opera style. This isn't necessarily a criticism of Wilkinson - presumably he was hired for his rock credentials - but subsequent Valjeans have been more reserved, vulnerable, world-weary and introspective.

On the flipside, this album does include some material no longer heard at all in live performances, including the full version of the "Little People" song.

Les Mis is a long musical so it is inevitable that some material has been edited out for this recording. The double-CD case includes a little booklet of lyrics, which also briefly describes the action for each song, which goes some way towards filling in the blanks. However, there is no doubt that a first-time listener would find the plot overly confusing.

Overall, this is the most complete recording available of a well-known and very well-loved musical. But I still tend to think that the true definitive version has yet to be released.
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on 3 February 2001
This C.d is my life line, I am addicted to everything about the musical and if I could would listen everyday. The strong beats feed my soul whilst the sad tragic story of Jean Valijean, the miseary of Cosette, the resentment of Javert, Maurius determination and Eponine lonely life tranfixes my brain. This C.D is a must have if you are going to see the musical so you can understand the complex,heartbreaking story and sing along at the same time, as I have done on numerous times!! Victor Hugo is a Saint to have written this magical story which has been woven into these spectacular songs.
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on 27 January 2013
Wonderful soundtrack for a wonderful production! Much better singing than the new film edition 2013, and the 2 disks offer a superb collection of songs.
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on 17 January 2013
This allows you to experience the drama and passion of the stage show anytime, felt like I was there !!
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on 2 April 2013
I have bought this CD, as it holds special memories for me. I saw the original production with original cast in London. Shortly after, I went to see my Mum and Sister in Australia, and one day we were discussing music, and I happened to mention to Mum that I had seen Les Mis, and also had videos of the old versions. I think I shocked her, as she never thought I would like anything like that. On my way to the Airport, my Mum put a gift in my hand, and said not to open it til I got home. It turned out to be The original copy Cd. I treasured it, but after moving house, have not been able to find it. Cheers Amazon, u have made my day. xx
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on 20 December 2004
les miserables is often considered one of the best musicals of our time which is probably true in certain respects. firstly, it does give the chorus much deserved focus in many of the numbers allowing us to have one massive picture and the leads are well developed (if not totally true to the book coughEponinecough). Now i think all the numbers are well sung by everyone here and although the chorus could never hope to match that of the gargantuan TAC which had 250 performers they still do well in numbers like at the end of the day. If you are obsessed with the show and know it off by heart then you may be shocked by the changes here- this is the oldest version available and does differ from the show we know today- it is also not complete and does slow the numers down, which although works well with numbers such as confontation does slightly make one day more less enjoyable. As for the big Eponine frances v lea controversy i dont think anyone can really pick between them as they both display different qualities. Lea the technically perfect, frances the raw emotion, i personally enjoy listening to both there renditions of on my own and find frances voice charming. she is the eponine on this recording and for anyone who loves eponines character but strongly objects to her voice i would not recommend this version. If you are indifferent or like her voice then this recording is great. It offers songs that are not on other recording (full version of little people, in my life) and is well worth the money for all those les miserables fans out there.
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