As I enjoyed myself, I found a few things. Some of the songs do not hold up on repeat usage (I find “Turnings” to be a bit annoying and frankly “Castles on a Cloud” loses some charm with frequent listening). Some most definitely do (anything sung by Jean Valjean – regardless of the performer, “One More Day”, “Do You Hear the People Sing”).
I also recognized listening to the songs that I don’t actually know as many of the words as I think I do. Certainly on the songs with many parts overlapping, I am not sure of myself. But even some of the solos, I am a bit weak on my singing along abilities. I also knew that hearing these stupendous voices on the recordings were setting me up for disappointment. I adore Hugh Jackman, but he isn’t going to hit that high note at the end of “Who Am I?”
I couldn’t help but speculate which songs weren’t going to make it to the final version. The Complete Symphonic Recording is about 2:45. The movie musical is 2:37 and includes a brand new song (“Suddenly” sung by Valjean). Clearly stuff is going.
In my heart, I long for the restoration of Gavroche’s full “Little People” from the London version. But it has been halved and moved to the 2nd act since the Broadway show, so there’s no chance of that.
Looking at the standard set of songs, what isn’t making it into the movie?
- Some of the opening music of Valjean’s release and struggles to be a free man
- Some of the risqué material of prostitution for Fantine
- Throughout the musical, much of the Thénardier’s music other than “Master of the House” (ex. “Dog Eats Dog”, “Beggars at the Feast”)
- Various pieces on the attacks at the barricades – before, during, after
- “Little People” in any meaningful form
- Almost everything in the wrap-up of the film including “Turnings” and much of the wedding related music.
- “A Little Fall of Rain” since I haven’t heard anything about it being in the movie (Samantha Barks only gets referenced for her singing on “On My Own”)
But this is all guess work. The official soundtrack highlights comes out December 26 and is available for pre-order. We’ll find out the full song repertoire on December 25th and most people won’t notice or care. (I was the grump leaving Sweeney Todd complaining of the songs cut such as the Judge’s version of “Joanna”)
For the Les Mis music fans – what song do you most worry about being cut, changed, or sung poorly?