Thursday, January 6, 2011

Les Mis Album Comparison Part IV

Les Amis de l'ABC. Oh, you sweet boys with hundreds of fangirls roaming around the internet. Let's see which set of you is worth listening to!

Maybe it's worth a notice that the Danish CD has, conveniently, also destroyed Red and Black. I can't express my loathing of the person who made the cuts clearly enough. ARGH.
I'm still giving bonus points for everybody who says Don Juan correctly and everybody who mentions Enjolras's name during this number - correctly or not.
+ for Dutch CD for the correct pronunciation of Don Juan. How in the world can it be so difficult for everybody else?
+ to be fair to the German CD which changed Don Juan to Casanova.
+ for French and Dutch CDs for shouting "Enjolras!" before the song begins.

And now... Do You Hear The People Sing?
London 1985
David Burt as Enjolras - not overly good, if not bad either.
I'm not sure if I like this orchestration. It's a bit thump boom ding ding thump boom thump. The choir sounds great, though! But still, I feel something is lacking. This almost has the power the song should have, but something is still missing. Almost there... (But in retrospect, more almost there than some...)
4 points

Vienna 1988
Very echo-y, both the orchestra and Enjolras (Alexander Diepold), who seems to be placing emphasis on odd places (even though I don't know what the words mean). He just sound a little too dramatic...
The orchestration is still this echoing boing-boing-boing thing, but the drums are nice. I liked the previous choir better though, this seem a bit small. But plus for the woman choir going "aaaaa" in the background during the second verse and for the fact that the choir sounds twice as big during the final reprise.
1 point

Paris 1991
Ah, good old À La Volonté Du Peuple! I love the Concept Album version to bits, it's currently my favourite version of this song. Let's see if this holds up!
The orchestra is a bit fuller than on the previous CDs, but Julien Combey as Enjolras isn't still quite the awesomesauce I'm wishing this part would be. The choir could sound better, more lush, and the ladies' part in the background of the second verse is awkward: first really big before suddenly disappearing. The drums do their best to create fighting spirit.
3 points

Danish 1992
Well yay. My old favourite. Blow me away.
To my surprise, the orchestra sounds better in the beginning than yet on any of these albums. Lars Oluf Larsen as Enjolras sounds more of Marius material, though, he's way too quiet and soft...
The choir sounds to be all-male, which I approve of. I like male choirs. Maybe it's a bit off, though, that guys do the girls' backing track during the second verse when the girls still join the song in the final reprise. But this isn't a bad version of the song, at least not as bad as I was suspecting!
2 points

10th. Ann. 1995
Michael Maguire as Enjolras starts the song over a very soft orchestration. Unfortunately I can't get the image of that guy's face out of my head. With that hair, in my opinion he looks more like a Ken doll than an Enjolras! That doesn't affect voice of course, and he's okay to listen to.
I like the orchestration the best so far, and the choir is best yet. They're not going to be slaves again, and that's for sure!
6 points

Dutch 2008
Big, more brassy orchestra than before, and finally, finally an Enjolras who actually sounds like my mental image of the guy! Go go, Freek Bartels! He sounds young and pretty, plus I again love how Dutch sounds when sung.
If you need to fill me with fighting spirit fast, play this song to me a couple of times! The choir's perfect, the orchestra is the best yet, the backing choir sounds so good with both male and female voices and then there's the perfect Enjy... This has some energy!
7 points

Live! 2010
Getting a little too brassy here maybe, but with nice drums... Jon Robyns as Enjolras sounds young but not so good as Bartels, somehow more annoying (still, more right than the most!). The choir is a little too small - sure, it's live so they can't drag everybody in the cast plus a couple of cleaningwomen and technicians around the studio to back up, but anyway...
It isn't "some will lives", that's netspeek! Yeah, this is a bit too messy rendition for me. It's not bad at all, and I love the live cheers and yells of the cast, but it's still a bit messy.
5 points

Word of advice to all: just do what the French Concept Album did, the drums and all. It's perfection.

Rankings time!
London 1985: 27.5 + 4 = 31.5
Vienna 1988: 17.5 + 1 = 18.5
Paris 1991: 16 + 3 = 19
Denmark 1992: 15.5 + 2 = 17.5
10th Ann. 1995: 36.5 + 6 =42.5
Dutch 2008: 30 + 7 = 37
Live! 2010: 25 + 5 = 30

Adding bonus points:
#1: 10th Ann. 1995: 42.5+
#2: Dutch 2008: 37+++
#3: London 1985: 31.5+
#4: Live! 2010: 30++
#5: Paris 1991: 19++
#6: Vienna 1988: 18.5++
#7: Denmark 1992: 17.5---

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