Friday, November 28, 2014


Since this is essentially "Version 3" of Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame, there have once again been some pretty major changes to the soundtrack. I'll post the changes here, but be warned, there may be spoilers ahead!

Musically, much the same as it always has been, but the story within the song is now completely different. Instead of a Gypsy family being hunted down and a mother killed on the steps of the church, the show's opening now tells the story of Claude Frollo and his carefree brother Jehan. Frollo rises up the ranks of Notre Dame until he is Archdeacon, and he is eventually left to look after the misshapen baby whom he names Quasimodo.

The extended introduction to "Out There" that was written for Berlin is no longer in the show, although the "Sanctuary" melody and theme appears throughout the story.

One of the only songs that has gone mostly unchanged throughout all versions.

Esmeralda is no longer a newcomer to Paris, and so this introduction to the Gypsy lifestyle is no longer in the show.

The ongoing "Hurry Hurry" melody from the Berlin version is gone, and we now jump straight into the song like in the movie. Interestingly though, there are two other songs WITHIN "Topsy Turvy..."

Instead of taking up a separate scene, Phoebus and his friend Frederic come to Paris during the Festival of Fools and he sings his song after "Topsy Turvy" has already started.

A brand new song which introduces the character of Esmeralda. (This is the first time she's seen in the show) She sings the song as she does her exotic dance at the festival. It's not a particularly memorable tune, but I like the way the song works.

It's much the same as the movie version. While Quasimodo is definitely on the stage watching Esmeralda sing, he no longer harmonizes with her, which is a bit of a shame.

The main melody is mostly the same, although there have been some lyric changes. The counter-melody though, which was written to be sung by the three gargoyles, is now quite different, since those characters no longer exist.

This is actually a brand new scene, obviously set in a tavern. The Gypsies party hard through the night, and when Phoebus and Frederic come inside, the captain is quite happy to see Esmeralda there. Meanwhile, Frollo is secretly watching from a distance. This is a great rollicking pub song with a catchy and exotic sounding melody. This is my favourite of the new songs.

Mostly the same as before. Sadly, the incredibly lifting key-change in Berlin's version of "Hellfire" has been removed. Whether that is because of Patrick Page's vocal range, I'm not sure. I was disappointed though. It must be said, Page absolutely OWNS the song.

Mostly hits the same points as it did in Berlin, although some of the sections have been re-ordered or left out. In the second half of the song, it changes from "Hunt down the Gypsy Esmeralda" to "Hunt down the Gypsy and the soldier." I dunno, for some reason it doesn't seem as powerful as it used to. It also doesn't end on a major chord like before, strangely. Instead, its ending is pretty much identical to "Bells of Notre Dame."

A chance for the choir to take centre-stage. Beautiful harmonies!

Since this was an ensemble number that didn't feature any of the main cast, it was removed. I did like the way it set up Act II, and I would like to see it come back in future productions.

No surprises here. It always was pretty ill-fitting, but since the three gargoyle characters are no longer part of the story, their song has been deleted with them.
This is a weird one. It essentially takes the place of "A Guy Like You," but instead of Quasimodo being encouraged by his gargoyle friends, he is encouraged by the ghost of Saint Aphrodisius, who has unfortunately lost his head. There are some clever laugh-out-loud gags in this song, but I really wonder how relevant it is to the story. I think "City Under Siege," while much more serious, would be a better Act II opener. The song itself isn't too bad. The chord structure and harmonies remind me quite a bit of Menken's work in another show, King David.

Shame! "Out of Love" was one of my favourites of the songs introduced in Der Glöckner. With the change in character motivation (Phoebus and Quasimodo are essentially arguing over which one of them will save Esmeralda first) there's no longer any reason for Phoebus to convince Quasimodo to leave the bell tower. Instead, he sings a reprise of "Rest and Recreation." I like the way the new scene works, but I do miss the song. A part of it still lives on a little bit. The "In my life I've seen some things - cruelty and heartlessness" verse that Esmeralda sings earlier in the show is still there.

Now this is interesting! The song that they removed for Berlin, has made it back in! While most of the lyrics are the same (or similar) to the movie version, the melody is actually quite different, almost re-written from scratch, so although it's an old song, it does feel new. No more big Gypsy dance here.

My least-favourite of the new songs. It literally takes the place of the "Out of Love" reprise, and follows the exact same beats: Esmeralda and Phoebus declare their love while Quasimodo watches on and sadly sings a reprise of "Heaven's Light." Something about this song just strikes me as ill-fitting. Perhaps its the almost-pop-like rhythm of the chorus, perhaps it's the fact that to fit the song, "Heaven's Light" has to be sung quite fast. I don't know. I hope it gets replaced (or "Out of Love" gets reinstated) in future versions.

Mostly the same as it was in Berlin. Esmeralda and Phoebus sing it while they wait in the jail cell.

Apart from some lyric changes (since the three specific gargoyles no longer exist) it's mostly arrived intact. The impressive soft-to-loud High-C ending note is now a full belt.

Again, mostly the same as Berlin, with bits and pieces changed here and there. The song elements are more or less the same.

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