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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Tale Of Two Cities Week {International Cast Recording Review}

My library has a program where you can download free songs from a site they partner with and although most of the selections on there aren't anything I would listen to, I have found lots of good musical theatre cast recordings, including the international cast recording for A Tale Of Two Cities.  Let me tell you, I was absolutely thrilled when I discovered that.  I must have listened to the entire thing over five times in the first week of my having it and I've pretty much memorized all the songs, thanks to that :)  The cast is exactly the same as in the concert, so I don't need to go into character portrayals and all that, but there are several songs included in this recording that aren't in the concert, so I'll talk about those.

  • Prologue – in some ways, I'm glad this was left out of the concert.  It's a rather bland, irrelevant, one minute long piece sung by Dr Manette about how he'll write down the Tale before he loses his mind in the Bastille.  In my opinion, The Way It Ought To Be is a much more exciting beginning.
  • The Trial – I was really happy when I discovered this song, since I thought that Charles' trial (actually a large plot point) was hurried over in the concert (after all, it is a concert) with a bit of narration from Michael York.  But this track brings out everything about the actual scene in just a few minutes.  It even has the quote about Barsad getting a statue if people in England were like those in ancient Rome.  It cracked me up.
  • Letter From Uncle – another short, rather insignificant track.
  • Resurrection Man – now this is a fun song, despite the rather macabre topic it dwells on.  It's sung by Jerry Cruncher and two or three of his 'minions' and it's the kind of song that you can't help grinning at, even if the subject matter is unsavoury (kind of like 'No Honest Way').  It provides a good, light-hearted change of pace from all the epic, tragic songs.
  • Everything Stays The Same -  this track is epic (and I don't mean that in the sense of 'totally awesome!').  From what I can make out, part of it is in the Bastille when Earnest Defarge finds the papers Dr Manette left, and part of it is a play (which includes the famous opening lines of the book, slightly paraphrased).  I love listening to it – the whole thing is so vast and multi-layered.
  • Without A Word – This is Lucie's solo, the one that was replaced by Never Say Goodbye in the concert.  I don't know which song I like better, but one point that would probably be against this one is that Lucie seems too angry and accusatory towards Charles.  To me, that just doesn't seem like her.  However, this is still a beautiful song.  One of my top favorites. [note on Let Her Be A Child: in the concert, this is sung as a duet between Sydney and Charles, but on the ICR it's one of Sydney's solos.  I think I prefer the solo version.]
  • Defarge Goodbye – this song, a solo sung by Earnest is short, but it's incredibly heartbreaking.  It's his farewell to his wife (after she's dead, no less) and even though she was terrible, it still makes me cry.  A lot.



Kiri Liz said...

That's it. I'm making the time to watch the concert. :)

Are there only the cast recording and the concept album available to listen to? Sufferin' cats... I wish they'd put it on Broadway and make it a little more well-known.

Eva said...

There's only those two recordings, unfortunately :P I so wish it would become more widely known...getting it on Broadway would be a dream come true :)

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