For the Music of Der Glöckner von Notre Dame I have decided to do a few songs at a time (with the two exceptions). I’m also going to try to not compare the singers between the Disney Cast and the Original Berlin Cast and I’m going to try not to discusss staging too much.
Die Glocken Notre Dames
Die Glocken Notre Dames (The Bells of Notre Dame) is the show’s opening number and it is pretty much exactly the same as it is in the movie but there are some differences. First off, no Puppet. Yeah, I know tragic. Clopin appears as a beggar and not as a performer, so any humor that the Disney version had is gone. Giving us a a clear tone. Also Clopin is not telling the story of Quasimodo and Frollo to children he instead tells it to the audience which makes him more clearly a narrator.
Another difference is Quasimodo’s mother talks back to Frollo. Now, I don’t speak much German and I don’t have access to a script (I looked and couldn’t find one so if you know what she saying or know of a script let me know) so I have no idea what she is saying, I could guess. Probably goes along the lines of something like this:
Frollo- Hey, you there what are you hiding?
Quasimodo’s Mother – Who me? It’s just my Baby
Frollo – You Lie, give me what you are concealing, I wants it!
Or something like that or I’m way off.
Another difference is there is some instruments. The difference can really be heard when the Archdeacon is singing. There is a Piano and a lower brass opposed to the original which seems to be woodwinds, bells and a high brass. Also the usage of bells at the end is different whereas the movie uses what sounds like low octave bells that play a few notes the musical opts for scales of higher octave bells and I swear I hear a xylophone in there.
Also the attitude of Frollo and Archdeacon are different. In the movie Frollo is cool and calm and the Archdeacon has a sad yet kind of soft tone till he get firm about the eyes. In the stage show Frollo is flustered and Archdeacon is forceful from the get go.
Also a staging difference, there are videos that you can be see on youtube (if Youtube isn’t killed by SOPA and PIPA) that shows this number performed on stage and when Quasimodo’s Mother is push by Frollo she doesn’t die right away. As she is dying she reaches for Quasimodo. So I guess she died of blood loss and not of head trauma or a broken neck like the movie but I’m no doctor. Watch Video Here
Zuflucht or Refuge is a song that is extended from Frollo’s part of the movie version of Out There. This song is where you learn that Frollo was a Priest but he thought that Paris was sick and needed to be save and so he changed his career to a judge. Quasimodo still sings in it with the addition of the Gargoyles Antoine (Hugo), Charles (Victor) and Loni (Laverne). The Gargoyles here sing against Frollo and encourage Quasimodo to go out side to see the world for himself.
Musically the first part is the same as the movie, so where Out There starts properly (Quasimodo’s part) the music changes and the last part with Gargoyles is like a composite of the new movement and the old one and it works well. I actually like the gargoyles here, their harmony together and with Frollo is nice. The harmony is like the Angel and Devil on each shoulder troupe. And having the Gargoyle sing with Frollo solidifies the gargoyles as imaginary. The Gargoyles part makes it clear that they are not as cheerful or upbeat as their movie counterparts. There is a combination of hope and confusion in their lines, because as they sing about what the outside world is like they can’t complete their thoughts because as aspects of Quasimodo they too have no idea what the outside world is like.
Draußen or Outside is exactly the same as the movie version of Out There with one wonderful difference; there is no more wobbly vibrato. Another than that there are no further differences I can ascertain.
Watch Video clip here
Next Time – Part 2 of the Music of Der Glöckner von Notre Dame with;
Tanz auf dem Seil (Dance on the Rope)
Ein bißchen Freude (A Bit of Joy)
Drunter drüber (Topsy Turvy)