Der Glockner von notre Dame German Musical of Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Der Glockner von notre Dame German Musical of Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

I’d say that the songs  in Der Glöckner von Notre Dame are good. Sure there are some weak songs but they’re thoughtful and the either drive the plot forward or develop a character. However the music is not without problems.

 

Ann Christin Elverum as Esmeralda Der Glöckner von Notre Dame picture image

Ann Christin Elverum as Esmeralda Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

 

First off, I HATE, hate that Esmeralda doesn’t get a solo in this. With exception of the Archdeacon, Clopin and the gargoyles she the only character not get one. Now you maybe thinking “But Hunchblog  the majority of the characters in this didn’t have their own songs. ” Well that  is true but let’s face, each of the gargoyles couldn’t get their own song they’re a trio and as a trio they almost get a single song, Clopin may not a single song but he sings a lot as the narrator and the archdeacon is hardly  even a character so he doesn’t count. Beside the plot pretty much revolves around her you’d think she’d get one but her only big songs has Quasimodo in it. I mean in Notre Dame de Paris every character got one even Fleur de Lys (Phoebus’ Fiancee) got one (La monture) and she is seldom even in the adaptations. So that was a BIG negative.

 

Esmeralda and Antoine Der Glöckner von Notre Dame pictureimage

Esmeralda and Antoine Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

I also got bit tired of the gargoyles singing over people. I do think it was a great way to show that gargoyles are 100% in Quasimodo’s head but it’s gets a bit old after a while. I think the show kept putting the gargoyles in songs so that A Guy Like you wouldn’t feel out of place.  Another thing that gets old is hearing Draußen (Out There) over and over again. Anytime the play wants to reenforce Quasimodo to the audience Draußen is played. Admittedly this maybe unfair because Die Glocken Notre Dames is the most overused as in the play this how Clopin does most of his narrating but since I’ve been judging off the CD it’s Draußen that got old.

 

Esmeralda and Quasimodo Der Glöckner von Notre Dame image picture

Esmeralda and Quasimodo Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

 

So yeah the songs are good for the most part but what I think really helps a lot of these songs is that singing quality is better. Though I’ve picked on Draußen in this review,   I much prefer it in this musical than in the Disney movie along with Ein Mann wie du (A Man like you). The singers are just much better  and that helps the enjoyment of the songs. Conversely, Hellfire suffers for this and it’s not because the is bad, I mean he put emotionally intensity into the next song Esmeralda, but maybe Hellfire is Tony Jay’s  and no one else compares. Esmeralda and Clopin are one the level though the cresendo at the end of Bell isn’t as powerful as Kendal but he does a great job otherwise.

 

Esmeralda and Clopin during Drunter Drüber" (Topsy Turvy) Der Glöckner von Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda and Clopin during Drunter Drüber” (Topsy Turvy) Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

The musical does make the recycled Disney movie songs feel like it’s own which is nice, you don’t feel like their just simply lifted from the movie and put in to a musical. And while I do prefer Notre Dame de Paris Der Glöckner von Notre Dame has wonderful music. Just wish Esmeralda got one song to herself.

 

Next Time – The Production; Sets

Frollo and Quasimodo Der Glöckner von Notre Dame picture image

Frollo and Quasimodo Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

This is the Ninth Part (or the last part) of my review on the music of Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

Molten Lead Der Glöckner von Notre Dame picture image

Molten Lead Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

Grand Finale or Ultimo Finale is the ending and occurs in two parts. The Finale is where the two most famous differences occurs; The death of Frollo by Quasimodo and the death of Esmeralda. Apparently the translator Michael Kunze campaigned to have Esmeralda die which makes it more like the book, though her death is by a different method. Kunze’s reasoning for this is that Esmeralda’s death would be viewed by European audiences as moving and more romantic of an ending. We’ll see how the American Broadway version handles this, though I kind of hope they keep the German ending.

Judy Weiss as Esmeralda with Frollo (Norbert Lamla) Der Glöckner von Notre Dame picture images

Judy Weiss as Esmeralda with Frollo (Norbert Lamla) Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

The Final starts with Frollo pronouncing Esmeralda’s sentence then it goes into “song” portion. I  use  the word song in quotes because the Finale is a melody piece as it uses songs from throughout the show with one exception.  So it starts pretty much the same as the movie with Sanctuary playing complete with latin lyrics as Esmerlada starts being burned and Quasimodo saves her and proclaiming sanctuary. Then Phoebus starts railing the people of Paris  with the tune of Einmal (Once). Then the scene shifts back to Quasimodo who is defending Notre Dame from Frollo and his minions as he sings the tune of Wie aus Stein (Made of Stone).

Esmeralda dying  Der Glöckner von Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda dying Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

 

After he pours the led from Notre Dame Quasimodo checks in on Esmeralda who is dying. My guess is she dying of asphyxia which is a condition of severely deficient supply of oxygen in body that arises from being unable to breathe normally. In her case this occurred from the fire. Anyway Quasimodo and Esmeralda have  little conversation while Draußen (Outside) is played in the background. Esmeralda thanks Quasimodo for being her friend and then sings Hoch über der Welt (High above the World) and then the conversation  continues for a  couple more lines and then she dies. After she dies Frollo comes in and sings about how he happy to be free of her to the tune of Esmeralda but he sings this in a creepy, off balanced way. Quasimodo gets mad and the song shifts to a new melody with gargoyle singing with the latin choir. The gargoyle basically sing that God strikes the wicked, so the gargoyles, or aspects of Quasimodo’s own mind are telling him that he should kill Frollo, which he does by throwing Frollo off of Notre Dame, like in the book. I will point out that Quasimodo in the book does this in a fit of rage and here it’s a little more pre-mediated. After this the gargoyles sing  Zuflucht (Refuge) about how the world is both cruel and kind. Quasimodo then sings Draußen (Outside) and sings about how he must live out there with all the pain, sorrow and fear that world can bring. He the carries Esmeralda outside and is joined by Phoebus. The ensemble then sing Einmal with as Quasimodo disappears. Then Clopin in his narrator role sings Die Glocken Notre Dames (The Bells of Notre Dame) and it’s pretty akin to the reprise at the end of the movie.

Quasimodo carrying Esmeralda Der Glöckner von Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo carrying Esmeralda Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

 

It’s vague what happens to Quasimodo but given how he sings about living it is doubtful that Quasimodo goes off to die. Also considering the two deaths this pretty much same except for Quasimodo and Esmeralda epic running away scene, that’s not there either.

 

So both Musically and plot wise we have a lot going on. However it’s a fitting ending. All the songs used here fit well together so while it could have felt a bit all over the place the emotional intensity flows well from one into the next. So if you like all these song before you’ll like them here.

 

Next time – A conclusion  of the music

Esmeralda dancing Der Glöckner von Notre  Dame Picture Image

Esmeralda Dancing Der Glöckner von Notre Dame


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

Frollo (Norbert Lamla) with Baby Quasimodo and the Archdeacon Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

Frollo (Norbert Lamla) with Baby Quasimodo and the Archdeacon Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

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

Frollo and Quasimodo Der Glöckner von Notre Dame picture image

Frollo and Quasimodo Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

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

Quasimodo with the Gargoyles Der Glöckner von Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo with the Gargoyles Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

 

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)

Esmeralda and Clopin during Drunter Drüber" (Topsy Turvy) Der Glöckner von Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda and Clopin during Drunter Drüber” (Topsy Turvy) Der Glöckner von Notre Dame