Jane Eyre: The Musical Composed by Paul Gordon
Sony Classical Records (2000)
Soundclips below from AmazonMP3
composer, PAUL GORDON, provides a sumptuous listening experience on
every level, but most clearly in the memorable melodies and detailed
This Eyre is Divine
Review by Christopher Coleman
Rarely does a soundtrack to a Broadway musical make its way into the review cue at Tracksounds, yet Sony Classical’s release of the hit
Broadway musical adaptation of Jane Eyre begs to be reviewed. JANE
EYRE: THE MUSICAL opened on December 3, 2000 at the Brooks Atktinson Theatre to
positive reviews. As with all musicals, no small contributor to such good reviews is the
actual music. While there are few purely instrumental moments worthy of
note on this soundtrack, the music and lyrics
alike are astounding and become as addictive as some of my favorite film
scores. The musical’s composer, PAUL GORDON, provides a sumptuous
listening experience on every level, but most clearly in the memorable
melodies and detailed lyrics.
This musical adaptation of the classic Charlotte Brontë story was, among
other very talented writers and producers, placed in the hands of composer
PAUL GORDON. Gordon is no stranger to having composed hit music as his
work has been recorded by artists such as Bette Midler, Amy Grant, Smokey
Robinson, Quincy Jones, and Patti LaBell. Gordon has already written two
number one pop hits, Next Time I Fall in Love and Friends and Lovers. His
compositional style has earned him many accolades and awards and now he has
brought his infectious style of writing to the musical of genre of
The story of the British governess, Jane Eyre, is certainly familiar to
many and certainly makes for a dramatic storyline for Broadway. As
central characters, Jane Eyre and Edward Fairfax Rochester are given added
depth and dimension through the clever and even prophetic lyrics. PAUL
GORDON also delivers accompanying melodies that have the same "stickyness"
as many of Disney's songs from the 90's have. These traits being joined by
crisp vocal performances from the likes of Marla Schaffel (Jane Eyre)
James Barbour (Edward Rochester), create an overall musical experience
that is worthy of a film music fans ear.
Several melodies employed throughout the musical, set to different
lyrics and performed by various characters, and are cleverly woven into the
storytelling. This technique truly adds another level of relational
connectivity and complexity to the plot and characters. The heroine's theme is established in the opening track and is used to set
the back-story and also tell one of the story's main ideas: the
overcoming of social barriers to reach one’s dreams. The infectious melody is
reprised once again in track 5, "Sweet Liberty," as another transitional
point to provide setting and delve deeper into the thoughts and feelings
of the heroine.
Act II is setup with a new theme, "Sirens" (11), which reflects the evolving
relationship between Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester. "Sirens" speaks of
the resistance of their relationship, while its "Reprise" (19) tells of
the blooming of the couple’s love and Jane Eyre’s growing dilemma.
Another melody is employed in two songs that represent the
“relational-diversions” in the life of Jane Eyre. First, Blanche Ingram,
Eyre’s rival, sings a duet with Jane in track 15, "In the Light of the
Virgin Morning." Second, the clergyman who cares for the injured Eyre and
believes it the will of God for them to be married, sings out his beliefs
and feelings in "The Voice Across the Moors" (23).
The comic relief is provided through Mary Stout (Mrs. Fairfax) in two
tracks, "Perfectly Nice" (7), and "Slip of a Girl" (18) - a perfect
diversion within the rather serious, romantic context.
Every track features one "sticky" melody or another, flawlessly sung by
the cast. At the same time, not to be overlooked is the orchestra. While
not huge, the orchestra provides a performance with enough punch to
accentuate mood and the lead vocals.
The soundtrack and musical concludes with a rousing performance of which
some might say is a bit too over the top. Originally sung to the young
Jane Eyre by Helen Burns as an instruction in "Forgiveness," the adult Jane
Eyre and husband Edward sing "Brave Enough for Love" (25), which brings the
story to its conclusion and reprises a theme that was introduced early on
in the story.
The liner notes are more than adequate. They include a complete list of
performers, creative and support staff, a summary of each act and the
lyrics to each track. About the only thing the notes don't offer are a
pair of tickets to a matinee - of which I would have been very grateful!
Those who are fans of the composition and lyrical style of Howard Ashman
Tim Rice may find a lot to appreciate about this soundtrack. While I find
Jane Eyre more complex, it is, simultaneously as entertaining as The
Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast or Aladdin. Be forewarned; however, as
this soundtrack might not be as appealing as the previously mentioned
Disney musicals upon first listen. With successive, attentive listens, I can almost guarantee that this soundtrack will work its way
into the frequently-played CD section of your collection.