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Jane Eyre: The Musical by Paul Gordon

Jane Eyre: The Musical

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Jane Eyre: The Musical (Soundtrack)  by Paul Gordon
Jane Eyre (Poster and Memorabilia)

 

Jane Eyre (Poster and Memorabilia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jane Eyre:  The Musical (Broadway Soundtrack) by Paul Gordon

Jane Eyre: The Musical
Composed by Paul Gordon
Sony Classical Records (2000)

Rating: 8/10

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“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 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 Broadway.

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 or 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.

 

Rating: 8/10

 

 


Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 The Orphan 2:44  *****
2 Children of God 2:10  ***
3 Forgiveness 3:38  *****
4 The Graveyard 1:46  *****
5 Sweet Liberty 3:33  *****
6 Secrets of the House 0:33  ***
7 Perfectly Nice 2:58  ****
8 As Good As You 3:24  ****
9 Secret Soul 2:52  *****
10 The Finer Things 2:58  ****
11 The Pledge 1:21  ****
12 Sirens 2:32  *****
13 Opening Act II - Things Beyond the Earth 0:59  ***
14 Painting Her Portrait 4:02  *****
15 In the Light of the Virgin Morning 2:08  ****
16 The Gypsy 2:12  **
17 The Proposal 6:06  ***
18 Slip of a Girl 3:30  *****
19 Sirens Reprise 1:45  ****
20 Farewell good Agel 1:56  ****
21 My Maker 1:54  ****
22 Rain 0:50  ****
23 The Voice Across the Moors 3:03  ****
24 Poor Sister 1:41  ***
25 Brave Enough for Love 7:50  ****
  Total Running Time (approx) 68 minutes  

 

 
   

 

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