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61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you're loyal to Les Miserables, better own this one!
This is the one that got the whole thing started!
For all the loyal fans of Les Miserables, this is a must own. Even if you do not speak French, this album is a real jewel. I found that, as I suspected, the French version's songs are much nicer, more natural, and have better rhymes. Among my favorites: La Journée Est Finie (At the end of the day), J'Avais...
Published on April 19, 2002 by max saravia

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Problem
This came with a flaw on one of the tracks that can been seen by the naked eye (waviness). I wrote to the 'whoever' who never cared to replace it for me, so I am stuck with a wonderful CD of French singing which I love but I just have to advance the CD past the flaw. Very bad company for not giving me a replacement as it is a manufacturing error.
Published 13 months ago by Songbird


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61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you're loyal to Les Miserables, better own this one!, April 19, 2002
By 
max saravia (houston, tx United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Les Miserables - The Original French Concept Album (Audio CD)
This is the one that got the whole thing started!
For all the loyal fans of Les Miserables, this is a must own. Even if you do not speak French, this album is a real jewel. I found that, as I suspected, the French version's songs are much nicer, more natural, and have better rhymes. Among my favorites: La Journée Est Finie (At the end of the day), J'Avais RÍvé d'Une Autre Vie (I dreamed a dream), Mon Prince Est en Chemin (Castle in the cloud), La Devise du Cabaretier (Master of the House), Le Coeur au Bonheur (A heart full of love) to mention just a few.
This recording became the first version of the stage show in Paris in 1978, long before Schonberg (music) and Boublil (lyrics) ever imagined that a French musical could be adapted for the English speaking world, to later become a multinational, multi-language phenomenon. For obvious reasons, in order to adapt it for the English play, the original concept had to be modified . Segments and songs were added to familiarize the English speaking public with a novel that is standard reading in any French school, and considered by many as the second most read book in history (after the Bible).
The work is faithful to Hugo's novel which was first published in France and Belgium in 1862. Although the novel is very lengthy and rich in infinitesimal details, the main plot around Fantine, Cosette, Valjean, Marius, Javert and others remains truly genuine; unlike the English version, this one does not have the climatic ending.
For a complete history of the making and evolution of Les Miserables from the time of Victor Hugo to the Broadway musical, I recommend "The Complete Book of Les Miserables" by Edward Behr, <ISBN: 1559701560>
The black and white picture on the cover of this CD depicting Cosette is a copy of an original illustration by Emile Bayard (1837-1891) who was Victor Hugo's favorite illustrator. That drawing would later be used for the universally celebrated picture of Cosette which became the musical's logo. Additionally, condensed french language lyrics are included.
The original work in French remains the forerunner of any other versions. As Boublil noted on the back cover of this CD: "..before London, before Broadway, before the Tony Awards and the Grammys 1987,...there was this album."
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fans owe themselves this recording!, February 17, 2001
By 
Wayne Rossi (Mount Holly, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Les Miserables - The Original French Concept Album (Audio CD)
I only know a handful of words in French. However, this does not stop me from knowing a great recording when I hear it. And this is a great recording.
For me, the highlights of this 2-disc Boublil & Schönberg masterwork are "L'Air De La Misère," "J'avais RÍvé D'Une Autre Vie," "A La Volonté du Peuple," "L'Un Vers L'Autre," and "La Faute A Voltaire." "L'Air..." was sung beautifully by Fantine here, though it would go on to be the intimately familiar "On My Own" in the English version, sung by Éponine. Fantine got to keep "J'avais RÍvé..." as "I Dreamed A Dream," though it also contains a snippet that would be used as the basis for "Lovely Ladies." In my opinion, "A La Volonté du Peuple" will never be eclipsed by its English counterpart "Do You Hear the People Sing?", much as I love the latter. "La Faute A Voltaire" was based on poetry by Victor Hugo, and the main theme will run under "Little People" in the show.
It's a fundamentally different piece than the Cameron Mackintosh production, but I think it is also an absolutely perfect complement to the various recordings of the stage version. The orchestrations are interesting, as there is no readily apparent synthesizer (and the stage versions would use them heavily). As a whole, it perfectly preserves the spirit of Victor Hugo's massive novel.
Highest honor in this album goes to Rose Laurens as Fantine, with close seconds going to Michel Sardou for Enjolras and Marie (this is the only name the notes give) as Éponine. Jacques Mercier is a very cool Javert, particularly in "Dites-moi Ce Qui Se Passe," proving he has a great edge in his acting. Maurice Barrier is a slightly weak Valjean, though, and Richard Dewitte is a decent Marius. And last but not least, Yvan Dautin seems to lack the slimy persona that the later Thenardiers would seem to possess naturally.
In any case, it's a great Les Miz album. If you're a fan, you owe it to yourself to get a copy and hear how it was originally intended.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interestingly enough, my favourite Les Miz recording, May 21, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Les Miserables - The Original French Concept Album (Audio CD)
I love this CD. Although I am not a fan of concept albums in general, and always prefer cast recordings, this one is filled with simply wonderful voices and touching performances. The lyrics are good and sound enchanting in French.
While a lot is obviously missing from this CD-- many songs were later added such as "Bring him home"-- I was absolutely amazed by the quality of the performances. I am not certain of all the names of the performers, so I'll refrain from mentioning them, so as not to make a mistake.
Fantine on this record is incredible-- her songs are so touching and emotional she can rival any of the best stage Fantines, and then some. And I like "L'air de la misere" which later obviously became Eponine's "On my own" much better in this format.
Valjean doesn't have many parts strangely enough, but I always thought a tenor Valjean was a bit strange. Here, he is a baritone, who sounds his age, and is very touching.
I love the "Master of the House"!-- this song and the singer fit together so well here, it's definitely the best version I have ever heard. The overreacting and oversinging of this song in the other Les Miz recordings goes on my nerves, and the exaggerated English and wacky voices that are somehow always employed make it sound like Muppet Show. Here, it's fantastic.
The young Cosette and Gavroche are exeptional. And the song which later became "Castle on a cloud" is just more heartfelt than in the other versions I have heard (make that 'all the other CDs'). I also love the Eponine and older Cosette here, while Enjolras's voice completely blew me away (very powerful). Marius is the only, well, not 'mediocre' performer, but he sounds like most other Mariuses I have heard since then. I prefer Michael Ball.
I would highly recommend this CD. While it's an absolute MUST for Les Miz fans, I think others would also enjoy the beautiful interpretations and language.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars La version originale a ecouter, May 13, 2010
This review is from: Les Miserables - The Original French Concept Album (Audio CD)
Ici, vous avez la version originale et integrale - sans les changements, radicaux en partie, des paroles/textes reclames pour les presentations dans les theatres anglophones, notamment en Angleterre et aux EUA, qui ont eu un grand succes international. Les premiers interpretes y sont la - Sardou, Adamo, Delpech, etc, des noms trop mal connus ailleurs, en dehors des pays francophones, malheureusement.

L'enregistement est memorable, devenu presque historique - un vrai delice pour ceux qui veulent ecouter et se rappeler le genie de Schonberg (musique) et Boublil et Natel (paroles), sans traduction.

Et ca fait deja trente ans depuis la premiere ! Que le temps passe vite.

Bonne ecoute !
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Victor Hugo's Novel Comes To Life(Forget the US/UK), March 10, 2000
By 
Case Crum (Miami,FL;USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Les Miserables - The Original French Concept Album (Audio CD)
The first time I heard "Les Mis" was on the original B'way cast recording. I loved it. I wanted to know the story,so I read Hugo's novel(I've read it 5 times and counting). Then I bought the complete symphonic recording. I wanted to hear the orignial version of the show...wow. These are Hugo's characters..in their native language. Moving,dark..and less Broadway-ish. The B'Way/English version has one major error. It's missing the MAIN theme "The Air of Misery"("L'Air de La Misere"). This music is everywhere in the show,including an apperance with new lyrics.."On My Own". This Fantine is the best,along with my favorite character,Eponine.
I LOVE her song "L'Un Vers L'Autre". For me,THIS is the only opera of Hugo's wonderful book! I'm a trained classical singer,this is the best version musically.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Personal favorite!, January 29, 2000
By 
Th. Boyer (Somerville, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Les Miserables - The Original French Concept Album (Audio CD)
From a time when "Les Miserables" was the latest experimental piece of rock opera to perform to sold-out audiences at the Palais-des-Sports in Paris (or was it the Palais-des-Congres...I might be mistaken), before Cameron Mackintosh scored big with Lloyd Webber's "Cats," or John Caird and Trevor Nunn would bring the barricades to the Barbican Theatre, this was the original complete work. And I love it! If anything else, because it is such a departure from what I'm used to listening to in the Les Mis score. Here we have Valjean (Maurice Barrier) as a low-baritone, Javert (Jacques Mercier) with a well-trained rock-opera voice, and a Fantine (Rose Laurens) whose performance to date, IMHO, has not been topped. The instrumentals on this recording are beyond any words of praise - They elicit a much darker, more chilling feel to the numbers (with the possible exception of a few measures of a near-disco beat in "Les Amis de l'ABC" - (or Les Amis de l'Abesses - Friends of the Abased, get it? Oh well...) - which just seem a bit disconsorting, but at second listen almost come naturally. These instrumentations come through so well in the intros to "L'Air de la Misere," "J'Avais Reve...," and "Mon Prince Est En Chemin." I could go into the changes in the songs over the course of the show, but honestly, it's best if you listen for yourself. Happy listening!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Les Miserables as Victor Hugo intended, October 13, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Les Miserables - The Original French Concept Album (Audio CD)
I am a huge Les Miserables fan; I own the book(and have read all 1252 pages of it), the CSR, and the London cast in addition to this wonderful CD. The orchestra, in my opinion, surpasses the English version by far if only because of the beautiful flute playing that was cruelly kept out of the English version in the song "Mon Prince Est En Chemin" (yes, I admit, I'm prejudiced, being a flute player). I found the singers to be more passionate in this version and with voices that sound more like the characters. Eponine, sung by Marie, has a more waif-like, pathetic voice that matches her character perfectly. I especially love the song she sings-"L'Un Vers L'Autre"- which I like even better than "On My Own". Michel Sardou sings a perfect Enjolras with my favorite song on either the English or French versions: "A La Volunté Du Peuple". My only disappointment with the CD is that they don't have the death of Enjolras or the fall of the barricade. Other than that, this is a perfect CD for anyone interested in Les Miserables, whether you understand French or not.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How "Les Miz" was meant to be heard!, July 5, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Les Miserables - The Original French Concept Album (Audio CD)
This cd is the way Les Miserables was meant to be heard- in French, the language which the book and music was origonally written. It is not unusual that the songs sound 20 times better on this cd than when they are in English. Do not hesitate buying this cd if you do not speak French (i don't, and i treasure this cd!). Other than the language situation, this cd is significantly different from any other cd. First off, some songs are missing (Bring Him Home, I Saw Him Once, On My Own, and Lovely Ladies). However, added songs (cut from the current version of the show) and the full version of the song "Donnez, Donnez"(look down, look down), and added orchestral sequences (that tie the songs together), make up for the lost songs. The cast is impressive and sound great. Some highlights of this cd are Master of the House (La Devise Du Cabaretier) and the Finale (Epilogue: La Lumier). Buy this cd and follow along with the words, the music will move you no matter what nationality you are or what language you speak.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hear the show for the first time (again!), May 29, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Les Miserables (Audio CD)
I'm a huge Les Mis buff. Huge. I recently decided to expand my collection of Les Miserables recordings to include those recorded in languages other than English, so I picked up this little beauty and popped it in today for some background music while cleaning. (On a side note, I'd just finished listening to Les Miserables (1994 Japanese Red Cast), so I was figuring this would be more of the same. A show I already know very well, just with lyrics I can't understand.)

My house is still a mess. As soon as I heard the starting score I knew that it was going to take every single spare synapse in my brain to listen to this recording and that if I devoted anything less than my full attention, I would regret it. Bullet points, because they're easy!

- The orchestrations are great. While some bits do sound a bit synthesized, I didn't feel that it took away from the sound overall. I was mostly enjoying the surprises being thrown this way and that as this recording didn't have the OLC to look back to, as it came first!

- There are songs in here that I don't know. Imagine my surprise when I, a person who has learned songs from this show in other languages just so I know more about it, encountered songs for the show that I'd never heard. And they're beautiful! I wasn't keeping full tabs on the track list as I was listening, and I don't know French at all, so the only song name I can pick out is L'Un Vers L'Autre... Eponine has always been my favorite character and to hear her get a new song... *swoon* (You know as soon as I'm done writing this review I'm heading over to Google Translator to try and figure out what she was saying.)

- The girl playing Cosette as a child had a beautiful voice. I don't know what it is, but it seemed to me that ever since OLC, the kid Cosettes are screechy. The Japanese Red Cast that I mentioned earlier was probably one of the worse ones, though the 2010 cast recording also has a child Cosette that I can hardly bear. This Cosette, though, makes Mon Prince Es En Chemin a delight. I like her even more than the OLC Cosette.

- Speaking of surprisingly delightful voices, M. Thenardier! He seems to be portrayed now as comically evil, perhaps to lessen what a horrid, horrid person he is. The Thenardier in this recording, though, has a nice voice that was pleasant to listen to even though I couldn't understand the words to know if he was being played as comically evil or just evil evil or something else.

- Something that I think disappointed all the low star reviewers was that this recording doesn't have any big score endings. Both the first act and the finale taper off quite pleasantly with beautiful, draping notes and no big band, "altogether now!", hold-that-last-note-super-long, show-stopper tunes. This goes back to my first bullet point, as it was a surprise.

Enough bullet pointing. I suppose I ought to disclaimer this review with the fact that I know nothing, and I mean nothing, of music theory or any of that (and I said "any of that" because there's probably names of other things that I should say I know nothing about, but I don't even know what they are). I'm reviewing this as a huge fan of the show and as someone who can listen to music and then proclaim whether or not I like it.

I grew up with OLC. I recently proclaimed the strong, surprising orchestrations from the 2010 cast to be my new favorite. I must change my mind. I feel as if I knew nothing before I listened to this recording. It is a must-have for anyone who loves the show. If you're a passing fan, then you can probably pass this by, but if you know all of the lyrics by heart, if you hum "Do You Hear the People Sing?" to yourself in the shower, and if you see the show whenever it's in your area, then you need this recording.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth twice its cost, July 14, 2003
By 
Megan McKinney (Las Cruces, NM United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Les Miserables - The Original French Concept Album (Audio CD)
This CD set happens to be one of my most prized possessions, if something ever happened to it I would be crushed. This version is such a breath of fresh air after hearing Les Miz in english forever, and no, I do not speak French at all. I bought this CD from Amazon.com based on some of the reviews it recieved and it has to be one of the best things I've ever purchased. This version has a spectacular Valjean and a powerful Javert, though I lament the fact that Javert sings less in this version. Gavroche is a wonderful character but typically I don't notice him to much, in this version he is impossible to ignore and is delightful to listen to. Marius has a very feminine voice that is hard to listen to when your already bombarded by two other female voices (Cosette and Eponine). This Eponine is equal to any other I've heard and I think the Cosette in this version is actually better. As for Mr. and Mrs. Thenardier, they are absolute perfection and their voices are not grating and harsh as they are in the English versions but rather more smoothed and even a bit of sex appeal is added. If you have Les Miz addiction than you are cheating yourself out of extreme ecstasy by not buying this recording immediately.
* Some of the songs that are included in the English versions are not included on this recording and some new ones that you will not have heard will be present. It's not an exact replica of the Les Miserables your already familiar with but the spirit of this musical is the same and in some ways better than its English counterpart.
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