You may have seen the movie version of Les Miserables.
Or perhaps you saw the stage production of Les Miserables.
Last night, PBS re-ran for the 80th time the 25th anniversary special of Les Miserables. Maybe you saw that.
As you may know, though (or not), Les Miserables was not originally written for the stage. It was a French concept album, written directly for records. (That's how long ago it was created, by the way, they still were making records.) You probably have never heard that version.
Well, this is about to change. I have the original concept album and thought I'd embed one of the songs here.
By the way, there's one particularly interesting oddity about the French concept album. Les Miserables as we know it today was written by Claude-Michel Schönberg (who did the music); and Alain Boublil (who wrote the French lyrics). After the album, it had a brief, three-month stage run in Paris, and that was it. Then, it got re-mounted in London, and "re-imagined" with English lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, and that's the version that exploded. Everything I've ever seen has said that. Schönberg; and Boublil in Fench, and Kretzmer in English,
However, on the album, the French credits are different. Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil -- and Jean-Marc Natel.
When I read that, I did some checking. M. Natel is credited with co-writing the original French lyrics with Alain Boulil. But I've never once heard or seen his name mentioned, anywhere, other than on the French concept album. I have no idea what the story is. The only thing that even remotely offers a thought is that there are several songs on the concept album that I don't believe are in the later stage production. (At least they don't sound familiar to me.) Perhaps those are what Jean-Marc Natel wrote, and when they got cut, so did his credit. Maybe? But it doesn't sound terribly likely. Whatever the story is, though, I suspect Jean-Marc Natel has spent the last 25 years pissed off. Mind you, he may not deserve any credit and have nothing in the subsequent productions. And for all I know, he may have a percentage of the show regardless and done awfully nicely for himself. Maybe when it went to England, he didn't see a future for it and got bought out. No idea. But I suspect he'd still like to be mentioned on occasion.
Well, okay, he's now been mentioned. And now, on to the show.
Here is "Demain." It's the original version of "One Day More." From the original French concept album of Les Miserables.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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