|1.||The Bells of Notre Dame||6:24|
|5.||God Help the Outcasts||3:44|
|6.||The Bell Tower||3:05|
|8.||A Guy Like You||2:54|
|10.||The Court of Miracles||1:27|
|12.||And He Shall Smite the Wicked||3:30|
|13.||Into the Sunlight||2:09|
|14.||The Bells of Notre Dame||1:11|
|16.||God Help the Outcasts||3:27|
| ||57:13| Submit your review
The 1996 Disney offering may not have done that well in the cinema, but for me, it is one of their best, perhaps only surpassed by Beauty and the Beast. The music, is however, excellent. A particular mention must go to the actual score, which is Menken's best to date combining massive orchestral power and massed choir chanting Latin choruses. The music is generally a shade darker then usual Disney fare and for the most part, only occasionally breaks for happier moments. A prime example of this is God Help the Outcasts followed by The Bell Tower and Heaven's Light. This represents some beautiful portions of both score and two sparkling songs. The Latter move into probably the darkest moment of the film, Hellfire. This is a fairly Satanic song and the words and deliciously ambiguous. This is a case where reading the words in the liner notes is probably a good idea. Probably the best song is the Andrew Lloyd-Webber style Out There. It starts fairly downbeat, but swells becoming a stunning show-stopper of a piece. The opening track gets the CD and film off to a good start and combines songs with the story. The two comedy songs, Topsy Turvy and A Guy Like You aren't too bad and Topsy Turvy has some quite incredible key changes that are nothing less than inspired. This represents by no means the best songs and they tend to sound a little too much like a music show sometimes, but still a good collection none the less.
The non-song parts are, as I mentioned, very good indeed. Sanctuary has some wonderful moments and when the organ comes in on occasion it will send shivers down your spine. I think that some of the impact of the score is lost without the visuals sometimes, but this is probably due to the visuals being so immense and stunning. However, apart from the rather awful Disney-style ending to The reprise of The Bells of Notre Dame, the score is the best yet.
Note: A special mention must go to Disney as this is the first score to an animated film that has all the tracks in the correct order with the score cues inserted between songs. I wish this were done more often, as it just breaks the score up a little and gives a little more variety.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is in my opinion one of Disney's best and most "mature" animated film - Frollo haveing erotic fantasies about Esmeralda, for example. Not exactly something a small child can relate to... At the same time the music by Alan Menken is also very mature, for an animated Disney film, at least. The orchestral score concists mainly of choir music, or chantings, in latin, mostly "Dies irae, dies illa" or "Kyrie eleison, Christie eleison". It's often very loud and very dark and dramatic, but for some reason it doesn't make for a good listening experience. It may work in the film - in fact it does ver well - but on CD it gets a little too loud and disturbing. There are however a couple of remorable cues, such as "The Bell Tower" and the first half of "He Shall Smite the Wicked" - two beautiful pieces, with delicate orchestra and choir.
The songs, with lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, differ in quality. There are superb numbers, such as "The Bells of Notre Dame", "Out There" (splendidly performed by Tom Hulce, and with excellent orchestral backing) and "Heaven's Light/Hellfire" (sung by Tom Hulce, who really did impress me with his singing for this film, and Tony Jay), while other songs, such as "Topsy Turvey" - a silly show tune, with a loud chorus and typical French, and Gypsie, instruments and harmonies - and "A Guy Like You" - in the same style, although more "Broadway" in its style, with vocals by Jason Alexander and others - are simply annoying. "God Help the Outcasts" is also rather good, although it isn't one of the better songs written for the film. It is represented by two different versions on the soundtrack. There is the film version, performed by Heidi Mollenhauer, and a more mainstream version, sung by Bette Midler. Which one you will prefer is simply a matter of taste.
Other releases of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996):
Soundtracks from the collection: Disney
Soundtracks from the collection: Kids