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Awesome Music / The Hunchback of Notre Dame

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The film

  • "...sing the bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, BELLS OF NOTRE DAME!" Pay attention to Clopin's voice toward the end of that song. God knows why they decided to practically drown it out with the chorus, but actor/singer Paul Kandel holds an absurdly high note (a high D, a very impressive note for a male singer to hit) perfectly for an absurdly long time. The studio cast recording version of the song also deserves mention, when that aforementioned high D is sung by the highest singers in the choir's soprano section! Chills will be had.
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  • "Out There". The combination of the gorgeous music, beautiful lyrics and Tom Hulce's spectacular performance makes it one of the most magnificent songs of the Disney Animated Canon (or any Disney film, for that matter). Listen to Alan Menken himself singing the demo of it—both Frollo and Quasimodo's parts. The What Could Have Been concept art throughout is a nice touch too.
  • While "Sanctuary" is about four different kinds of incredible (it's a four part piece), and "Hellfire" is without a doubt, the best villain song ever included in a Disney movie (if not any film), the real crowner here is without a doubt, "God Help The Outcasts". The music is incredible, but the lyrics deserve special mention, as they are a deconstruction of the typical Disney "I Want" Song, in that a Gypsy who doesn't even believe in, or doubts, God ("I don't know if you can hear me, or if you're even there") is offering to God a more humble prayer than the Catholics there who are asking for money, fame, and glory, whereas Esmeralda simply says "I ask for nothing; I can get by/But I know so many less lucky than I."
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  • "Heaven's Light" is one of the sweetest, most perfect love songs ever written (and Tom Hulce's performance just brings it to another level). Anyone who has ever been unpopular or different knows that feeling when someone notices you, even for a moment, and this song perfectly captures that feeling: knowing that they'll probably never love you back, but for the moment, you can hope, just a little. Even better is how it's a perfect counterpoint to "Hellfire", which follows immediately after. From gentle hope and love to fiery rage and passion.
    I dare to dream that she/Might even care for me/And as I ring these bells tonight,/My cold dark tower seems so bright.../I swear it must be heaven's light!
  • "Hellfire", in which Frollo seeks to purge his mind of his sinful obsession with Esmeralda. It’s universally acclaimed as one of the best villain songs ever composed, if not the best, and for a damn good reason.
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  • "Paris Burning" plays in the scene immediately following "Hellfire" and perfectly embodies the fear and terror that the citizens of Paris are forced to suffer as Frollo's madness drives him to burn the city to the ground. The last twenty-five seconds of the track are guaranteed to require the listener to bring their brown pants. The stage version replaces "Paris Burning" with "Esmeralda", mentioned below.
  • "And He Shall Smite the Wicked" plays during Quasimodo and Esmeralda's final struggle against Frollo — and it does its job well, with its Latin choir and grand orchestra complimenting the tone of the scene as Frollo makes one last attempt to kill Quasimodo and Esmeralda.

  • The film's uplifting, emotional and powerful Award-Bait Song, "Someday", that was cut from the film itself but put in the credits as a Rewritten Pop Version. Performed by:

The musical

  • Top of the World is a song sung by Esmeralda (later accompanied by Quasimodo and the Chorus) from the musical about how everything is so much better when she's staring down at Paris from atop the highest balcony of the Notre Dame.
    Seeing life from the top of the world/Nothing needs fighting and no one needs pity/Thanks for giving this moment to me/When just for a moment things stop/Here at the top of the world!
  • "Made of Stone" is pure Tear Jerker material, but the last line, "As if I were made of stone!" contains two long notes that are nothing short of awesome. Those two notes (one of which is a Bb4, very high for a male singer) are held while the singer is almost doubled over in Quasi’s distinctive posture. A moment of awesome for any actor who can pull it off. Trivia: On the cast recording? Michael Arden (Quasimodo) recorded it while being very hungover after the opening night party of Spring Awakening. Awesome professionalism indeed.
    Quasimodo: ...and my one human eye will evermore be dry until the day I die, as if I... were made of stone!
  • The cast recording's version of "Hellfire" deserves mention. A renowned villain song in the original movie, it is carried wonderfully by Patrick Page as Frollo and manages to get across the torment his character feels for his impure thoughts.
  • "Esmeralda" is the absolutely stunning finale of the first act. All the main characters get a part and the choir/ensemble provides epic background vocals for the last part of the song, layered and ending on the 'Bells of Notre Dame' harmony.
  • "Tanz auf dem Seil" (or "Balancing Act" in English), a song exclusive to the German production, is an epic introductory song for Clopin, Esmeralda, and the gypsies of Paris. As he welcomes Esmeralda to their clan, Clopin explains to her (and to the audience) how miserable a gypsy's life is in Paris, and how they're constantly treated like the scum of the city. While the context of the song is quite sad, the music is grand and and triumphant, signifying that despite their hardships, the gypsies will stick together and face discrimination head on, and that it won't stop them from being who they are.
  • The opening of the stage production is something of a rarity, an entrance in which the choir is heavily showcased!
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