Monday, November 26, 2007

The "Sweeney Todd" Soundtrack(s)

Nonesuch Records will release two versions of the soundtrack from Tim Burton's film version of "Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" on December 18th, three days prior to the film's eagerly awaited premiere on December 21st. There will be a
"deluxe" soundtrack, replete with an 80-page bound booklet with photographs and the song's lyrics, and a "highlights" version which will have three fewer tracks.

"Sweeney Todd" is, of course, the landmark Stephen Sondheim stage musical that has taken nearly 30 years to make it to the big screen, even though the material in queston is inherently bigger-than-life and wildly cinematic.

The film reportedly runs 117 minutes and there are 20 tracks/songs on the "deluxe" soundtrack:

"Opening Sequence"

"No Place Like London" (incorporating "The Barber and His Wife"), performed by Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd, Jamie Campbell Bower as Anthony Hope and Laura Michelle Kelly as the beggar woman

"The Worst Pies in London," performed by Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett

"Poor Thing" (incorporating "The Barber and His Wife"), performed by Bonham Carter

"My Friends," performed by Depp and Bonham Carter

"Green Finch and Linnet Bird," performed by Jayne Wisener as Johanna

"Alms, Alms," performed by Kelly

"Johanna" (Anthony Hope's version), performed by Campbell Bower

"Pirelli's Miracle Elixir," performed by Edward Sanders as Tobias Ragg

"The Contest," performed by Sacha Baron Cohen as Signor Adolfo Pirelli

"Wait," performed by Bonham Carter

"Ladies and Their Sensitivities," performed by Timothy Spall as Beadle Bamford

"Pretty Women," performed by Depp and Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin

"Epiphany," performed by Depp

"A Little Priest," performed by Depp and Bonham Carter

"God, That's Good!," performed by Depp, Bonham Carter and Sanders

"Johanna" (Todd's version), performed by Depp, Campbell Bower and Kelly

"By the Sea," performed by Bonham Carter

"Not While I'm Around," Performed by Sanders and Bonham Carter

"Final Sequence," performed by Depp, Bonham Carter, Rickman and Kelly

The "highlights" disc does not include the "Opening Sequence," "Ladies and Their Sensitivities" and "Final Sequence."

Burton has been amazingly faithful to Sondheim's epic score. He has been quoted as saying that his film consists of 75% singing. Sounds good. The cut songs include the framing "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" (which is in John Logan's script but not filmed), "Ah, Miss," "Kiss Me," "Wigmaker Sequence," "The Letter" and "Parlour Songs."

(A third version of "Johanna" - yes, Sondheim wrote three separate songs titled "Johanna" - that was sung by the character Judge Turpin when the show when it originally opened, was eventually cut and has had the tendency to come and go from the various productions of "Todd" that I've seen over the years.)

The "deluxe" soundtrack from Nonesuch has experienced a checkered history during the past few weeks. It started out as a two-disc set. It's flipflopped several times between being listed as two discs and one disc on It is being released on one disc.

It seems odd to also release a "highlights" version if the film's complete score fits on one disc. The main difference between the two soundtracks seems to be only the aforementioned booklet enclosed in the "deluxe" edition.

I'm guessing but perhaps at one time Nonesuch intended to include incidental music and maybe even outtakes on the "deluxe" soundtrack, which would have been a great idea. Who knows?

That said, I can't wait.

(Artwork: The dustjacket for the upcoming "Sweeney Todd" soundtrack; Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in the "A Little Priest" number; Depp and Alan Rickman singing "Pretty Women"; Depp's big soliloquy, "Epiphany," and Ed Sanders sings to Sacha Baron Cohen about "Pirelli's Miracle Elixir")

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Anonymous said...

All I can say is that they better not butcher it with amature voices.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree! I almost downloaded the soundtrack, but I want to wait until after I see thie film, I mean, I might not even enjoy it. I am hoping the film is not too different from the Broadway production, which I loved.

Anonymous said...

I really wish they had put the ballad of sweeney todd in the film. I hope they add some sort of segment about it in a hopefully deluxe or special edition DVD. It was one of my favorite parts of the original production and the lyrics in all of the ballad tell more of the story.

Anonymous said...

Dont be afraid.
It works.
It is actually a amazing peice of cinema and musical together.
You wont be dissapointed.