Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds Discussion

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Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds Discussion

Post by 2099net »

There's various musical threads up on this forum, but I thought I would highlight something a little different.

Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of War of the Worlds. It's not a traditional musical because its not written to be performed and acted out on stage. Indeed, while there is a stage tour of the production its not a musical – the visuals are to enhance the music and are somewhat more abstract and conceptual for the most part. I would say this is more like an opera than a stage musical.

However, just close your eyes and listen to the CD and you'll be transported. There's very little narrative. I don't know how many words are spoken by "The Journalist" in his narration, but they're few and economical. They are also (as far as I'm aware), verbatim from passages in H G Well's original novel. This not only shows how good the adaption is, but also how wonderful and strong H G Well's writing really was to be able to stand such an economy of words, and still be as enthralling and captivating. Although the story is obviously shortened and condensed, the listener looses nothing – it's all there.

Wayne's compositions are a masterpiece in the use of reoccurring themes – and the themes are doubly important when you consider the work was originally written as an audio only piece. I honestly can't think of any other single piece of work that handles themes so well.

While there are long pieces that are just instrumental, there are also numerous songs, each of which perfectly captures the mood required, through the words and the song's performance and performers. My favourites are Thunder Child (you'll find yourself wanting to cheer at the Thunder Child as the song progresses) and Brave New World (David Essex's performance really does capture the madness of his character).

Sadly, I feel that recently the War of the Worlds has been terribly overlooked, and considering that this is the album's 30th anniversary, I wanted to put in a good word for it on this forum.
Most of my Blu-ray collection some of my UK discs aren't on their database
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