Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 2:33 pm
Unpublished vocal scores - why are there three of them?
So I've had two seperate copies of the "Miss Saigon" vocal score for
- they are each about 340 pages and has all of the music from the show
for piano reduction and all of the various parts for the different
characters on seperate staves. It's set like a traditional operatic
score, I suppose. Call the derivative or excessive or emotionally
manipulative or whatever - I still get a great deal of enjoyment from
I have a couple of questions. The first vocal score I have is "printed"
with a computer and contains all of the music as reflected on the
Complete Symphonic Recording, but with an entirely different final
scene (see below). The other vocal score I have is "handwritten" (in
some places, really messily, with musical notes crossed out and
rewritten for individual characters and lines changed, as well as whole
sections of the show that I've never heard anywhere else.) It also has
an entirely different ending - this one is called "Finale Ultimo", and
is unique in that it shows us a final meeting between Kim and Chris
before she makes the decision to end her life. It is, oddly enough,
almost entirely a reprise of "This Money's Yours".
Some additional weirdness, though. For those of us here who are MS fans
familliar with the score, we will be well aware of the fact that the
"Finale" has undergone a considerable amount of revision since the show
opened on Broadway and in London. The Finale first was called "The
Sacred Bird" and was partly new music and partly a reprise of "I'd Give
My Life For You", before the familiar falling "I have had my fill of
pain" whole-tone motif and "American Dream" reprise and gunshot stuff.
>From this picture I keep
You, my parents, look out
And your smiles show no scorn
I am happy today
For my heart is not torn
Spirits know when to fly when it's time;
There's no reason to mourn
For the great sacred bird is reborn
etc etc etc.
Then we got a "new" version in time for the Complete Symphonic
Recording in 1995 or so, that incorporated more music and then a
reprise of "This is the Hour" before a similar ending to the OLC. This
one is my personal favorite:
Now, Tam, my brave boy
Our long wait has ended
Smile, Tam, for you have
A father at last
He will come to take you home
All I dreamed for you he'll do
You're still mine, but I can't go along
Don't be sad; though I seem far away, I'll be watching you!
So anyway, having just gotten the German cast recording of MS, I was
looking in the vocal score and saw something interesting. Directly
after "The American Dream", the vocal score has two seperate endings -
"The Sacred Bird", which is a PV reduction to the end, basically, and
an entirely seperate "draft" of an ending, I guess - something entirely
new, called "Little God of My Heart". "Little God of My Heart" contains
musical portions of the second Finale version seen on the CSR (the
"You're still mine, but I can't go along/Don't be sad; though I seem
far away, I'll be watching you!" part), but is otherwise entirely new
material for the most part until the gunshot. It's pretty, too, from
what I see, but very different and mostly in 12/8, with a triplet feel.
So what's with this "Little God of My Heart" and "Finale Ultimo" stuff?
Was it ever used in
the show? Is there anywhere it's been recorded? Given its apparent
relative obscurity, how did it make it into the vocal score?
Also, a "bonus" query: why, in some vocal scores in various parts (such
as MS, during most of "The Heat is On in Saigon" and "If You Want to
Die in Bed"), does the piano accompaniment dissapear and get replaced
with "x-ed out" note symbols and just chord names as opposed to actual
accompaniment? It's strange.