For anyone learning the lyrics to this piece of music from Les Miserables, you soon realise that one part of a verse doesn't rhyme!
This has always been a great debate by singers and perhaps audience alike, as to whether the transcribed lyrics have been transcribed incorrectly, or was the original meant to be like that?
I can say from experience of singing the choral arrangement for years and seeing the stage musical, it never entered my head as they all seemed to agree. But it is interesting to check out whether there is a typo somewhere. After all I have discovered a recent lyric typo in two different versions of 'The Prayer', so it always pays to check.
Thanks to one of our keen eyed Tenors who came across the following extract from an interview with the lyricist Herbet Kretzmer, this probably puts the debate firmly to bed for us - for now:
SHEAHEN: In the hauntingly beautiful “Castle On A Cloud” a natural rhyme seems to be avoided. “There is a room that’s full of toys; there are a hundred boys and girls.” Shouldn’t that be “girls and boys” to make it rhyme ?
KRETZMER: Yes, of course, that’s how I wrote it. Trevor Nunn and/or John Caird suggested the switch because the ‘boys-toys’ rhyme telegraphed itself and lacked surprise and, secondly, the song is sung by the untutored little urchin Cosette who is not expected to be facile of speech. Still, there must be some in the audience at every performance who conclude that the little girl simply fluffed her lines.
Incidentally, speaking of “Castle On A Cloud”, Alain’s original French lyric took an altogether different line on Cosette’s plight. It had the unhappy child fantasizing about being rescued by a prince. I felt, however, that little girls of that age do not dream of men, even if they are princes. I also felt that the saviour/prince idea had been rather too famously done in the old Disney song “Someday My Prince Will Come.” So I took Cosette’s little song in another direction, and made it a plea for love and comfort in a safe place.