Does music matter?Is anyone listening?
Posted 03 February 2012 - 01:35 PM
Posted 03 February 2012 - 01:41 PM
Posted 03 February 2012 - 01:44 PM
Posted 03 February 2012 - 02:40 PM
Posted 03 February 2012 - 02:40 PM
I think many composers in the popular genres like Broadway expect their music to be rearranged
Broadway composers expect their music to be rearranged but they don't necessarily like it.Rodgers and Hart went so far as to write a song about complaining about such liberties ("I Like to Recognize the Tune").
For the record, most writers of show tunes don't/can't do their own orchestrations. Sondheim for years relied on the estimable Jonathan Tunick. In the days of Rodgers and Hart there was Hans Spialek and Robert Russell Bennett. (Weill did his own, and was surprised to hear that others didn't.) The late John McGlinn was a great advocate of recovering original Broadway orchestrations.
Posted 03 February 2012 - 02:46 PM
The collaboration between musician and dancer is extensive, intense, and subtle, as anyone who knows the history of Balanchine's company would fully expect. And yet, my question is, does anyone really care, or does it really matter?
There are really two sides to that collaboration - what happens between the musician and dancer from their perspective and what the audience see from the other side of the footlights. Certainly I care, but I don't necessarily understand the nature of the interaction from where I'm sitting....
Posted 03 February 2012 - 02:56 PM
Posted 03 February 2012 - 06:32 PM
Like listening to a piece of music played by a student musician or a master musician... It's the same piece of music, after all, but in the master's hands it is much more effective.... The dancing is still the dancing, but it's lacking.
Of course, a bad orchestra/conductor is like bad lighting... It can get in the way of enjoying the art. I wouldn't mind canned music so much if it sounded as good in the theater as in my earphones... but usually it is subjected to awful sound systems. Canned music makes the performance feel like it is missing a dimension...
I can't imagine the difference to the dancers... Sure, canned is predictable... But how many dancers would prefer to take class to canned music over a live accompanist.... Very very few, unless the accompanist is incompetent.
Posted 04 February 2012 - 06:49 AM
But while the dancers get the flexibility of tempo "live" players provide, which matters most to them, I'd imagine, they still get the sound quality of canned music regardless, I gather: Theaters seem to be constructed so the audience hears the musicians well, but for the dancers the music is typically amplified into the wings, regardless whether there are musicians in the pit or not. And I prefer to think that dancers find some freshness from this flexibility rather than the mechanical rigidity of reproduced music - I've heard of some studios using several recordings in rehearsal for just this reason - there are limits:
At a panel discussion at the Museum of Broadcasting six months after Balanchine's death, the general question what it was like became focussed on this point, and Suzanne Farrell, with a meaningful glance down the table at Balanchine's great conductor, Robert Irving, said, "Well, we never knew what the tempos were going to be." "Horses run better under rein, Suzanne!" Irving shot back. So the enlivening potential for live accompaniment can go too far, I guess.
(Video of this panel has ben available at the Museum and at the dance archive at the NYPL at Lincoln Center.)
This matter to me, because I like the presence and reality of the dancers on stage to be matched by similar characteristics of their musical accompaniment. The best ballet, IMO, looks like the dancers are moving as the music tells them to - although no improvisation could be so good for so long! That effect puts me more or less in awe of what I am seeing and hearing.
Posted 04 February 2012 - 08:02 AM
Posted 04 February 2012 - 02:08 PM
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