Broadway Musicals by Martin Gottfried

By Martin Gottfried

This amazing quantity explores the musical theater in all its dimensions with approximately four hundred photos, 112 of them in complete colour, together with unique creation pictures of all of the nice musicals, from express Boat to A refrain Line, at the twentieth Century, and Sweeney Todd.
The incisive textual content by means of critic Martin Gottfried supplies a full of life account of the musical theater: how musical comedy of the Twenties and Nineteen Thirties grew into the "musical play" of the Forties and 1 950s and the way that improvement was once overtaken by means of latest "concept" musical; how songs in a express are "spotted," or positioned; how Irving Berlin, who can neither learn nor write tune, turned one among Broadway's greats. Berlin, Kern, Gershwin, Rodgers, and Porter—the musical's mammoth composers—are highlighted in person profiles, as are the good administrators.

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Burt Bacharach, a composer whose experience and success had been with pop records and movie music, hoped to bring to the theater their tricks of over-dubbing, sound mixing, and isolated amplification when he did Promises, Promises in 1968. Bacharach brought a first-rate recording engineer into the theater along with a sound-mixing console. The engineer was placed in the midst of the audience at the rear of the house and has since become a familiar there is fierce competition over — sight in theaters.

Archaic or obscure pronunciations are forbidden. of" Because the singer has to be considered, open sounds ("ah") rather than closed ones ("em") should land on high or low notes; consonants are difficult to hold on sustained notes. Words should be separable, especially in a fast song ("half from," sung quickly, becomes "haffrum"). Rhyming is a science in itself. If repeated consonants precede final sounds they create not rhymes but repeats, or "identities" ("solution" and "condition"). There are "masculine" and "feminine" rhymes.

Many theater orchestrators take a workaday attitude toward their assignments because they don't respect the music they are working on. Yet a sensitive and sympathetic orchestrator can be a composer's alter ego, as Robert Russell Bennett was for Richard Rodgers and smaller sound. Jonathan Tunick for Stephen Sondheim. Even in such cases, however, the result is only an approximation of what the composer might have done for himself. The songs cannot be orchestrated until they've been routined and rehearsed.

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