- The Firebrand of Florence: Broadway Operetta in Two Acts, and: Ballade von der sexuellen Horigkeit und andere Songs fur Gesang und Klavier, and: 6 ausgewahlte Stucke aus Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny fur Gesang und Klavier, and: Four Walt Whitman Songs for Voice and Piano (review)
- Music Library Association
- Volume 62, Number 2, December 2005
- pp. 481-486
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Notes 62.2 (2005) 482-486
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Anyone who has ever participated in the staging of a musical—be it a high school, college, community, or even professional production—knows that there is no such thing as a "full score" for Oklahoma!, Kiss Me, Kate, My Fair Lady, Gypsy, Fiddler on the Roof, or any of the dozens of other classics of American musical theater that are revived regularly. Working almost invariably with rented parts, each member of the cast and crew has only as much music or text as is necessary for one specific role. Even the music director who conducts the performances is limited to just a piano-vocal arrangement or some other form of short score with only the most rudimentary cues to indicate the orchestration and disposition of vocal parts.
Of course, these incomplete and imperfect parts and scores simply reflect the conditions under which they were created. Working under the intense pressure of imminent deadlines, a Broadway composer and lyricist team manufactures songs in vocal scores that are then passed on to orchestrators, dance arrangers, and copyists, all of whom add various creative elements to the final product. During rehearsals and tryouts, still more changes might be made, ranging from the excision of complete numbers and their replacement with entirely new songs, down to more modest adjustments such as the addition of a few measures of music to cover some stage action, the transposition of a song to fit a voice range, or just some simple modifications in the orchestration to vary a repeated passage.
With time and money of the essence, whatever artistic control a composer might hope to exert is sacrificed to decisions made swiftly by almost any member of the creative team. The scores, parts, and textbooks used in the production of a new work thus reflect a broad collaboration...