The Sound of Broadway Music: A Book of Orchestrators and Orchestrations

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Overview

Broadway's top orchestrators - Robert Russell Bennett, Don Walker, Philip J. Lang, Jonathan Tunick - are names well known to musical theatre fans, but few people understand precisely what the orchestrator does. The Sound of Broadway Music is the first book ever written about these unsung stars of the Broadway musical whose work is so vital to each show's success. The book examines the careers of Broadway's major orchestrators and follows the song as it travels from the composer's piano to the orchestra pit. Steven Suskin has meticulously tracked down thousands of original orchestral scores, piecing together enigmatic notes and notations with long-forgotten documents and current interviews with dozens of composers, producers, conductors and arrangers. The information is separated into three main parts: a biographical section which gives a sense of the life and world of twelve major theatre orchestrators, as well as incorporating briefer sections on another thirty arrangers and conductors; a lively discussion of the art of orchestration, written for musical theatre enthusiasts (including those who do not read music); a biographical section which gives a sense of the life and world of twelve major theatre orchestrators, as well as incorporating briefer sections on another thirty arrangers and conductors; and an impressive show-by-show listing of more than seven hundred musicals, in many cases including a song-by-song listing of precisely who orchestrated what along with relevant comments from people involved with the productions. Stocked with intriguing facts and juicy anecdotes, many of which have never before appeared in print, The Sound of Broadway Music brings fascinating and often surprising new insight into the world of musical theatre.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An invaluable book."-Terry Teachout, The Wall Street Journal

"Entertaining and meticulously researched. The Sound of Broadway Music is chock full of intriguing facts and juicy anecdotes and offers new insight into the world of musical theatre."-Judy Samelson, Playbill

"One of the most magnificent books our favorite art form has ever had"—Peter Filichia, Theatermania.com

"The problem most orchestrators face: No one understands what they do, how they do it, or even who is doing it.. The Sound of Broadway Music will forever change that for lovers of musical theatre. This is probably the most valuable theatre book ever written about a subject you never considered precious —Matthew Murray, Broadwaystars.com

"Steven Suskin's six hundred and fifty pages of information substantiating the contribution of orchestrators to the music of Broadway is nothing less than jaw-dropping. Their working relationship with the composers of Broadway scores and directors of Broadway shows is fascinating in its detail. There can be no comparable feat of research more meticulous than this valuable addition to the history of American musical theater."—Hal Prince, director

"Backstage has been the unwarranted space where the wondrous talent of orchestrators remained until now. Steven Suskin has meticulously opened the curtain so that this array of musical magicians can finally take their long overdue bow. May this composer be among the first to shout, 'Bravo!'"—Jerry Bock, composer

"Fans as well as musical theatre scholars will be forever indebted to Steven Suskin for this book. It's fascinating, entertaining and an essential addition to the literature of American musical theatre."—Michael Feinstein, composer, performer

"Suskin does an absolutely masterful job of covering a fascinating but obscure, often arcane and frequently technical subject in a manner that makes it not only understandable but thoroughly fascinating to novice and expert alike. A valuable reference work as well as a history and appreciation of a neglected art."—Potomac Stages

"When we speak of the historians who write about theater, no we can put Steven Suskin in the circle of the truly great ones. The Sound of Broadway Music will make us have a greater appreciation every time we listen to a Golden Age of Broadway original cast album."—TheaterMania

"Invaluable...intriguing and well told."—The Sondheim Review

"Suskin does an absolutely masterful job of covering a fascinating but obscure, often arcane and fequently technical subject in a manner that makes it not only understandable but throughly fascinating to novice and expert alike." —DC Theatre Scene

"Offers a detailed appreciation of such technically skilled craftsmen as Hans Spialek...Suskin has produced a charming tribute to such vital, hitherto-forgotten talents as Hershy Kay, Irwin Kostal and Sid Ramin." —Newark Star-Ledger

"[An] engaging narrative." —Fontes Artis Musicae

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195309478
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/8/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 672
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 5.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Suskin is the author of numerous books on the Broadway musical, including Show Tunes (OUP, fourth edition released March 2010), Second Act Trouble (Applause, 2006), and the Opening Night on Broadway series. He has written hundreds of columns and reviews for Playbill, Variety and other publications.

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Table of Contents

Verse: On Orchestrators and Orchestration
Refrain: Men of Notes (And a Few Women, Too)
I. The Dreyfus System
II. Twelve Major Orchestrators
III. Ghosts and Other Helpers
IV. Valued Members of the Music Department
V. Comparative Orchestrators
Bridge: The Art of Orchestration
VI. From Song to Stage
VII. The Arrangement
VIII. Overture
IX. Meet the Colors
X. And Then Comes the Orchestrator
XI. The Orchestration
XII. Putting it Together
XIII. "Sweeney in the Pit with Steve"
Final Refrain: What's the Score?
XIV. About the Listings
XV. The Listings
XVI. Additional Shows by Other Orchestrators
Coda
Chronology
Acknowledgements
Sources and Bibliography
Index
Verse: On Orchestrators and Orchestration
Refrain: Men of Notes (And a Few Women, Too)
I. The Dreyfus System
II. Twelve Major Orchestrators
III. Ghosts and Other Helpers
IV. Valued Members of the Music Department
V. Comparative Orchestrators
Bridge: The Art of Orchestration
VI. From Song to Stage
VII. The Arrangement
VIII. Overture
IX. Meet the Colors
X. And Then Comes the Orchestrator
XI. The Orchestration
XII. Putting it Together
XIII. "Sweeney in the Pit with Steve"
Final Refrain: What's the Score?
XIV. About the Listings
XV. The Listings
XVI. Additional Shows by Other Orchestrators
Coda
Chronology
Acknowledgements
Sources and Bibliography
Index

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