Sunday, April 24, 2011

The "Proceed With Caution List" - please, contribute!

Recently, I heard of a trombone student who had to cancel his recital due to a last-minute loss of his pianist.  The reason?  Repertoire, mainly Šulek's Sonata "Vox Gabrieli" (notorious among pianists for its devilish accompaniment).

There's a lot of rep out there that takes HOURS to learn, even for experienced pianists.  Pianists on Facebook (People for the Ethical Treatment of Accompanists) kicked the idea around in a 'Repertoire Difficulty Level' discussion, naming repertoire from their own experience.  I pulled together a list, offering two categories: pieces originally written for piano and orchestral reductions.*

If nothing else, pianists should:  
Double check before saying yes to Hindemith or any saxophone repertoire. 

Originally for piano and [fill in the blank]
Casterede Sonatine, trombone and piano
Creston Saxophone Sonata
Desenclos Prelude Cadence and Finale, sax and piano
Jolivet Chant de Linos, flute and piano
Franck Violin Sonata
Heiden Saxophone Sonata
Ravel Tzigane, violin and piano 
Schubert Variations On 'Trockne Blumen', flute and piano
Strauss Violin Sonata
Šulek Vox Gabrieli, trombone and piano
Weber Duo Concertante, clarinet and piano

Orchestral reductions:
Copland Clarinet Concerto
Dvorak Cello Concerto
Ibert Concertino for Sax
Strauss 2nd horn concerto
Walton Viola Concerto

Vocal lit should have it's own space . . . I may have to do that next.

*Orchestral reductions get their own category because playing them calls for the ability to make an orchestral sound, in addition to the ability to read (and to discern what to bring out/leave out/etc).

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Playbill Articles & Resources is a great resource in general, but they have a couple of specific sections that I wanted to call attention to:  
Ask is a weekly column that answers questions about theatre. 
Casting and Jobs: Job Listings is a job database for job-seekers. 

Here are links to some articles that address some aspects of music directing:

Question: Can you talk a little bit about the music department of a musical? What happens to a musical score once it is written by the composer?  How many people get involved (i.e. orchestrator, musical director, arranger, etc.) and how important is each position?  Can you compare today's practices with the way they were done in the "Golden Age" of Broadway (50s and 60s)? Can you also talk about what happens when a show is revived and how that show's score is dealt with?
Answered by: Seymour "Red" Press, musical coordinator of Passing Strange and the current revival of Gypsy.

Question: Regarding the artistic staff of a Broadway musical, what exactly does a vocal arranger do? If a vocal arranger writes harmonies for the songs in the score, why doesn't the show's composer write them?
Answer: Carmel Dean, the 28-year-old vocal arranger on The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

Question: What does a dance arranger do?
Answer: David Chase, the dance arranger for the current Broadway shows Cry-Baby, Curtains and The Little Mermaid.

Question: What makes an Equity rehearsal different than a typical community theatre rehearsal?

Question: How long is the rehearsal process for musicals before their opening night, and how often does a cast rehearse after a show opens, if at all?  

Question: What are the attendance rules for professional performers during the rehearsal process? How much notice must they give for a conflict and does the union provide for a certain number of absences? 

Question: "Could you tell me what is the exact role of a swing in a show?"