Why should a recording be the same every time you listen to it? Until recently, this question wouldn’t even have made sense. But today there’s no reason why this must be the case.
Here’s a situation that’s commonly misunderstood among creative collaborators: Jack and Jill agree to write a song together. They call it “Tumblin’ Down the Hill.” Jack writes the music and Jill writes the lyrics. Who owns what?
One side of the survivability equation is the caution-to-the-wind embrace of a personal vision, fearless of the consequences, no matter how impractical. The other side thinks outside of the individual and looks at the times.
Some companies advertise the pieces we write for free as new commissions. I vote for an immediate end to this practice. By all means, call it a world premiere by the Next Important Composer of Our Time. Phrase it however you need to make it sound sexy and get butts in seats, but it is not a commission. It is unpaid labor from which others stand to gain.
The reputations of certain composers seem to be actually growing with time, even though conventional wisdom earlier on would have predicted just the opposite. They present one possible answer to the question of how music becomes “survivable.”
Songs written for the stage are no longer the currency of mainstream musical engagement, yet “song” has become the default term for just about any piece of music under the sun. Is the word still meaningful to creators of new musical theater?
By now it’s more than a decade since Jonathan Kramer, George Rochberg, Ralph Shapey, and Iannis Xenakis have passed, so there is some time to assess where their art stands in their wake, even though it’s still very early in the eternity game.
Why is it so challenging to find the right singers to fit the bill, and is there value in writing for and/or casting singers who specialize in the “wrong” style as dictated by the form?
What’s the fate of our work after we’ve left the stage? Robert Carl explores making our music “survivable.”
I won’t rehash any discussions about the technical differences between musicals and operas, but I am interested in exploring preconceived notions held by those working in both genres and the effect they have on composing for the theater.