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The Sound of Broadway Music: A Book of Orchestrators and Orchestrations Hardcover – April 8, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0195309478 ISBN-10: 0195309472

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (April 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195309472
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195309478
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 2 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,465,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"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


About 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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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robert Marks on April 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Steven Suskin delves deeply into the world of orchestration and music preparation, long neglected to be appreciated and understood by the theatergoing public. The author is able to make the information interesting to the layman, and fascinating to the professional. And now that many college and university music programs include theatre music in their curriculums, the histories and methodologies of those who worked during Broadway's "Golden Age" is more important than ever. I only wish this book was around years ago, when I was starting my career in this business!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Glenn S. Koocher on April 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For those of us who listen carefully to orchestrations and think about the people behind the musicals who don't always get recognized, Suskins book is a truly wonderful compendium of the information on the world of orchestrators and orchestrations. From the art of the orchestrator to uncredited collaborators and from the logistics of preparing the music to the the fee per page and royalties comes this along with interesting biographical information. This would be a dream come true except who dared to dream such a book would be conceived, researched or written. The musician, theater-buff, musical historian, and even the back of the house people will enjoy reading more information than has ever been reported on how shows got to sound as they do.
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Format: Hardcover
This book, coupled with the Library of Congress Symposium, hosted by Mr. Suskin, was one of the highlights of my year. I am a 65 year old musical theatre composer (conductor, arranger, orchestrator, pianist) who has been in the business (albeit as an avocation) all my life, mostly at the amateur, college and secondary school levels. The information presented along with the vivid characterizations of the orchestrators (of whom most avid theatre goers are ignorant)is invaluable to the musical theatre student of any age. With all of the excellent conservatory and university musical theatre programs in existence today (in the 1960s many universities thought musical theatre was beneath them), this book should become a standard text book for all musical theatre students in their junior or senior years, after becoming steeped in the musical theatre literature with which the book deals.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James J. Best on November 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not a book on how to orchestrate music. It is an enormously comprehensive view of the leading Broadway orchestrators, people little known outside the trade. Suskin has devoted time and energy to tracking down how did what orchestrations of what songs in what musicals, a considerable task since it is rare for one orchestrator to do all the songs in a show and, making the task more difficult, many of the original orchestrations are missing or unsigned. The 300+ page listing of Broadway shows and their orchestrators is well worth the price of the book as are the biographies, musical and personal, of these unheralded and little-known men who transform what Broadway composers write into the music that we know and love. And don't miss the the nine page description by Suskin of his sitting in the cramped pit orchestra of Sweeney Todd, oboe on one side, french horn on the other, and base drum and tympani in his back, watching Stephen Sondheim sitting in an equally cramped seat on the other side of the pit. It's almost like being there.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Damien Slattery on July 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
An astounding book! There are no pages of music theory or examples of musical notation to be studied. It is aimed at the non-technical among us, and features dozens of biographical info on all the great and not-so-great in Broadway history. We get many opinions about each one by their collaborators and peers. The lists of endless information re. the cost and numbers of instruments used for each chart is actually quite interesting, as is the secret info about who ghosted certain numbers without credit! The great Jonathan Tunick is not featured too much though, a minor quibble, as everyone from Irv Kostal to Robert Russell Bennett get exceptional coverage. The research is astounding!!! A remarkable tome!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mts Productions, LLC on August 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Still reading this book. Steve Suskin does a great job in taking you to the early days of Broadway and into the inner sanctum of the Broadway orchestrators. Look forward to finishing. Had hoped there would be more examples of the scores to study. But the detailed "inside baseball" information is invaluable.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By W. Smith on January 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the best things in life is to learn something new about something you think you already know a lot about. Even as a person who has studied arranging and orchestration, I still found mountains of information about how to approach orchestration for the theater. The book is put together very well, going logically from a description of how orcheatration came to be a profession, through bios of the principal participants, then to a description of orchestration, and finally to a very complete list of shows with wonderful notes and quotes. As a fan of the 70s Sondheim shows, I am glad Jonathan Tunick is mentioned and I was interested to learn of his connection to Red Ginzler. The diary entry about watching 'Sweeney Todd' from the pit and the bar-by-bar breakdown of the orchestration in 'I'm Still Here' are icing on the cake!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
fascinating book about the the unsung heroes of Broadway-the Orchestrators. Detailed research about EVERY major Broadway show. Insightful biographies and info of all the great ones. Truly informative!
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