25. January 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Quotes, Ramble

Weill’s most ingenious move was to score his breakthrough theater piece not for a symphony orchestra but for a sleek, mutable band of seven musicians, who were asked to play no fewer than twenty-three different instruments. (The drummer, for example, plays second trumpet for a couple of numbers, and the banjo player at one point picks up the cello.) And, by asking his performers to take on so many roles, Weill guarantees that the playing will have, in place of soulless professional expertise, a scrappy, seat-of-the-pants energy.

-Alex Ross (read in The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century)

I play with soul. Really I do! I’m not sure expertise denies soul. (And maybe Alex Ross didn’t mean it in quite the way this insecure musician has decided to take it. But maybe he did …?) Or maybe I’m just not an expert. Oh. There’s that.

I do wonder if Weill wrote for the peculiar doubles/triples/etc. because he had particular players in mind. I know that happens with musical theatre sometimes, and when the work then goes out to the rest of the world doubles are changed because, for instance, not all oboe/English horn players play harmonica (check out the current musical, Mary Poppins).

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