26. March 2007 · Comments Off on Do You Hear the People Sing? · Categories: imported, Ramble

Or … more importantly to this oboist … Do you hear the musicians play?

Because we aren’t being hired as much these days. For shows like Les Misérables (for those of you not in the know, that’s where the subject title comes from), the large pit orchestra has gotten smaller since it was first performed. Reduced orchestration. It’s the thing to do. Sometimes. For other shows, things like the virtual orchestra has replaced instrumentalists. The legitimate, if frustrating, smaller pit bands are there because composers are writing for smaller and smaller groups. They have to … to get performed. It’s all about money, folks.

But the reduced orchestras and the fake orchestras … sigh … what can ya do?

I just wonder if audiences care. Or even notice. How tuned in are audience members?

When Jameson and I went to CATS a few years back, the pit band consisted of three keyboard players and a rhythm section. I couldn’t believe how abominable the music was (but then that show isn’t particularly wonderful anyway). But the rest of the audience? They were on their feet at the end. I heard no complaints.

Read Theater’s Alive With the Sound of Laptops here.

And yes, as Deceptively Simple points out, the article isn’t exactly poifect … as he quotes:

„Technology is always a threat to live music,‰ said Bruce Pomahac, director of music at Rodgers & Hammerstein. „When the pianoforte replaced the harpsichord, every harpsichordist was out of a job.”


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