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Lecture 4

Music 2701A/B Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: An Die Ferne Geliebte, Harvey Schmidt, Jason Robert Brown


Department
Music
Course Code
Music 2701A/B
Professor
Kristina Baron- Woods
Lecture
4

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Mini Musicals
The Mini Musical:Smaller shows on Broadway and o...
Simple story-telling with small casts and often simple production needs
More focus on quality of story-telling
Started as reaction to the huge shows on Broadway in 1950s and 60s
oThe Fantasticks (1960, Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt)
oI Do, I Do (1966, Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt)
Just two people in the entire show
oI Love My Wife (1977, Cy Coleman and Michael Stewart)
Just 4 people
oRomance/Romance (1987, Keith Herman and Barry Harrmann)
Just 5 people
A way for writers to get early exposure in the business
Mini musicals sometimes are with new people in the business (who just started
working)
More recent mini musicals
Low cost for renting theaters  can be on for a long time
Popular cult hits like Bat Boy, Toxic Avenger, and Evil Dead: The Musical
tick, tick ... BOOM!: Started as solo show performed by Jonathan Larson, the
composer, then adapted to three-person cast after Larson’s death
oThis show was the @rst show for Larson
Avenue Q - developed at the Eugene O’Neill Centre, opened at the Vineyard Theatre
O-Broadway, moved to Broadway
Songs for a New World - originally workshopped in Toronto, premiered at the WPA
Theater O-Broadway; for four singers
o4 people show
Some de@nitions...
1) Song-cycle Musical:
~ nature of love, progression, actual/emotional/spiritual journey
Term taken from song-cycles of the 19th century: a group of songs usually sung by a
single person who describes a theme or narrative; singer is usually a participant in the
story and we experience it from their point-of-view
Mostly German in the past
Famous song cycles include Schumann’s Liederkreis, Beethoven’s An die ferne
Geliebte (  ), and Schubert’s Winterreise ( )
oYou don’t have to know any of it like what Beethoven wrote
Song-cycle musicals follow the same format: a series of songs that tell a story from
the singer’s perspective
2) Chamber Musical:
Following the term chamber opera

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Based on the idea of chamber music: music that was performed by a small group of
musicians, one player per part, and no instrument more important than another
Designed to be suitable for the “chamber” or a small room/people’s home, not a
theatre or large church
oIntimate location
oString quartet
oNot like 15-20 people playing violin
Intimate in scale and emotion
3) Through-sung
Is not a genre
It’s type of music??
   
        ,    ,       .
= A musical in which there is no spoken dialogue; the music is continuous
When characters converse, they do so through song
Other shows we’ve done so far that have been through-sung: Les Miz and Cats
Not to be confused with the term through-composed
The Last Five Years
Was shot as a movie - Finally opening
Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
Brown also wrote the book    -_-
Autobiographical: based on his own failed marriage
Only two characters - Jamie, an aspiring writer (himself), and Cathy, an aspiring
actress
Called a “song-cycle musical” or a “chamber musical” genre
Mostly through-sung
The story of The Last Five Years
Plot tells the basic story of a couple, Jamie and Cathy, and how they meet, fall in love,
get married, and eventually separate
Unusual method of story-telling: one character tells story chronologically, the other in
reverse-chronology
Couple only interacts for a brief time in the middle of the show: marriage scene
No surprises for audience; we know the couple’s fate from the beginning because of
the mode of narrative
Each of the characters are in the opposite chronology to each other
oCathy: at the end of the relationship (telling that the relationship is over) (older
Cathy)
oJamie: starts with young Jamie
oThey’re not playing scenes together. They only meet up at one point at the
wedding.
oGives audiences dierent perspective. There’s no @ghting. Audiences know that
the relationship is doomed.
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Songs:
Still Hurting (Cathy)
oThe beginning of Cathy’s side of the story
oThe end of their marriage
oJamie has given up and moved on; Cathy is seen leaving their house with a
suitcase
o*Instrumentation: almost like a classical string quartet. (elegance) There’s not so
much feeling of an ensemble. There’s guitar in there too. But there’s not so much
wings / brass in here.
o  
o 
oShe just found out that Jamie is leaving for another woman. He’s having an aair.
oThere’s no time for clapping for audiences.
ohttp://www.metrolyrics.com/still-hurting-lyrics-a.html
Shiksa Goddess (Jamie)
oThe beginning of Jamie’s side of the story
oHappy, fun song
oMore endearing character than Cathy
oHe’s not saying he has been waiting for someone like you. He’s been waiting for
someone who’s not like... He just wants want someone who’s dierent. He’s in love
with the idea of someone dierent, not her.
oBeginning of their relationship
oJamie has just met Cathy and is especially excited about how exotic she is to him:
she’s not Jewish like all his past girlfriends. He is a Jewish from New York. Cathy is
not like the girls set up by his parents.
oJamie probably wants the audience to be attracted by Jamie who is young and
vibrant. On the other hand, Cathy is a downer.
oThere’s lots of time for clapping after this song.
oDierent from the @rst song: tempo, rhythm
oLatin rhythm/vibe – why is a Jewish singing in this rhythm?
There’s the energy in it
oHe goes through a whole list of girls’ names with 8 counts of Klezmer (traditional
Hebrew music) to emphasize those Jewish names.
o 
ohttp://www.metrolyrics.com/shiksa-goddess-lyrics-a.html
A Miracle Would Happen (by Jamie)/When You Come Home to Me (by Cathy):
oJust past the half-way point of their relationship
oJamie is seen enjoying his success as an emerging writer on the New York scene,
being propositioned by other women, but telling the audience that he is @ne going
home to his wife. He says it’s a temptation. The audiences can expect that he
doesn’t overcome that temptation. Every time he says “@ne,” he gets edgier. He
says to himself that this is what he wanted.
oThere’s much more part of him in this song. He also gets the last words. It’s almost
like the composer wants Jamie to redeem his character. The end has no sarcasm.
“I’ll be there soon.”
oSong-cycle genre – piano playing with the singer gives the opposite feeling from
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