Bacharach/Sondheim connection

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Steve Schenck
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Bacharach/Sondheim connection

Postby Steve Schenck » Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:33 pm

As I admire the work of both Burt Bacharach and Stephen Sondheim enormously, although they write primarily for different arenas, I've often wondered what the one thought of the other. I've never found much. I have often thought that there were moments in "Company" that were reminiscent of "Promises," and given that "Promises" opened a year and a few months before "Company," I thought it not unreasonable that Sondheim might have been influenced by Burt's work. I recently came across this brief posting; the author met Sondheim at a performance of "Back to Bacharach and David" in the 90s in NYC, and says that Sondheim said he was a big Bacharach fan! The writer then also notes the similarities between "Company" and "Promises." If you want to check it out, here's the link:
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=326252743051

An Enormous BB Fan
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Re: Bacharach/Sondheim connection

Postby An Enormous BB Fan » Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:56 am

Very interesting. I enjoy the tidbits contained therein.

I am not surprised in the least that Sonheim was a fan of Burt's... and not surprised that he was influenced by Burt's "Promises, Promises" score and new way of presenting music on Broadway.

I believe that Burt influenced every musician (and certainly composer) who is familiar with his compositions. In fact, I don't see how they could NOT have been influenced by Burt. His oeuvre is just too original, inventive and astoundingly great not to impact all who listen.

I also admire Sondheim. I'd say that he's also a genius. I loved his 80th birthday celebration that aired on PBS last month. And, on top of his musical gifts, I can tell you that there's no better lyricist than Sondheim. Some of his lyrics can knock your socks off. "A Little Priest" from Sweeney Todd is unbelievably terrific!

nymusicalsguy
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Re: Bacharach/Sondheim connection

Postby nymusicalsguy » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:24 am

Record producer Phil Ramone, of course, worked extensively with both Bacharach and Sondheim. In his fine autobiography MAKING RECORDS, he describes the musical sophistication of Bacharach and Sondheim: Of Sondheim, "Only Burt Bacharach's rhythmic complexities compare to Sondheim's." No surprise there! Ramone recognized the connection between the two on a compositional level...and I couldn't agree more!

Rio
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Re: Bacharach/Sondheim connection

Postby Rio » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:49 pm

I wrote more than once about what Tunick said about working with and learning from Burt. A life-altering experience. He was particularly impressed with what Burt had to say specifically about rythm.
I am not aware of a better connection between Burt and Sondheim.
Also, I believe it was on a Sondheim site that I read that Tunick learned to read drum charts with Burt.

steveo_1965
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Location: Los Angeles

Re: Bacharach/Sondheim connection

Postby steveo_1965 » Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:47 pm

Yes,
Another connection is Soundheims writing partner Leonard Bernstein. Lenny wrote a rhythm for West Side Story...
The song America...I think Burt was influenced by this when he wrote the 6/8 rhythms
for the tune Promises Promises....either conciously or unconciously...but Im glad he was!both are marvelous tunes...

An Enormous BB Fan
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Re: Bacharach/Sondheim connection

Postby An Enormous BB Fan » Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:10 am

Famed Russian conductor Serge Koussevitzky founded the Tanglewood Music Center in 1940, as the Berkshire Music Center. It was Koussevitsky's idea to establish this place in the Berkshires as a premier music academy where young performers and composers of exceptional ability would study with world-class artists. It is also the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and many of the Orchestra's players also teach during the summers at Tanglewood. Today, 20 percent of the members of American symphony orchestras and 30 percent of first-chair players are alumni of Tanglewood. Other distinguished alumni include trumpet player Wynton Marsalis, conductors Seiji Ozawa and Claude Abbado, songwriter/pianist Burt Bacharach, and of course Leonard Bernstein, who attended Tanglewood as a conducting student of Koussevitsky's.

From: http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/feat ... m/2003/06/

And check this out:

http://books.google.com/books?id=0zwz7c ... 22&f=false

Rio
Posts: 358
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 8:07 am

Re: Bacharach/Sondheim connection

Postby Rio » Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:09 am

Enormous,

Tanglewod always meant "Copland," to me.

Please Google this

"copland's general harmonic"

and check the first link for another possible relation between Burt and Sondheim, in the light of your post.


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