Author Topic: Arrangers and Orchestrators  (Read 3347 times)

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Offline zamyrabyrd

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Arrangers and Orchestrators
« on: February 10, 2009, 02:02:56 AM »
Do arrangers and orchestrators get proper credit that they should? In popular music, for instance, the arranger is responsible for the packaging of what may be only simple melodies. Where would the "Lonely Hearts of Dr. Pepper" be without the sound world and interesting settings of the arranger(s)?

It has been long assumed that Chopin's orchestration came as from the head of Jove, without any preparation or sequence from the short years he produced a few works for piano and orchestra accompaniment.

However, facsimilies, that are now available for purchase, put this assumption into question. A fair copy from 1835-36, several years after the first performance of the F minor concerto in Warsaw, is probable evidence that the copyist was the actual orchestrator in the final edition.
http://www.omifacsimiles.com/brochures/images/chop_pc.pdf

If the above is true, it is a pity the copyist/arranger remains unknown and unacknowledged.

ZB

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Offline DavidRoss

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Re: Arrangers and Orchestrators
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2009, 02:35:54 AM »
If the above is true, it is a pity the copyist/arranger remains unknown and unacknowledged.
Absolutely! (With apologies to Cato.)  The orchestrator probably deserves the lion's share of the blame.
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Offline Cato

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Re: Arrangers and Orchestrators
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2009, 10:09:07 AM »
This happens quite often with film composers: I think e.g. Jerry Goldsmith rarely directly orchestrated anything he composed, although he certainly would have indicated instrumentation at least occasionally, I would think.  His orchestrator was Arthur Morton.

I know that Prokofiev in his later years used orchestrators for some works.

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sporkadelic

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Re: Arrangers and Orchestrators
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2009, 10:27:18 AM »
Some people would say that the orchestrator of Chopin's concertos should prefer to remain anonymous!  It's true that over the years many performers have retouched them, e.g. that trombone part in the tutti of the E minor concerto that is often suppressed.  To my mind, in these works the orchestra doesn't matter so much anyway.  Chopin needed concerted works for his own performances, and lacking experience in writing for orchestra, he enlisted a collaborator.  Specialization of labor.. why not.

Offline aquablob

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Re: Arrangers and Orchestrators
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2009, 11:17:01 AM »
I once posted on a similar matter a few years back, but little discussion followed (actually zero ;)).

The example I used back then was the new production (for both stage and cinema) of The Producers, with music "by" Mel Brooks. How much of the music is really "by" Mel Brooks? Maybe the main melodies and basic rhythms? While there may be credit given somewhere in fine print to an orchestrator and/or arranger, Brooks is always credited unambiguously as the main composer.

Is this dishonest? Here is a fair analogy, I think. Take Leonardo's Mona Lisa; what if evidence comes to light suggesting that one Joseph Shmoseph approached Leonardo with a sketch of a woman and paid him to transform the sketch into a finished work of art? Would we then consider Shmoseph the artist, and Lenny merely the "arranger" (or some equivalent term... maybe "embellisher?")?

I think these are interesting questions.

Offline Cato

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Re: Arrangers and Orchestrators
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2009, 11:29:19 AM »
Paul McCartney's "classical compositions" are in the same boat with Mel Brooks.  The former is apparently quite proud of being unable to read or write music, and so hired a composer/conductor to flesh out everything he tapped on the piano or sang or whistled.
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Offline aquablob

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Re: Arrangers and Orchestrators
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2009, 11:33:31 AM »
Paul McCartney's "classical compositions" are in the same boat with Mel Brooks.  The former is apparently quite proud of being unable to read or write music, and so hired a composer/conductor to flesh out everything he tapped on the piano or sang or whistled.

There may be degrees at work here; I'd like to believe that McCartney had a more active role in the "fleshing out" process than did Brooks. That said, your point is taken, and the issues at hand are likely widespread.

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Arrangers and Orchestrators
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2009, 11:46:46 AM »
This happens quite often with film composers: I think e.g. Jerry Goldsmith rarely directly orchestrated anything he composed, although he certainly would have indicated instrumentation at least occasionally, I would think.  His orchestrator was Arthur Morton.

I know that Prokofiev in his later years used orchestrators for some works.


Well, Grofe was enlisted to orchestrate "Rhapsody in Blue". At least Gershwin was honest about it.

ZB
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Offline drogulus

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Re: Arrangers and Orchestrators
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2009, 01:48:17 PM »
This happens quite often with film composers: I think e.g. Jerry Goldsmith rarely directly orchestrated anything he composed, although he certainly would have indicated instrumentation at least occasionally, I would think.  His orchestrator was Arthur Morton.

I know that Prokofiev in his later years used orchestrators for some works.



    Quite often you see the name of an orchestrator or arranger in movie credits. Then there is the "music director" who may perform these functions in addition to using music from different sources. I don't think very many of the film composers arranged their own music. The studios had music departments for that (I think Previn started his Hollywood career there as a teenager). Bernard Hermann came to Hollywood with Welles and the Mercury Players, so he established himself immediately as an exception, and his ability to produced short patches of music (called "stings") which he had developed for radio broadcasts, made him too valuable not to use. Though I imagine composers like Prokofiev or Walton with reputations as classical artists would be permitted to produce complete scores. It must have depended on who you were working with, too.
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karlhenning

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Re: Arrangers and Orchestrators
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2009, 01:56:00 PM »
Absolutely! (With apologies to Cato.)

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Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Arrangers and Orchestrators
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2009, 10:17:04 PM »
Tee, not to say hee!

Leggiero, welcome aboard. More than 14,000 posts so far? Now how did I miss all that?

ZB
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds