If you haven’t heard the new Sweeney Todd movie soundtrack, get it and enjoy! Whether or not you like Johnny Depp’s and Helena Bonham Carter’s renditions, I know you’ll enjoy the harp accompaniments! Anyone know who the harpist was?
Thanks for the link, Evangeline. I totally agree with the reviewer! Unfortunately, the liner notes do not list any of the musicians, other than the conductor.
It’s very sad when the harp (and other instruments) are eliminated from the pit orchestras–and worse yet, when they are replaced by digital keyboards!
I played in the pit for a local production of this show in ’95 or ’96. I didn’t want to do it after listening to the original cast recording because (I thought) it sounded creepy and I didn’t like the steam whistle. It turned out to be one of my favorite shows and great fun. Ironically, the harp was real and the steam whistle was electronic!
As to shrinking the pit orchestras, there’s a group in New York that puts on shows called Forbidden Broadway. The songs use melodies from popular shows with lyrics that are parodies and funny critiques/comments on the shows and/or performers. Their performances are available on CD.
One that really caught my ear was the opening melody from Sweeney Todd (“Attend the Tale of Sweeney Todd”). The words tell of a production that was so scaled down that they called it “Teeny Todd.” At the end, the lyrics say:
“To think that one of his (Sondheim) shows today
No one can afford the original way…
It’s teeny Todd…
The smaller version of Sweeney.”
It all comes down to costs. It’s sad.
Evangeline- I think you may be referring to the touring production of Sweeney Todd that is out now. In it, there is no orchestra, but the whole cast is on stage the whole time and they all play instruments. When they’re not acting a scene they are accompanying whatever is going on musically. it’s a fantastic show and I highly recommend you see it if you get the chance. The ‘orchestration’ is very stripped down and at times almost non-existent, but it works very well and actually makes it easier to hear and understand the singers. The most incredible thing is that for the entire show, which is almost 3 hours long, the whole cast plays their parts from memory!
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