Tuning Up

It’s been a few weeks since my last post and it sure seems like it flew by fast.  Recently, I’ve been playing with VYT and their production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with music by Michael Valenti . A few things about it; I can only dream of someday being as naturally talented as the [child] actors are at this stage in my life and also the production is very nice (I always think a small theater is the best test of companies skills and VYT doesn’t disappoint ).  That being said, what a horrible, horrible, horrible bunch of music.  You’ve probably never heard this version before and I am certainly aware of the possibility of my (and probably everybody’s) bias towards the Disney version which this is not.  Anyway, I don’t have a problem with most of the lyrics and some of the melodies are quite nice, it’s a short show and there are only so many themes and ideas that can be introduced.  The problem is, harmonically and sonically it is so abhorrently…generic.

You want harmonic cliches?

It’s got ‘em.

How about a overused chromatic “incidental music?”

It’s got you covered.

Surely there couldn’t be a horrible misuse of instrumentation though?

Well, when the harp is a more necessary instrument than the bass (oh wait, it can be a cello if you want) AND you have a full part for an electric guitar, you’ve got problems.

Again, I think VYT does a great job, the kids are supremely talented and it’s a great story, funny too.  I just know that as a musician, things don’t have to be challenging to be interesting, they just have to be appropriate and fit the needs of the story. The music here seems so forced and hastily written, which is evidenced by whole numbers in my book being written in completely incorrect keys, missing rests to go with a general heap of copyist slop on every page.

Perhaps the orchestra’s part is wonderful, we all just couldn’t read what was written.  Oh well…still had fun.

Also, this weekend is the Strongman Beerfest and I’ve been working really hard with The Lone Sum guys to get a show together for the festival.  Today we had a great rehearsal and I’m really looking forward to playing! It’s a really awesome feeling once you are past the rehearsing stage of any project and you can just start performing.  In the deepest darkest parts of preparation I always seem to forget that feeling of joy I get when I’m playing something that’s good and I’m comfortable with.  Anyway, I will definitely have a recap of that show coming up in the near future.  Oh, and it looks like we’ll also be playing April 26th at the Record Room on Scottsdale Rd. in Old Town.  But let me confirm that in the next couple of days.

Well take care everybody keep checking in and I hope to get some more “stuff” added to the site in the near future!

 

-Alex Mack
Theatre Critic (of this site)

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