Comscore

Which WSS recording is best to use?

Phantom4ever
Leading Actor
joined:9/17/07
Which WSS recording is best to use?
Posted: 9/11/13 at 06:53am
I am directing WSS at the high school where I teach. The producer (music teacher) threw a big fit yesterday because our choreographer was using the 1957 OBCR as he taught the students the Dance at the Gym. He said we had to use the 1985 Bernstein recording because the 1985 recording is what is the closest to the sheet music provided to us by MTI, NOT the 1957 version.

Does anyone have any insight to this? I played piano through my formative years, but my ability to read sheet music has waned. The choreographer planned and taught the entire song (and the Prologue) to the cast using the 1957 CD. Then the producer realized it and said how the 1985 CD has about 30 extra measure of music that our orchestra will be playing. However, when the cast danced to the 1957 CD and then to the 1985 CD, there was no difference, and the kids, of course, all start whispering to each other and to me about what all the fuss was about, and everybody kind of agreed to just let the producer have his diva moment and let him think he was right.

Does anybody think the producer is onto something---that the 1985 CD is closer to the MTI-provided sheet music than the OBCR?
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jv92
Broadway Legend
joined:11/4/05
Which WSS recording is best to use?
Posted: 9/11/13 at 11:07am
I HATE the Bernstein conducted recording. It is a typical example of Bernstein's post-WSS self-indulgence. The spontaneity and joy that one gets from the original cast and their performance on the OBCR is completely lost by the slow as a molasses tempi, and the unbelievably bad attempts of the leading singers to play Tony, Maria, et al.

BUT, your producer is right. The dance music is abridged on the OBCR, simply because LPs didn't have enough time to contain all of that dance music PLUS the songs, too. And when Bernstein reedited the score, he probably put in his slow-ass tempi marks in place of the originals. However, doesn't MTI usually supply a "rehearsal track" recording with all of the music in the piano score to most productions? Why wouldn't you use that? (Or maybe it doesn't apply to WEST SIDE STORY.)


Updated On: 9/11/13 at 11:07 AM
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darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Which WSS recording is best to use?
Posted: 9/11/13 at 11:59am
MTI currently sends RehearScores, which are honestly next to useless. They're MIDI tracks of the show, with all the faulty/weird programming that has made MIDI pretty much useless. They're not even as well arranged as Finale or Sibelius tracks.

I did Beauty and the Beast while rehearsing with a RehearScore. Bad experience and my theatre never messed around with those again.
Phantom4ever
Leading Actor
joined:9/17/07
Which WSS recording is best to use?
Posted: 9/11/13 at 12:37pm
I may have to concede defeat here. I listened again to the 1985 Bernstein CD, and that has the beginning music of the Gym Dance, with Maria twirling out of the Bridal Shop and the full cast dancing before Glad Hand breaks them up. None of that is on the OBCR. The OBCR goes straight from Something's Coming, skips the scene change/Maria turning music, and goes straight into the music when Glad Hand puts the kids in a circle. Oh well.
CATSNYrevival
Broadway Legend
joined:3/1/04
Which WSS recording is best to use?
Posted: 9/11/13 at 12:58pm
What about the 1992 Jay Records double disc recording? Doesn't that have all of the dance music?
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Mister Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Which WSS recording is best to use?
Posted: 9/11/13 at 12:58pm
Doesn't the 1993 Leicester cast recording have the complete score including the alternate film versions of four songs?
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
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Smaxie
Broadway Legend
joined:9/26/05
Which WSS recording is best to use?
Posted: 9/11/13 at 12:58pm
It's not my favorite rendering of the score and there are some iffy performances, but the 1993 Jay Records recording of the Leicester Haymarket West Side Story is note complete and is at least livelier than the Bernstein studio recording.

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.
Updated On: 9/11/13 at 12:58 PM
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Dollypop
Broadway Legend
joined:5/15/03
Which WSS recording is best to use?
Posted: 9/11/13 at 02:37pm
Why would a choreographer be using a cast album anyhow? Every other choreographer I knew had the rehearsal pianist make a tape of the music that was being used. That way cuts could be placed (if needed) and tempos set.
"Long live God!" (GODSPELL)
CATSNYrevival
Broadway Legend
joined:3/1/04
Which WSS recording is best to use?
Posted: 9/11/13 at 02:56pm
^A lot of budget amateur and regional theatres use cast recordings to stage numbers in the rehearsal room. That's why having a reference recording before a show is made available to license is so important these days.
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MorningGlow2
Chorus Member
joined:8/6/13
Which WSS recording is best to use?
Posted: 9/11/13 at 06:33pm
Funny how I keep bumping in to this topic regarding WSS. Had the exact same conversation 3 times before and yup, 1985 Bernstein version seems to be the one of the most accurate to the score. Not a fan of the casts who sang it - way too operatic - but I think the orchestra sounds fantastic (the trumpets, oh the trumpets!).
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dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Which WSS recording is best to use?
Posted: 9/11/13 at 06:40pm
If the MD wanted a specific version, he should have made that clear BEFORE choreography began. My choreographer often uses the cd to do her preliminary work and work with the kids then she and the MD work together to see what needs fixing..more, less, whatever.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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justoldbill
Broadway Star
joined:10/17/07
Which WSS recording is best to use?
Posted: 9/11/13 at 09:56pm
You don't say if your director plans to use any actual recorded music in the production. If so, I would say the film soundtrack versions of "Blues", "Promenade" and "Jump". Those are the tempos Robbins wanted for his dancers and are not too fast. You may have to do some hunting for a version of the "Mambo/Cha-Cha" sequence without any recorded dialogue involved, but it should be a fun search.

Well-well-well-what-do-you-think-of-that-I-have-nothing-here-to-pay-my-train-fare-with-only-large-bills-fives-and-sevens....
Updated On: 9/11/13 at 09:56 PM
Phantom4ever
Leading Actor
joined:9/17/07
Which WSS recording is best to use?
Posted: 9/11/13 at 10:59pm
We are using a live orchestra. And that brought up another issue. The choreographer played the 1957 CD while the cast learned the dances, and after a while our pianist started playing along using the MTI-provided sheet music. And that's when it all hit the fan because the producer noticed the little differences, but the choreographer did not. Nevertheless, whether we used the 1957 CD, the 1985 CD, or the MTI sheet music, the entire gym sequence (which is a lot of sequences) came out the same in terms of choreography.
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PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
Which WSS recording is best to use?
Posted: 9/12/13 at 12:34am
Try this one--it's the complete score.


Naxos American: West Side Story: The Original Score
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
CATSNYrevival
Broadway Legend
joined:3/1/04
Which WSS recording is best to use?
Posted: 9/12/13 at 01:32am
^I actually really love that recording! Before the revival recording it was the WSS I listened to most often.
Phantom4ever
Leading Actor
joined:9/17/07
Which WSS recording is best to use?
Posted: 9/12/13 at 01:48pm
Tbanks, that one does sound like it fits the bill. : )