Overture Recordings Live!

DAME
Broadway Legend
joined:4/15/04
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/7/14 at 08:32pm
I love a good overture. Gone are their days. If anyone has recordings of live overtures.. I would love to hear them. This is a live recording of the Overture of "King And I". This was recorded sometime during the revivals return engagement to the Broadway Theater when Yul Brynner was very ill . The conductor is Milton Rosenstock. Enjoy.






King And I Overture LIVE
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Updated On: 4/8/14 at 08:32 PM
JohnyBroadway
Broadway Star
joined:4/10/12
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/7/14 at 08:43pm
The King and I overture is one of the grandest overtures ever arranged for a RNH show. I love how positioned the orchestra is at audience level. The sound is so fresh compared to the mixed amplified orchestras on Broadway today. When did they start mixing and amplifying the pits?
bwayphreak234
Broadway Legend
joined:7/4/10
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/7/14 at 10:19pm
Amazing! Thank you!
"There’s nothing quite like the power and the passion of Broadway music. "
DAME
Broadway Legend
joined:4/15/04
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/8/14 at 01:17pm
I would like to see more. If anyone has them.. please post them. Sad to see that when a topic does not involve politics or bashing.. there is barely a response.
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EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/8/14 at 01:22pm
Those full R&H overtures are great--with some, like South Pacific, I'm so used to the abridged version on the OBCR that I'm always surprised at how long it is.

Johnny--wasn't Promises Promises the first Broadway musical to use a mixing board to try to replicate Bacharach's studio sound?
DAME
Broadway Legend
joined:4/15/04
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/8/14 at 01:35pm
The sound that comes from a broadway pit is so magical to me.. especially when there are real instruments and musicians involved.
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winston89
Broadway Legend
joined:6/18/06
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/8/14 at 02:38pm
DAME I agree. Furthermore, I feel that since an overture is so rare in musicals I love it when there is one.

However, there is one trend that I have noticed with shows that have an overture (revival or not.) And, that trend is that the house lights are dimmed and then go off all the way only after the overture is over. That bugs me because a majority of the audience doesn't feel that it's part of the show. And, that the show only starts when the houselights are out and the curtain rises. I loved that the Lincoln Center revival of South Pacific made the overture part of the show and even pulled the stage back to show the orchestra playing that amazing overture. That's something that more shows should do.
"If you try to shag my husband while I am still alive, I will shove the art of motorcycle maintenance up your rancid little Cu**. That's a good dear" Tom Stoppard's Rock N Roll
morosco
Broadway Legend
joined:7/10/04
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/8/14 at 02:54pm
Sadly it has become easy for many audience members not to even realize that there are live musicians down there in the pit. Out of sight out of mind. Many orchestras are cramped into pits almost completely covered by stage extensions or the musicians aren't even in the same building as the show. Furthermore some shows are so over amplified that one could only assume the music was prerecorded due to the lousy quality of the sound. They are artists too and it's a shame they don't always get their due. And don't get me started about the number of musicians in the pit nowadays! I didn't see the LuPone GYPSY, with the orchestra onstage in full view was the audience silent during the overture?
artscallion
Broadway Legend
joined:5/15/07
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/8/14 at 02:56pm
I have this boxed set of CDs with just the overtures with original orchestrations from the OCRs. Nothing earth shattering. But some great ones and a fun listen if you like overtures.




OVERTURES
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Updated On: 4/8/14 at 02:56 PM
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/8/14 at 02:58pm
"And, that trend is that the house lights are dimmed and then go off all the way only after the overture is over. "

Isn't this traditionally how it was done? It was in ballet (speaking of the 1890s Russian ballet anyway--) partly, though, so people could see the orchestra better.
SweetLips
Broadway Star
joined:1/23/13
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/8/14 at 03:01pm
Thank you-that was magical.[The King & I is having a revival now touring Australia].Oh for an overture to set the mood. How annoying when so many use that musical beginning to settle themselves, TALK, and generally disregard that it is there for a purpose.
givesmevoice
Broadway Legend
joined:12/2/07
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/8/14 at 04:35pm
If we don't listen to the overture, we won't recognize the musical themes when they come back later.
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EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/8/14 at 04:45pm
To be fair, in a lot of theatre the overture traditionally was used just for that--to get the audience to settle down in their seats *during* it and so they would be already "halfway there" mentally when the show curtain rises. That's one reason of course overtures often have such thrilling endings but also beginnings--to get people to rush to finish what they were doing, put down their programs (or I guess nowadays cell phones, booze and KFC *sigh*) etc.
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/8/14 at 04:46pm
Which is also a reason some classic overtures in the 20s-40s were 6 or even more minutes long.

(Speaking of--I *adore* the original 1927 Show Boat overture which was much less of a medley than the one RRB did for the '26 revival which I believe is more often used.)
SweetLips
Broadway Star
joined:1/23/13
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/8/14 at 05:07pm
Eric-Understand, but what a waste of music and the arrangers' talent-that could almost be like 'elevator music'--it's there but it's not.
DAME
Broadway Legend
joined:4/15/04
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/8/14 at 05:08pm
Eric.. you are right. But for me they also served a purpose of building momentum, creating excitement for what your about to see....
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EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/8/14 at 06:33pm
Oh I absolutely agree--I suppose I was partly playing devil's advocate. I will add that when I was a kid and teen, it drove me crazy when people wouldn't give their full attention to overtures--I guess I've just kinda sadly accepted it now. I do think they still serve a purpose too, aside from good music--often musicals (or plays--which way back often had overtures too) tat just start seem to take a few minutes, even with a big production number, for the audience to settle down.
forgetmenotnyc
Stand-by
joined:1/29/09
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/8/14 at 08:03pm
I like them but rarely feel that the conductors are invested/intense enough to get an exciting performance out of their charges.
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/8/14 at 08:15pm
Dame,

Thank you for posting this.

Yes, listening to an overture in the theatre was/is such a thrill. The sense of discovering something wonderful and new, to hear something beautiful for the first time: it's matchless. Certainly, the rapture I felt hearing the overture to Dear World for the first time was one of the highlights of my theatregoing experience.

As for not paying attention during the overture, well, those who do do so at their own peril. One could miss hearing a song one wouldn't hear again in the show. Wildcat, for example, cut out the title song in the course if its run, but it remained in the overture.

Another point that might merit a thread if its own, are songs that actually sound better in the overture than when sung in the show. One that immediately comes to mind is Bonjour (The Language Song) from The Unsinkable Molly Brown, a cute enough song in the show, but a rip-roaring crowd-pleaser as the climax to the overture.

The moral? Pay attention to the overture!
DAME
Broadway Legend
joined:4/15/04
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/8/14 at 08:53pm
It was also such a privilege to have such a full orchestra play those overtures. Also love when the house goes dark and the light goes on the conductor. When that little second right before it starts is thoughtfully staged yet truthful. I wish the people who so generously post these snippets on these sites would think of not editing out the very beginning and the end applause after the overture..



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Updated On: 4/8/14 at 08:53 PM
allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/10/14 at 05:58pm
Any overture for a Rogers and Hart show written by Hans Spialek rivals any overture written since. Especially "On Your Toes." Listen to the amazing 1982 revival (supervised by ALL three 1936 creators Abbott, Balanchine and Spialek, collectively three over 200 years in the theatre!) and you'll be instantly swept back to 1936. You can practically hear the depression just outside the door and, in the last movement from "Slaughter on 10th Avenue" if your heart doesn't soar, go buy yourself a coffin.....
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DottieD'Luscia
Broadway Legend
joined:7/23/03
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/10/14 at 08:49pm
As many times as I saw the '96 revival, I don't remember if that production had an overture. There certainly isn't one on the cast recording.
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ljay889
Broadway Legend
joined:8/4/04
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/10/14 at 08:56pm
Simply one of the best overtures of all time. I cannot wait to experience it at the Beaumont.
#sadandtransparent
HorseTears
Broadway Legend
joined:3/25/05
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/13/14 at 01:20pm
Love that you started this thread, DAME. Not only for the appreciation of great overtures, but for great orchestral performances on Broadway in general. The thrill of hearing a great Broadway score performed by a live orchestra of musical pros is one of the most thrilling elements of a "big" Broadway experience for me. I'm always puzzled (and a bit saddened) that in the average professional review of a new Broadway production you hardly read anything about the "sound" of the show. Even most of the BWW user reviews in the Previews threads fail to mention the orchestra.

I'm afraid I don't have any videos to share, but I have to say one of the most pleasant experiences I had on my recent trip to NY was at CHICAGO. A show I had no desire to see again, but after a business dinner got canceled at the last minute, I suddenly had a full evening free and decided to see what cheap last minute tickets I could snatch. I ended up at CHICAGO and while many of the actors were phoning it in, I was shocked at how electrifying the CHICAGO orchestra sounded. They were playing that score -- from the overture on -- with such red hot intensity and the conductor (forget her name, woman, short hair, had a newscastery vibe) conducted with such verve. It was a joy to hear that band play with such commitment -- truly giving John Kander's music the best possible treatment. In fact, with all due respect to the original 1996 revival band, the band I saw playing in late 2013 outshone them in every respect. They were almost as good as the onstage band at After Midnight.
DAME
Broadway Legend
joined:4/15/04
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/13/14 at 01:35pm
Horsetears; Another great Kander and Ebb overture is from "Woman Of The Year". Beautifully done and really sets up the feel of a star vehicle. There used to be a live recording of it on YT. But I can't seem to find it. If you've never heard it you should look it up.

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Updated On: 4/13/14 at 01:35 PM
HorseTears
Broadway Legend
joined:3/25/05
Overture Recordings Live!
Posted: 4/13/14 at 01:40pm
Funnily enough, that's the one Kander & Ebb score I've never heard. I will look it up, thanks.

I'm sure we've all seen this, but hell, it's worth reliving: The prologue/Beautiful Girls from the most recent revival of FOLLIES: