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Topic: "DORIAN'S DILEMMA" - (the picture changes)

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  1. #1

    "DORIAN'S DILEMMA" - (the picture changes)



    Here's the moment audiences of my musical "Dorian-The Remarkable Mr. Gray" will be waiting for: The first time the picture changes.



    Dorian has cruelly rejected Sibyl Vane. After an agitated trip back home, he sees that his portrait seems to look different. The eyes are colder, with brows arched menacingly above them, and the mouth seems to smirk with a mocking sneer. Dorian stays up the rest of the night trying to figure out if he's hallucinating or if the picture has really changed. As the sun rises, he has decided that it was his guilty conscience which made him imagine the picture's cold expression, and that he must go back to Sibyl and beg her forgiveness.

    I've put together two of the show's numbers for this posting:

    --First is a short 50 second bitonal (it's in two different keys simultaneously) reprise of "Prelude" which is Dorian's nightmarish trip back home. Vagrants, whores and criminals come at Dorian from all directions.

    --At 0:50 starts "Dorian's Dilemma" which is a non-melodic inner-monologue/soliloquy as Dorian grapples with the meaning of his apparently changing portrait. First is underscoring for revealing the changed painting, then a brief reprise of the prayer Dorian uttered when he first saw the painting completed. He had wished that he would always look the same while the painting aged instead.

    --At 2:43 is a reprise of the masquerade waltz while there's a brief spoken section in the scene.

    --At 3:50 is a semi-operatic section which becomes a major recurring motif throughout the show.

    --At 4:30 is a quiet passage, a short song on its own, which is Dorian reverting to a child-like state. He shows signs of cracking up under the strain of events.

    --The last 30 seconds is his triumphant moment of believing the picture hasn't changed and that he can set everything right by apologizing to Sibyl and asking her to marry him. The final dramatic chords underscore the painting being covered up.

    As with the entire "Dorian" sound track, GPO provides the full orchestra plus piano. Also as usual, the recording is augmented with various soft synths, a CZ-1000, and the Korg X5DR hardware module. "Real Guiar" is also used. The music was recorded in Sonar Home Studio and mastered in Sound Forge.

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)

  2. #2

    Re: "DORIAN'S DILEMMA" - (the picture changes)

    Terrific work as usual, Randy!

    I'm curious about something regarding the creation of your arrangements.. The music is filled with continual changing moods. I can only assume the script/vocals, acting/gestures, and all aspects of timing are completed and locked, and the scores you create are based on this live performance?

    Or are the compositions made prior, with these aspects in mind?

    Curious about the entire process.

    Quite fascinating!... (and incredibly time consuming)

    Excellent!

    ~Jeff

  3. #3

    Re: "DORIAN'S DILEMMA" - (the picture changes)

    How always, everything arranges so alive, marvelously good!

    Randy, what shall I say...., smile. It is greaaaaat!

    Best whishes!

    Gunther
    "Music is the shorthand of emotion." Leo Tolstoy

    Listen to me, tuning my triangle http://www.box.net/shared/ae822u6r3i

  4. #4
    Senior Member sosmus's Avatar
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    Re: "DORIAN'S DILEMMA" - (the picture changes)

    Randy:
    What a masterful work! My first inpressions were that I was somewhere between Cabaret and Petrushka but this goes much further than either of those.
    I was also slightly taken aback at the first strings entrance but you quickly had me adjusted to the new nuances.
    I listened first, then read your notes and then listened again. I am not a romantic when it comes to programmatic music but even before I read your notes I could envision what was happening in the story. Your notes just reaffirmed my impressions.
    I truly hope to someday be able to find those sounds you create so that I can use them in my arrangements.

    Steve

  5. #5

    Re: "DORIAN'S DILEMMA" - (the picture changes)

    FUN FUN FUN
    I haven't been in Salem for over 15 years and if I wasn't a poor college student I would be trying to figure out a way to get back for the opening.


    Quote Originally Posted by jsp2
    Terrific work as usual, Randy!

    I'm curious about something regarding the creation of your arrangements.. The music is filled with continual changing moods. I can only assume the script/vocals, acting/gestures, and all aspects of timing are completed and locked, and the scores you create are based on this live performance?

    Or are the compositions made prior, with these aspects in mind?

    Curious about the entire process.

    Ditto

    My muse likes to drink too much upon occasion, so I get to compose at the oddest times (Usually when I am supposed to be studying for a test). Just a quick explanation of your process would be neat.
    Thanks for sharing this!
    Ron

  6. #6

    Re: "DORIAN'S DILEMMA" - (the picture changes)

    Hello to all on this thread - Thanks for listening, and for your warm responses! Bows to Jeff, Gunther, Steve and Ron.

    Jeff asked something I'd like to attempt a reply to:

    "...I can only assume the script/vocals, acting/gestures, and all aspects of timing are completed and locked, and the scores you create are based on this live performance?

    Or are the compositions made prior, with these aspects in mind?..."


    Choice B would be the correct answer. The premiere production of the show is coming up in April of 2008. There is no cast for me to have worked staging out with yet. So how could the music be based on a non-existent performance?

    But the script and vocal score certainly exist. They are the results of several years of relentless fine-tuning. Much of what is written for the singers is intended to be performed as scored, the syncopation and strong rhythms being critical to sing accurately. Throughout, though, there are opportunities for some personal interpretations in phrasing.

    I posted PDFs of vocal scores for a couple of these "Dorian" numbers, but I didn't do that this time - I don't know how helpful they were. Theoretically yes, since there is an entire layer of this music not being heard here - But I don't think those PDFs were being used - it's too clumsy, trying to follow along, juggling with the MP3 player etc. You would see, though, that "Dilemma" for instance, is like the soliloquies in non-musical plays, only it's set to music - the actor sings his words instead of speaking them. Like much of the show, it doesn't add up to a "song" per se.

    I think your question implies that you perhaps think that details of an actor/singer's performance are formulated and dictated by the writer and/or director. But that's not the case at all. There are certainly critical pieces of "business" indicated in the script - things which Have to be done, but the exciting thing about theatre is that the actors, the human beings cast in a show, must be given encouragement and freedom to create their performances - using the raw material of their own personalities and understanding of human psychology. This is under the guidance, but not the dictatorship and puppeteering of a director.

    Acting isn't like Dance, which can involve extremely precise choreography. And unlike musicians who are expected to fulfill the explicit instructions of a score, Actors are truly creative artists and not just interpretive ones.

    One major reason Theatre is my first love is exactly because of the way wildly different performances of the same role or of entire pieces can be equally legitimate. Find that much variance in the performance of known musical works, and purists freak out with outrage! "THAT's not the way it should go!" - But in theatre, there IS no "right way - wrong way" - each production of a show, each performance of a character is built from the ground up and to be authentic, isn't imitative of previous productions. - Woe to all the ladies nationwide in community theatres attempting to be Liza Minnelli in "Cabaret" when they should be creating their own unique Sally Bowles.

    I'll add - the above is the ideal scenario. There Are indeed directors who think that their job is to choreograph ever twitch of an actor's eyebrow - shudder - And there are actors who let themselves be treated like marionettes - an equal shudder.

    The score and libretto for "Dorian" call for very specific mood shifts, often in a very intricate ever-changing way within one scene, but precisely How those transitions are performed is an unknown thing right now - each moment will be unique, depending on who is in the show, and how well they apply themselves to the collaborative art of theatre.

    !! - Class dismissed--(for now)

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)

  7. #7
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    Re: "DORIAN'S DILEMMA" - (the picture changes)

    Randy,

    Fascinating process, creating a musical, writing, composing. scoring, working out the execution details. It is very interesting listening to the music as you have provided the descriptions for and imaging the outcome of the live performance. The music is really charming, a hurculean effort to say the least. I would like to be there on opening night too!

    Gary

    www.garybricault.com

  8. #8

    Re: "DORIAN'S DILEMMA" - (the picture changes)

    It's superb as always Randy ... accomplished, emotive, constantly suprising and delighting. As you say, it's hard for us to imagine how it will sound with vocals, let alone with characters in action too. But if the accompaniment is that good on its own, with other things happening at the same time it'll be an absolute feast.

    One question occurred to me as I was listening. With all these many changes in mood -- which are great to listen to -- are there also any extended songs with memorable melodies? You know, something you can hum on the bus on the way to work?
    Vista / Sonar Home Studio 6 / GPO 2d edition / Melodyne Uno 1.8

  9. #9

    Re: "DORIAN'S DILEMMA" - (the picture changes)

    Though it's a bit like sharing video without its sound track, just the opposite actually, since I'm sharing music meant to accompany visuals and vocalists - I keep enjoying this serialized sharing of "Dorian" online with you, the Garritan gang, even though the context of each piece can be unclear.

    GaryBric, you said, "...I would like to be there on opening night too!..." Well then, get your travel schedule set! C'mon down, we'll be meeting at Bentley's, the best joint in town, at our swankiest hotel here in Salem, tipping glasses of spirits of choice before the show - we'll save you a seat!

    And Diligamus, you're another excellent audience member - Thanks so much for your golden reply. And you asked:

    "...One question occurred to me as I was listening. With all these many changes in mood -- which are great to listen to -- are there also any extended songs with memorable melodies? You know, something you can hum on the bus on the way to work?..."

    AH yes. I've quoted this before, but let me mangle the story again - Upon hearing the score for one of Sondheim's early trend-setting musicals, I think it might have been Leonard Bernstein who said, "Well, your audience certainly won't be humming Those tunes as they leave the theatre," to which Sondheim said, "I certainly hope not!" The voice of The Modern Musical was shooting off a cannon heard 'round the musical theatre world.

    It's an interesting history, the way musicals have gravitated away from consisting of a series of hummable tunes. Some shows manage to have virtually no "Take Out" songs, as I affectionately call them. But in the Broadway formula, most shows still manage to have one or two songs that stand on their own.

    I've often said that the arena where I see "Dorian" being most successful is in light opera companies, university theatres, various regional theatres- and Not The Great White Way in New York. Still, as I've also said before, I probably wouldn't turn the offer down if a group of producers Did want to produce the show on Broadway. But I purposely chose to not abide by the Broadway rules when I put the show together. I was/am interested in a piece for theatre which is performed to music. I think of it as impressionist, with the music as mercurial and dynamically in constant flux (as has been noted on the "Dorian" threads here) as the agitated characters which the music illustrates.

    BUT I can still say the show also has "hummable" tunes. There are parts of extended scenes which have repeated sections which could stick in the head. But besides those, there are definitely three songs which I think are genuine "Take Out Songs."

    Here's one which I've previously posted in two versions here in The Listening Room--the instrumental, and another vocal-demo version--and here's the link to that:


    NOTE: I do the singing on that demo which I recorded just for the Garritan Forums. I'm no more than adequate as a singer - Picture a young Mandy Potemkin singing it - that's more the ticket. It's Dorian's first big moment in the show - a moment of sharing with the audience how and why he's discontent with his life. From the times when I've played the show for invited groups, this is one of the consistent favorite musical moments in the show. The song is reprised in a different context in Act Two.

    This next song is more complex, but there are sections which are repeated throughout the show as main motifs. I think those stick in the head. This ISn't one of three songs mentioned - but I have it here because this demo was previously heard in The Listening Room also. It's performed by a singer I collaborated with online, Mark Petruzzi:


    One of those Big Three "take out songs" is the love song Dorian and Lily sing in Act Two. Several months ago I posted my first project using The Strad, which Gary Garritan gave to me as the first recipient of the "Best Listener" prize. This is a slightly abbreviated version of the song, and there are no vocals on it, the violin is playing an adaptation of the melody line. This is the newest song in the show, and based on reactions so far, it may even have modern pop-ballad chart climbing potential. (smiley)


    The third song I'm referring to hasn't been heard here yet. It's in Act Two, and I'm posting the numbers from the show in their order of appearance. But it's Completely different from these - more in the area of Jacques Brel, in case you know who that is. Amongst the actors I know in town, it's the song they're fighting over the most to sing. You'll have to stay tuned to hear that one!

    Thank you all - To get some good doses of encouragement during this sometimes difficult period of preparing for production is Much appreciated!

    Randy B.

  10. #10

    Re: "DORIAN'S DILEMMA" - (the picture changes)

    Heh heh heh ... okay, okay, sorry to impose my plebian outlook on your project! BTW I got that shivers up the spine feeling when We Can Step Into Forever started. Must be a good sign.
    Vista / Sonar Home Studio 6 / GPO 2d edition / Melodyne Uno 1.8

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