On the same night Dorian murders Basil, Lord Henry Wotton hosts a gathering where, as usual, he is the life of the party. His fawning guests spend the evening enthralled by Henry’s celebrated wit, and Henry is unaware of the new depths to which his protégé, Dorian, has sunk.
A momentary hush comes over the crowd when one dissenter steps forward to remind the crowd that Henry is a friend and mentor of the notorious Dorian Gray, but Henry deflects the barb with his customary aplomb and the party continues into the night.
The most up-beat chorus/production number in my original musical, “Dorian-The Remarkable Mister Gray,” “A Most Amusing Man” is unabashedly modeled after the light opera scores of Gilbert and Sullivan. The verse’s rhythm features the trademark 6/8 time signature so characteristic of G&S, with accents on beats 1, 3, 4 and 6.
The middle section, purely rhythmic in the orchestration with no colla voce, is to support two patter song sections for Lord Henry which are patterned after the famous G&S patter songs such as the well known “Modern Major General” from “The Pirates of Penzance.”
The number uses some chord progressions and key changes which digress from and open up the G&S mold into more modern territory. But most audiences should readily recognize the intended homage to England’s most beloved 19th Century writing team.
The scene has many sections of dialogue which are underscored. The music is continuous, flowing from verses, choruses, Henry’s patter-solos, and the simple repeating “vamps” which underscore the short sections of dialogue.
There's also a light minuet section for choreography as well as to underscore more dialogue.
A COMPARISON BETWEEN GPO
AND HARDWARE SYNTHS
Several years ago, I completely finished a recording of “Dorian’s” score using my bank of hardware synths. Then I discovered GPO - I bit the bullet and decided to completely re-record the tracks. I needed them to sound as good as possible since I knew they could be used as the 'virtual orchestra' in early productions of the show - and that's exactly the case when the show is first done in April of 2008.
It took well over a year of re-working the files, expanding the orchestrations, and learning how to use GPO. On top of that work, I also learned more about using computer recording software and mixing music.
To maintain wisps of fantasy in this number, as there are throughout the show, I still used some of my old synths on the new tracks (heard above) but GPO is the primary sound source.
I recorded a complete vocal demo of the show when I only had the old hardware version of the tracks, with me singing all the roles.
Now for the first time, I’m posting one of those original vocal tracks so “A Most Amusing Man” can be heard more as it will be on stage, and also so you can hear what a difference there can be between tracks recorded with traditional synths and those recorded with GPO.
This old track was done entirely with hardware synths like my trusty old Korg X5DR and Yamaha FB-01.
TECHNICAL NOTE: To those with ears sensitive to such things, you’ll hear that these vocals are far too compressed. I applied the compression destructively on the tracks, not knowing what I was doing back then, and using far too high a compression ratio:
The illustration at the top is a contemporary cartoon of Oscar Wilde. The character of Lord Henry was written as a self parody by Wilde, thus the appropriateness of this image.