• Register
  • Help
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 19

Topic: Music from "Pope Joan"

  1. #1

    Music from "Pope Joan"

    Whitney Avalon

    is Joan in
    "Pope Joan"

    World Premiere of a musical by Christopher Moore
    Opening Jan. 16th
    The Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood, CA

    EDIT: 8/14/09 - Due to contractual considerations, the MP3s originally on this post have to be removed, at least for the time being.

    A big project of mine in 2008 was to arrange the music for Christopher Moore's stage musical, "Pope Joan."

    The show plays January 16th through March 22nd at The Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood, CA.

    The show's producer is Michael Butler, of "HAIR" fame, the impresario who also handles my show, "Dorian-The Remarkable Mister Gray."

    The musical is based on a Medieval legend that one of the Popes was actually a woman.



    I hope those of you in the L.A. area can go see the show. If you do, introduce yourselves to Michael Butler!

    As I developed the arrangements in Sibelius, I provided the show's staff MP3 demos. I'm posting a section of the show which comprises of three pieces; "The Englishman's Daughter" parts one, two and three.

    A big challenge was to arrange Christopher's score for a small band. In the MP3s, I had to present an approximation of what this small band could sound like in performance.

    The band's line up is:

    Clarinet (switching off to Sax and Recorder)
    French Horn
    Keyboard One (switching between Piano and many other instruments)
    Keyboard Two (switching between Harp and many other instruments)
    Electric Bass
    Drums (and percussion)

    In the course of the project, we added an Acoustic Guitar, played on stage by a member of the acting ensemble.

    In the demos you'll hear how I needed to arrange strings for a single keyboardist, limiting what could otherwise be done.

    I produced the demos primarily with Garritan Libraries - GPO and JABB.

    The Englishman's Daughter (all 3 parts)
    (click for MP3)

    And for those curious, here are links to PDFs of the final scores.




    All materials are copyright 2008 by Christopher Moore.

    This project was a baptism of fire for me - my first time to use Sibelius!

    Randy B.

  2. #2

    Re: Music from "Pope Joan"

    Fascinating! Popette Joan?

    Your rendering is just delightful, Brother Bowser. Muchly enjoyed. The medieval motif is certainly evident in your interpretation. Good job!

    My Best,
    Larry G. Alexander

  3. #3

    Re: Music from "Pope Joan"

    Hey, thank you much, Mr. Larry! It was a fun project. Unusual experience for me to be arranging someone else's music. Much of what you hear is directly due to Mr. Christopher Moore's original composing work. I expanded on it a bit, found harmonies, textures within a limited palette, etc.

    Glad you liked!

    Randy B.

  4. #4

    Re: Music from "Pope Joan"


    I am both excited for you and a little bit envious<G>!

    For reasons I don't completely understand yet my favorite creative activities all seem to center on live theatre, whether it is playing in the pit, designing lighting or sound, or, writing music. Can't even say which is my favorite, I enjoy them all.

    I had the opportunity several years ago to write original scores for Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Tempest", and it was a thrill! The first was just guitar and violin, the second was guitar, cello, and flute. There is a certain challenge to writing for really small ensembles.

    Sadly I never got the chance to record the performances, and somehow I never had the heart to try to render them, but you have inspired me, and I think I will take a shot at rendering them using GPO. (I did do crude mockups using Finale and GPO when we did the shows, but they really are not suitable for public listening, I did nothing to create dynamics or even make rhythm interesting, it's just straight out of Finale, didn't even use Human Playback!)

    Anyway, it sounds like a fascinating project, and I wish I was not on the other side of the country, but perhaps the show will make it's way east???

    And isn't it funny how a project like this makes it so much easier to really learn the tools? I no longer remember what project forced me to become competent with Finale, but I remember I had toyed with if for almost a year and gotten very little out of it, and then all of the sudden I had to do some real work, and almost as if by magic I learned how to get my work done!

    Congrats again!!

    Bill Thompson
    Audio Enterprise

  5. #5

    Re: Music from "Pope Joan"

    Listening to it while a put the keyboard up so I can clean the studio.

    Forget that, I'll just get another beer and enjoy the music................
    Producer ~ Sound Engineer ~ Musician


  6. #6
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Shelton, Washington State

    Re: Music from "Pope Joan"

    It sounds much like early renaissance until the last part and then you really toss things in there.

    Very professional work!


  7. #7

    Re: Music from "Pope Joan"

    A superb job on the arrangement in this, Randy; and
    the rendering, likewise. My particular compliments on
    getting considerable mileage out of a minimum of
    ensemble resources, my friend... the tail end of this
    really hits the atmospherics.

    You surely have been keeping busy -- and my further
    congratulations on landing "Joan"!

    Always my best,

    David Sosnowski

  8. #8

    Re: Music from "Pope Joan"


    you did a great job in this arrangement. i'm not sure what the original instrumentation called for, but i love what you did with it.

    i would have to say that the bass is my favorite part (maybe its because i'm a bass player). it keep a perfect rhythm and was still able to dance around a little. often times the bass gets carried away, but it was able to say a lot without playing too much. it was also at the perfect volume allowing it to give the piece the"oomph" that it required without overpowering anything else.

    it was cool how you kept the medieval feel with some completely un-medieval instruments. i was also reminded of some pat metheny near the end with the lovely strings. then the part near the end made me think of marty mcfly (calvin klein) rocking out at the dance in the first back to the future - where everyone was just stairing at him confused. only i replaced the guitar with a piano and marty with the pope.

    great job, and stop stealing all the work from everyone else!!!
    -Keith Fuller

    iMac Quad i7 * MacBook Pro * Logic Studio 9 * WD 320GB & 1TB Externals@7,200RPM * Presonus Firebox * M-Audio Axiom 25 & Keystation 61 * Rode NT1-A * Epiphone Hollowbody * Fender Amp * KRK Rokit 8's

  9. #9

    Re: Music from "Pope Joan"


    Nice job. I was feeling rather depressed when I began listening to this. By the end of it, I could feel myself coming out of it a bit.

    Thanks for cheering me up and congratulations.

    By the way, how did you like Sibelius 5? I use it almost exclusively for all of my work. It think it is very easy and productive to use. You obviously catch on quick! :-)

    Good job my friend. Keep the musicals coming.


    By the way, how did Dorian fair? I have been away for a while.
    For more information, check out www.jonathoncox.com/intro.html

    "The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music they should be taught to love it instead." - Igor Stravinsky

  10. #10

    Re: Music from "Pope Joan"

    Hi, Bill - Thanks much for your reply! I want to interject some replies to your reply:

    Quote Originally Posted by wst3ae View Post
    ...For reasons I don't completely understand yet my favorite creative activities all seem to center on live theatre...
    Very cool! Considering that theatre has been my main activity for 40 years, from my prejudiced viewpoint, I would say that the reason your favorite activities center on live theatre is because it's the greatest and highest art form! I really believe that.

    Theatre is a multi-media marriage of all art forms. Musical theatre especially can be so exhilarating because it adds music and dance to the list of art forms it shares with "straight" (non-musical) theatre--painting, sculpture, lighting design, costume design, and acting. Performing for the entertainment of our fellow creatures is a primal, vital activity, an older instinct than playing music for each other. To be involved in any aspect of theatre production can be extremely fulfilling.

    So says I!

    Quote Originally Posted by wst3ae View Post
    ...I had the opportunity several years ago to write original scores for Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Tempest"...Sadly I never got the chance to record the performances...I think I will take a shot at rendering them using GPO...
    Excellent! I heartily encourage you to do that. Working with GPO and the other Garritan Libraries can be such an inspiring experience. Dig in, and re-discover your own work.
    Quote Originally Posted by wst3ae View Post
    ...Anyway, it sounds like a fascinating project, and I wish I was not on the other side of the country, but perhaps the show will make it's way east???...
    I am sure Michael Butler, the producer, would like very much for the show to be done in the east. As always with his projects, he's starting in a small theatre there in his home town of Hollywood--ok, he actually lives in Beverly Hills - and will gradually increase the venue size for the production if he can sustain enough audience interest to fill the seats. If the show gets big enough, then a publisher would be interested, and Michael could produce it Off-Broadway--and etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by wst3ae View Post
    ...isn't it funny how a project like this makes it so much easier to really learn the tools?...
    Yes indeed. Necessity being the mother of invention is part of that. I really didn't have all that much interest in immersing myself in Sibelius or any other notation program--I'd tried briefly to use Overture and found it such a bore. It's just too theoretical for me - I can't make the process of working with dots on a screen, or paper, be very inspiring to me. I have to sit down and play my keyboard, then dig into editing, always with the aural results being my only concern, regardless of how what I come up with would be notated.

    But for "Joan," I was hired to produce sheet music for the singers and the band. I Had to work in a way contrary to my preference. I had my share of agonizing times during the first week or two. I was concerned about being able to meet the deadline. But then I settled in, learned a few more things about Sib, and it all worked out fine.

    I worked from piano/vocal scores which the composer, Christopher Moore, had developed very well. I didn't change his melodies at all, nor his song structure, nor his chord progressions. I stuck with what he'd written and merely put some icing on his already well-baked cake.

    Thanks again for the fun reply, Bill.

    Randy B.

Go Back to forum
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts