Orchestration Questions
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Author:  rplunk2853 [ Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Orchestration Questions

Also just one more interesting thing! On the OFC, the beginning of Castle on a Cloud began with Recorders as opposed to Flute and Clarinet. In the orchestral score itself, it says for the Flute to play "very simple/quasi-recorder". The Keyboard 1 Part even has a Recorder patch (U17) for much of the song. Yet few of the recordings actually emulate the original recorder sound (which was included in the 2012 film version of the song). On the Polish recording in 2010, however, the recorders have been reinstated, at least for the beginning of the song. Another note on the orchestration of the song is the K2 Part that sometimes plays colla voce under "I love you very much." In certain recordings (Danish?, OBC, Polish (2010)), the colla voce K2 part has been eliminated.

Author:  Gargamel [ Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Orchestration Questions

alan850627 wrote:
I don't really know about the OFC, so I don't know if there're different revisions of this orchestration...

There is I think two versions of it : The OFC album and the actual stage show.
The two are very similar, but some changes occur here an there. i never took the time to check that further.

rplunk2853 wrote:
Also just one more interesting thing! On the OFC, the beginning of Castle on a Cloud began with Recorders as opposed to Flute and Clarinet.

The recording of the soundboard of the actual show is not very good, but I think there is no recorder at the begining of that song, opposed to the album.
In the artist listing for the show, there is no recorder listed, only a flute. Jo Hrasko played "Sax, flute and clarinet" and Daniel Py played "Oboe and english horn"
But as recorders are also called flutes in French, this may be confusing.
(flute is flûte in french, and recorder is flûte à bec...)

But anyway, as there is only one musician listed to play flute, it is impossible that two recorders played the part as it is in the OFC. It was probably played by a flute and an oboe. Then this was probably used as a base for the Barbican version.

In the Cast recording of the 25th anniversary, it seems that this part sounds like recorders, but those recorders sound strange to me. Any ideas ?

I really love those recordings at the begining of "Mon prince est en chemin déjà" in the OFC!

(and I learned a new word : recording !)

Author:  alan850627 [ Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Orchestration Questions

Gargamel wrote:
In the Cast recording of the 25th anniversary, it seems that this part sounds like recorders, but those recorders sound strange to me. Any ideas ?

Haha, they probably ARE recorders, in fact, the 25th anniversary orchestration for Reeds are as follows:


by sounding strange, it's probably because we don't usually hear Alto/Tenor recorders; the most common ones are Soprano Recorders.

Author:  rplunk2853 [ Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Orchestration Questions

My mistake! The original CONCEPT album had the recorders, whereas the stage show (1980) definitely had a Flute and Oboe, later changed to Flute and Clarinet for English adaptation. I just love how the recorders sound.

Author:  Quique [ Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Orchestration Questions

I like the recorders, too, but not so much the actual recorders used in the new concoction. I dislike the way they bring to mind traditional indigenous music. Nothing against it but it doesn't fit in the moment, but that's just me. And as always, I don't at all think anyone dumb or silly for thinking it's fabulous. In fact, I wish I could like it and it often seems very silly of me that I don't. But I just don't. AHHH! :S

Yes! There is a "Recorder" keyboard patch that is mixed along with the flute for the intro to "Castle On a Cloud" in John Cameron's orchestration. Now THAT recorder, I LOVE! XD Yes! Even more than the authentic recorder used in the 25th ann. whatchamacall-it. :D

I love it because of how the synthetic nature of the sound itself creates a result that evokes distinct moods and serve the purpose of the moment. We all know that the "simple melody that a little girl can sing to" thing was Claude-Michel's idea and John Cameron very nicely supplements that. That keyboard patch amps the sound of the flute playing along with harmony and a texture that evokes the feeling of something very quaint, very innocent, with a touch of hollowness like what you'd get from a toy instrument and somehow ghostly with the way the textures fuse into that sound.

Fantine has just died and we are about to be told by this innocent how she has had an encounter with a "lady all in white" who holds her and "sings a luluby." We are never told how Cosette sees this apparition that clearly is Fantine in her deathbed gown but I've always assumed it was in a dream. I know, for me at least, that blend of sounds played some role in how that scene and its subtext has always played out to me.

Thankfully, I'm not delusional and don't go around thinking John Cameron planned everything I get from this musical intentionally and I understand it's probably too subtle to have been intentional anyway. He likely just meant to create a serviceable companion to Claude-Michel's music but his work on the OFC album (Yes, John Cameron orchestrated the OFC album and stage production, too, so the era of John Cameron as orchestrator doesn't begin with the English adaptation but has its origins all the way back to the original French production) proves to me that he is both incredibly intuitive and emotionally intelligent for how moving his work is on that first Les Mis. What his work helps evoke in us can only end up aiding in the storytelling when we feel a connection to the characters that vividly through the music, not just the text. That's part of the reason I adore his work; it has given me and my experiences with the show so much.

I don't believe that to be great and talented you have to be aware of everything your creation will produce in people. The possibility it wasn't consciously plotted out to affect us in the way that it does, does nothing to lessen his artistry to me because nobody laid out a rule that says great art can't arise from an intuitive force. A great artist is often unaware of the greatness of what he/she has created and the acclaim and countless interpretations that follow aren't accidents, but a result of that perceptiveness within causing an agreeable and interconnected chain reaction. Perceptiveness, intuition, emotional intelligence, sensitivity are just as powerful to me as someone with a great brain who carefully plots out all his work's effects on people but the "innocence" of an artist who does not consciously plan it all out but ends up producing something remarkably effective comes with a truth that I can't deny and can't keep from infusing and coloring a work in compelling ways. There's nothing like an artist that approaches his work with a sense of innocent wonder, and when it creates wonders, it's somehow more wonderful.

I've posted an audio sample over at my SoundCloud to illustrate what I've discussed above. You'll find a description of each of the three consecutive sounds below:

The first in a series of three sounds is that of a solo flute (an authentic orchestral one, that is) playing a short snippet of the "Castle On a Cloud" melody.

The sound that follows is that of the "Recorder" keyboard patch actually used in the show originally. It was played using the Yamaha DX-7 keyboard, specifically, "Upper Keyboard 2."

The third is both the orchestral flute and keyboard "Recorder" patch fused together as they did the many times I saw the show during the 90s and is reflected on some of the cast recordings from that era. I always dug how that scene was staged and how fitting the mood that blend of sounds in the music was and how it effectively hinted at something beyond; it would play right as Fantine's corpse is being softly lit from above by a pale, greenish light as she's spun out of view, while Cosette is being spun into view. The image of both onstage at the same time had a certain poignancy you just don't get in today's butchered,shortened version where she appears smiling while sweeping to what sounds like tribal hymn. I loved when we'd sit silently watching this little girl in the original production with a huge black eye on her face wearily carrying furniture that's too heavy for her and sweeping the floor all while that music played lightly in the pit. It was hauntingly beautiful and devastating at the same time.

I've outdone myself once again, writing that much based on a blend of sounds a couple of seconds long! Hooray! \:D/

Flute/"Recorder"/Flute & "Recorder" Mix -

Author:  alan850627 [ Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Orchestration Questions

I've never looked at an orchestration this deeply before, maybe I should. Thanks Quique again, for your wonderful input.

I definitely agree that the older orchestration (before the cuts) fits better with the mood; the current version the introduction to the song is about 14 measures shorter than the original, which 'saves time', as said by the producers not wanting to pay extra to the musicians, but in turn sort of 'kills' the mood of Fantine's death and the rotating of her body out of the stage... But if you didn't realize the removed introduction from the Little Cosette is actually very similar, if not identical, to the introduction to the well scene that was later added; so they actually didn't save much time did they...? well that's not the point.

Quique wrote:
"simple melody that a little girl can sing to"

This is confirmed by the music, it actually says "very simple" above the flute melody line. (see below)

Quique wrote:
Yes, John Cameron orchestrated the OFC album and stage production

I didn't even know that!

Quique wrote:
orchestral flute and keyboard "Recorder" patch fused together as they did the many times I saw the show during the 90s and is reflected on some of the cast recordings from that era.

Don't kill me, because I'm going to go into very fine details about this orchestration.

Quique, you mentioned how the introduction of this scene is just an orchestral flute plus a keyboard (Synthesized) recorder; you probably got that from the MTI score (shown below, on the right), which the orchestration is reduced considerably? Provided below on the left is the scan of the, I believe, the score used for OBC, CSR, and most productions up to the 10th anniversary - which shows that flute and keyboard are ALSO accompanied by a clarinet, which is a great choice here, because I've always thought how close sounding the clarinet sound is to the sound of an alto recorder if the notes are low enough in the register. The only difference would be the vibrato. I've been told that most classical clarinetists don't vibrato, and vibrato in clarinet is only fit for jazz pieces; keyboard recorders on the other hand, as shown in your SoundCloud clip, has vibrato. Because of this, you get a vibrato and non-vibrato color at the same time, which is quite special! CSR Represented this fairly well, I think that's the only thing 'not quite right' from the third clip in your SoundCloud file, which is amazing by the way.

Also, I've never noticed this before: just above the flute lines, you could see "Quasi Recorder" which literally means "Like a recorder". This suggests that John Cameron probably wanted recorders there in the first place, but probably fearing that getting players that also plays recorder would be harder, and maybe more expensive. (He probably didn't want to end up like the Lion King Reed 1 player, who needs to be able to play a total of 10 different flutes...)

Later when Christopher Jahnke "re-thought" the orchestration, he probably got the original intentions of John Cameron, and put the recorders back in the show like the OFC.

Ok I'm done. I could be wrong with anything I've stated above, please correct me if I am...

Pages of the score from Little Cosette:

Author:  Quique [ Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Orchestration Questions

No, you're correct. I got frustrated with my long-ass post (which I edited and shortened considerably several times, believe it or not) and it slipped my mind to mention it in all my testiness. I knew something wasn't right and it kept nagging at me but since my point had to do more with what I get out of the flute/patch mix specifically, I didn't think of adding anything else.

But that's baloney. Well, sort of, because I did completely forget it was even there when I posted the clip, so thanks for pointing that out. See! Even I call myself out when I smell baloney!! :mrgreen:

It does add to the overall sound, which I like because it doesn't snuff out the recorder patch but also fills in the harmony that I accidentally assigned to the patch and I like its rounder sound.

*Hisses a little, then slithers back into bat cave*

Author:  humanracer [ Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Orchestration Questions

Thanks everyone, this thread has been very informative.

rplunk....what does your name mean? if it is your first and last name then it is kind of odd becuase it sounds very similar to my name!

Author:  alan850627 [ Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Orchestration Questions

Ok. I'll try my best to answer the original questions posted by Flynn.
Disclaimer: Everything I'm about to say might not be true because I'm just a fan and not related in anyway to the production of the musical. (In other words, I'm providing my best 'educated guesses' here, so correct me if I'm wrong with anything I say)
Flynn wrote:
1. So what I primarily have are a typeset full score, a typeset Piano/Conductor's score, and a set of Finale files, all of which appear to match and seem to be from the 1995 updated orchestrations (the keyboards feature the Kurzweil patches instead of the DX-7 ones, new lyrics, no 'Castle on a Cloud' reprise during "Night of Anguish", etc.). I was just wondering if anyone could confirm that these are indeed from the same period and when exactly they would've been initially printed/released.

Flynn confirmed in a later post that the typeset scores indeed are from the same period (1997 or so). Here I'll provide more details about these "typeset scores"
1.) MTI's Piano Conductor Score (old version)*: The music itself is dated December 7th, 2001, but this particular revision I think is from somewhere around 1997 because of the new lyrics, shortened "The Bargain" at the ending, missing an orchestra interlude and another "la la la la la... etc", Eponine's "Waiting Here" carries into "A Heart Full or Love", Well Scene, and of course no 'Castle on a Cloud' reprise during "Night of Anguish" like what Flynn said... This version is quite strange, it actually contains large amount of errors (lines and verses are just in the wrong key... etc, probably just piano reduction errors though, because the matching full score (#4) doesn't have these errors)
2.) Finale Files: I'm pretty sure Flynn knows this, but for everyone else, the finale file also dated 2001. Although this typeset matches musically to the MTI's Piano Conductor Score (lyrics, music, cuts, inserts) but this instrumentation is not the MTI version, because the MTI score has a smaller instrumentation(see #4). This typeset's instrumentation matches the handwritten score Flynn mentioned, except an added keyboard 3 in the typeset. (4WW, 2Hns, 3Tpts, 2Tbns, 2Kbs (3 in the finale file), Gtr, B.Gtr, Drum set, Percussion, Vln, Vla, Vcs, Bs; for more detailed info, see image below).
3.) Typeset PDF (916 Page, 921 Page): Seems like to me, just simply a pdf output from the Finale Files mentioned in #2. (with extra unnecessary pages in the 921 page version at the end)
4.) MTI's Full Orchestral Score (old version)*: From what I can see, this score matches musically to the Finale files and the MTI's Piano Conductor Score (Lyrics, music, cuts, inserts...etc), but instrumentation is smaller than the finale files and the typeset PDF, with 2WW, 2Hns, 2Tpts, 1Tbns, 3Kbs, Gtr, B.Gtr, Drum set, Percussion, Vln, Vla, Vcs.

Because all four of these scores matches musically (Lyrics, music, cuts, inserts... etc), it suggests that all four of these typeset scores are from the same period. (Probably still with slight differences between each one of them, because the finale files and the MTI scores are dated 2001 rather than 1997, but in general, they're from the same period).

*Old version: MTI's current version features the cuts and the orchestration made by Christopher Jahnke for the 25th Anniversary UK Tour (with slight additions, we can discuss this later). The version I mentioned above is the older version that still features John Cameron's orchestration.

Flynn wrote:
2. Related to the first question, does anyone know specifically what changes were made in orchestrations in 1995 beyond the keyboard changes? I'm thinking specifically in terms of stuff like the added horn during Valjean's arrest in the Prologue and the aforementioned lack of 'Castle on a Cloud'.

Honestly I think there're way too many changes to list... for example, here is what I found when I went through roughly the first 150 measures of prologue:
1) Measure 10 of prologue, both trombone parts are playing instead of just one.
2) Minor orchestration doubling changes in the strings around measure 90 of Prologue
3) Phrase starting from 131 added trumpet, the woodwinds and keyboard are generally octave higher.
4) Prologue WW1 just plays octave higher on flute instead of having a piccolo
5) 153 of prologue, some cello parts played in keyboard 3 instead.

And of course the horn part added in Valjean's arrest mentioned by Flynn... I wouldn't be surprised if all the songs have 'revisions' like these. I find it quite a waste of time and useless to pick out every single difference in detail... after all they're still the John Cameron orchestration... So instead, I'll just list some of the more "noticeable" ones:

1) Lyrics change and female chorus deleted at measure 29 of "The Docks".
2) New Lyrics at measure 17 of Car Crash "Look at that Look at that It's M'sieur Fauchelevant..." to "look at that! Stay away! He'll be crushed by the cart!..." (this change seems to be effective since 1992, but the actual score was not updated until the 1997 edit.
3) Added Well Scene (again, this seems to be on and off throughout the 1990 years, it wasn't in the score until the 1997 edit)
4) Letter K to the end in the Bargain deleted (another round of la la la la la to the Castle on the Cloud melody, and the orchestra interlude leading into the beggars)
5) 2 measures before ABC Cafe added (on and off around 1990)
6) Extra measure deleted at the end of "In My Life" or "Rue Plumet", making Eponine's "Waiting here" the beginning of "A Heart full of Love"
7) What rplunk2853 mentioned: different rhythm in One Day More "There's a new world for the winning, there's a new world to be won"
8) In "Javert at the Barricade" the intro right before "Good God, what are you doing, Ponine..." is different. (Different in both pitches and rhythm)
9) After Eponine dies, and before Jean Valjean comes, an orchestra interlude of "Drink with me" is changed to "Little Fall of Rain". (Seems to be changed around 1992, but this change wasn't present until the typeset version of the score)
10) Castle on the Cloud reprise at the end of "Dawn of Anguish"
That's all I can recall so at the time, if anyone can add more, please do! For some reason I'm always really delighted when I find differences like these.

Flynn wrote:
3. I very recently managed to get ahold of handwritten parts for the show, which I've been told are from some point in the 80's. I don't have a full set of lyrics or a complete score that goes with these parts, so I don't fully know what version of the show they correlate to, though I presume they would match the CSR recording- can anyone confirm this?

From what I know, the Handwritten full score matches the handwritten vocal score, which matches the CSR. So yes, the handwritten full score match the CSR exactly.

Flynn wrote:
4. Lastly, and most importantly, the same handwritten parts were lacking the parts for Bassoon, Tenor Trombone, and String Bass- I've been told that these were 'optional' parts. Can anyone confirm if this was the case, and furthermore can anyone tell me if said parts were used on the OLC, OBC, or, most importantly, the CSR?

Flynn answered this question in a later post, which I will quote here
Flynn wrote:
OLC does not feature a Bassoon, Tenor Trombone, or String Bass- nor did it feature a third trumpet (added for the OBC, which also doesn't feature the optional parts). A quick perusal of the informational booklet of the CSR reveals that the optional parts were used for that recording (as well as massively inflated strings sections, apparently).

For more information about orchestrations in 1985-1990, here is an insert provided with the handwritten score, which I find it too interesting to not share:
That's about it! if there're any parts of this that are unclear to you, don't hesitate to ask... English is not my first language so sorry if this post is not well versed.

Author:  Quique [ Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Orchestration Questions

Have never seen that before, Alan. Awesome!!!

And sort of spooky, because I've basically assumed exactly what's written on that insert you've posted. Some of it is more obvious, like the double bass, bassoon, and some brass being optional since anyone who notices and cares to glance at the orchestra listing over the years will easily figure out a pattern that reflects which instruments are essential to the integrity of the piece, but I never had a way of knowing the bit about the strings and have always assigned violins and violas in my tracks to specifically the groups of notes mentioned there based on nothing more than texture. \:D/

Call me nuts but I've always said that if violas were candy, they'd be Red Vines and violins would be melted gum, like the kind that gets stuck under your shoe on a hot day.

Don't look at me that way, it makes total sense to me!!!

Author:  rplunk2853 [ Tue Aug 27, 2013 2:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Orchestration Questions

To humanracer: It is the first letter of my father's first name and the first five of my last name.

Just to mention some other orchestration changes, I noticed more changes in "At the End of the Day". In Section L ("I might have known the bitch could bite"), Horns 1-2, Trumpets 1-3, and Trombones 1-2 variously bolster K2's part. This continues until M. 157. This is first seen in the 10th Anniversary Concert, though the change is incorporated in the Japanese Tours (2003), the original Antwerp Cast (1998), and the 2003 Prague Cast. In the pre-revision orchestration, the Brass did not play here. Similarly, "The Beggars," the introduction to "Javert's Suicide", and "Beggars at the Feast" see a bolstering of the brass section's part.

Another orchestration change occurs in "The Robbery". In Section I ("Please, M'sieur, come this way"), K1 and K2 used to play the same part, while the Violins played (largely) colla voce (Thenardier). In the revision, K2 now plays a new part (on a new Hurdy Gurdy Patch) that is very different from the K1 part. In the revised section I, the Violins no longer play, though the new K3 (on the patch "Fast Strings") plays the part. At Section J (i.e., "Wait a bit, know that face"), K2 resumes its old part, while the Horns 1 and 2, Trumpet 1, and Trombone 1 now play throughout the first three measures of Section J, whereas their entrance used to be delayed until the fourth measure of Section J. The violin part in Section J has been changed as well, as violins now play tremolo as opposed to straight (Not sure if that is the right term). The notes themselves are largely the same, though the values have changed in some measures. Woodwind 1 (Flute) also plays the new "flutter" Violin part, though it drops out earlier. What is more, the added K3 (on "Full String Patch") enters and takes up the old Violin part two measures before Section K.

Then there is an orchestration "change" that I am not so sure about, but I'm hoping someone here can clarify the issue for me. In the reduced orchestration, Trumpet 1 (on St. Mute) joins the Woodwind counterpoint in "The Wedding Chorale". At first, I thought that this was only because of the absence of Woodwinds 3 and 4 (Clarinet and Bassoon), but in the 2003 Bidnici Recording (which, I assume, uses the non-reduced orchestration), the Trumpet 1 can clearly be heard playing the Woodwind counterpoint. Similarly, as I said before:

One thing that I have been confused about is that in...the 1991 Paris Recording and the Tenth Anniversary Concert, I think that I can hear a muted trumpet playing the second iteration of "look down" along with Woodwind 1, Woodwind 2, and Woodwind 3, though I have found no score that reflects this insertion.

Yet when I was looking through the same Reduced Orchestration of Les Misérables, I came upon a Trumpet 1 part that DOES reflect this change in "Look Down". Yet, when looking at the Full Orchestration, the change is absent. Does anyone have any input on this?

And last but not least the "Epilogue." In sections H, H2, and H3, the Acoustic Guitar plays the famous counterpoint under the "Misère" melody. In the original handwritten score, the Acoustic Guitar plays an arpeggio after the "when I at last am sleeping," yet the arpeggio is not repeated during the corresponding measure in H2 and H3 (i.e., "at last, at last behind you," and "for love is everlasting"). In the revised score, the Acoustic Guitar plays the arpeggio in all three sections. Another slight change to the "Epilogue" is that when Eponine and Fantine sing "Take my hand," the Violins and Violas used to accompany their entrance, but in the revised orchestration, the Violins and Violas no longer play the colla-voce pickup. In addition, during "Do You Hear the People Sing? (Reprise)", many of the rhythms in the orchestral parts have been changed to reflect the passage's Twelve-Eight feel. To me, this is one of the most intriguing changes. In the original handwritten score, the reprise is written in common time (4/4), despite the original DYHTPS having been in twelve-eight. I think this was done, because many of the dotted eight note rhythms closely approximate the triplet rhythm of DYHTPS. Many singers, however, may not have noticed the slight differences; thus, they sang their parts as if they were written in 12/8 time. On many early recordings, however, the orchestra plays the strict four-four rhythms, resulting in voices and orchestra not matching up. For the revised score, the orchestra parts now reflect the 12/8 rhythms, but the Vocal part is still written in 4/4, so the two sound better together (Someone correct me if I'm wrong here). In addition, the rhythms during "Distant drums" have been altered (at least in the English version).

There are probably numerous other revisions to the orchestration, but here were just some that I noticed.

Author:  Gargamel [ Mon Sep 02, 2013 2:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Orchestration Questions

OMG OMG, I love that... :clap:

Is anyone can tell me (private if necessary) who I have to kill to get those complete director scores ? :shh:

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