Many a musician dreads the question “What music do you like?”, or “Who inspires you?”. This applies to all musicians, although it seems composers have a harder time – probably due to the myriad of music, art and culture that has intrinsically influenced their music.
One genre that has hugely influenced my music is that of musical theatre. It’s one I’m planning on dabbling in as soon as an opportunity presents itself – which I’m sure will be soon. I always enjoyed the music when young – my granddad introduced me to the “Mack and Mabel” sound track as we danced around his living room, and, along with my friends, I always loved musical films, which we’d watch and sing along to. I participated in as many musical events – whether in the chorus or the band – as I could, and since moving to London I’ve seen as many musicals as student finances would allow (thank goodness for student discounts and cheap day release tickets!). I also ended up accompanying many songs from musicals in recitals, from Wicked to Fiddler on the Roof, Chicago to Candide. My husband shares my love of musicals, and under our piano are the piano reductions from many a musical, which – along with Einaudi – are my default go-to pieces when I want to play the piano for the sake of piano (and sometimes, sing along for the sake of singing). Elaine Page on Radio 2 is a common soundtrack to our Sundays.
Yesterday, a friend of mine introduced me to the music of Scott Alan – who writes many musical theatre style songs. His writing is very emotive – possibly due to his use of soaring string lines and intimate ensembles alongside beautiful vocal lines. Jeanine Tesori is another contemporary musical theatre writer I admire, due to the genius – both musically and lyrically – of Girl in 14g, along with Heisler and Goldrich who wrote Taylor the Latte Boy.
Of course, musical theatre isn’t the only musical genre I like, and I’ll write another post concentrating on another genre in the near future. But for now, it’s time to get back to my research, and listening to Scott Alan..!