Some info on the complicated history of the orchestrations
Posted by: AlanScott 04:56 pm EST 01/13/21
In reply to: re: Listening to AGYG with Mary Martin and John Raitt - Snowysdad 11:44 pm EST 01/12/21

The playbill for the original production credited the orchestrations to Philip J. Lang, Russell Bennett and Ted Royal. If I can trust what's in Steven Suskin's The Sound of Broadway Music, there were also contributions by Robert Noeltner (primarily "I Got the Sun in the Morning"), Menotti Salta, Hans Spialek, Walter Paul, Sherman Bunker, R. C. Williams, and Don Walker. As many as five different orchestrations were done for some songs.

What happened, according to Russell Bennett, was that Rodgers was angry at him at the time and didn't want to hire him. He hired Lang, who had little Broadway experience at the time. At the first orchestra rehearsal in New Haven, both Berlin and Merman were unhappy with the orchestrations. Russell Bennett was called in but not directly by Rodgers. Rodgers called Max Dreyfus of Chappell, and Dreyfus called RRB. RRB said that Lang had done a good job but he had orchestrated the songs as he might a recording, without the melody being heard in the pit, which was most unusual at the time This made them unhappy. Lang probably could have fixed most of this himself, but at this point perhaps they didn't trust him. In any case, they wanted all the changes to be done yesterday. Having said that, some of Lang's orchestrations remained in the show either unchanged or with changes made by him.

Because so much needed to be done quickly, virtually every orchestrator under contract with Chappell was called in. For whatever reason, many of the replacement orchestrations were replaced again and sometimes again after that and sometimes one more time. Not usual.

Some of the fixes that RRB did to Lang’s involved sticking mostly with what Lang had done and adding the melody to be played by other instruments.

The 1966 Lincoln Center orchestrations are often notably different to my ears. According to Suskin, around half of the orchestrations were done by Ruth Anderson, a composer who was a pioneer in electronic music who died in 2019. Suskin wrote that Jonathan Tunick thought she was the wife of “conductor Paul Anderson, who worked on the Music Theater of Lincoln Center shows and had especially close ties to the Rodgers family.” I think Tunick meant Jonathan Anderson, who started as an actor before becoming a musical director. He conducted the Music Theater South Pacific and he conducted the tours of the Music Theater shows that also toured, including Annie Get Your Gun, which toured between closing at the New York State Theatre and then re-opening at the Broadway (with Anderson conducting).

As far as I can tell, Ruth Anderson and Jonathan Anderson were not married. In the Times obit for Ruth Anderson, it says that her spouse was the composer Annea Lockwood, and there is no mention of her ever having been married to anyone else.

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