23 April 2010

Musical Theatre Nerd Alert: Sondheim on Fresh Air

Stephen Sondheim turned 80 years old this year, prompting a worldwide Sondheim-palooza. On Wednesday, he was interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air. Here's an excerpt:

Sondheim: I'm not very influenced by jazz. First of all, the whole idea of jazz is improvisation and instrumentalists. And because I'm only a piano player and have never played in a band, I don't have a feeling for that. Also, I think by nature I'm too conservative. I'm just - I only improvise at the piano when I'm writing a song but I never improvise for anybody else or in front of anybody else or at a party or anything like that. And I dont think I would be good at it. I'm much too constrained.

It's partly my training. My first music teacher, which who was a professor at Williams College, was a very very kind of "Mary Poppins" kind of teacher with, you know, he laid down the rules. And that appealed to me a lot, the idea of rules of how you write music, that say what music consists of. That it's not just sitting and waiting for an inspiration but that you take a melodic idea that you have that might be an inspiration, but then you develop it and you work with it and work it out.
Suck on that, Andrew Lloyd Webber!

Oh, and do yourself a favor and watch this....

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