Sondheim's technique

Herbert, T. (1989) Sondheim's technique. Contemporary Music Review, 5 pp. 199-214. ISSN 0749-4467 (print) 1477-2256 (online)


This article is primarily made up of an edited transcript of an interview which Stephen Sondheim gave in 1985 for a BBC/Open University television programme. In it the composer discusses his compositional processes and the relationship between text (lyrics) and music. He also discusses issues relating to performance practice of his work, in particular idioms (musical theatres, opera houses) inasmuch as they influence his compositional method. The idiom of performances are further dealt with in respect of the nature of audiences. The examples that Sondheim draws on are “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd” from Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979) and “Send in the Clowns” from A Little Night Music (1973).

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