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A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol: Ghosts of Orchestrations past.

So, this is a gem of a show that was produced at Madison Square Gardens for many years. It features a lavish Menken score. The original productions had very large sets moving from the various locations; Scrooge’s house, Cratchett house, Street Scenes, Fezziwigs and many special effects surrounding the Ghosts (past, present, future). Features a few very large ensemble numbers.

You will be challenged seeking any real reference recordings of the current score offered through MTI.

If you like Beauty and the Beast or any similar Menken work, you’ll find nuggets of those musical themes throughout. The good news is that there are some delightful moments. The basic Christmas Carol story is told in music somewhat effectively.

Unless you have those majestic sets, you will be challenged to be able to do show without cutting large chunks of music. This is the beginning of some music challenges. Doing a stripped down orchestral reduction will leave you wanting. Unfortunately, there are some issues with the orchestration that make it challenging to navigate. Often times, you’ll find that the beginning of the next number is the final 3 bars of the preceeding number. Many of the songs are long and do not have clear demarcation to allow for easy reading. I really wish that the arrangers/engravers would go through and review this. It makes it cumbersome and needlessly frustrating to rehearse and perform from the orchestral standpoint. Also, we noticed that there were measure numbers that didn’t line up through the parts.

When it shines, it’s beautiful and lush.

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