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Why do ppl dislike ALW, call him a hack, etc, etc, etc 
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its absolute bullsh*t ot tihnk ALW's melodies are better than Sondheim's, Kander's or Brown's. they are repetitive so they stick in your head. thats about it.

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Mon Nov 03, 2008 10:21 am
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Tony Winner
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Quote:
And can you get much more revolutionary than putting your performers on a set that embraces the whole theatre and make them skate around in a musical that's half musical, half athletic event?




LOL. Starlight express is so not the first musical to use actors rollerskating around the stage.....


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKiIqBegFc8


:lol:

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Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:47 pm
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Tony Winner
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Sorry to be a latecomer joining in a debate that’s been running for some time, but can I just offer a few thoughts on one of the most frequently-heard criticisms of ALW’s work – that’s it’s repetitive and “all sounds the same”.

As for being repetitive, some repetition is desirable in a musical, partly because audiences like it and partly because some music is better appreciated when heard a second time. There aren’t many themes in Les Miserables or Sweeney Todd that are heard only once, yet these shows are not criticised for being overly repetitive. When deployed effectively, as in the Wagnerian leitmotif, repetition can be effective.

As an example of repetition done well, I would cite the use of the same tune for Valjean’s “What Have I Done” and Javert’s “Suicide”, which demonstrates the hidden similarity between two characters who are superficially opposites - both have good intent and both reach turning points in their lives when an unexpected act of forgiveness from another person shatters their preconceptions. But whereas for Valjean, this change leads to a new devout life, for Javert it leads only to death – and the music reflects this by diverging at the end of the song – Valjean’s song segues into the inspiring four note pattern whereas Javert’s segues into a short repeat of the melody from Stars (reflecting his inflexible attitude) ending in a crashing discord to show that there is no way other than suicide for him to resolve the dilemma created by his fixed mentality coming up against Valjean’s merciful behaviour. Thus the repetition not only pleases the audience, who get to hear again a tune they liked the first time, but is also effective dramatically.

By contrast, the main themes in ALW shows are generally repeated so much that they just become cliches and lose the power to have any effect such as that described above. It isn’t only the main tunes (in fact, the most obviously commercial tune in WiW, “I Believe My Heart”, is used somewhat sparingly) but the melodic passages used in a recitative-like fashion to move the story forward. Minor melodies such as the Perspective theme from WiW are used so much that they become tedious.

As well as repetition of actual tunes, ALW can be criticised for having a repetitive style. Take the solo ballads - any emotional ballad is quite often set to music that resembles ALW’s other emotional ballads, rather than the situation of the character. This criticism is somewhat unfair – examples of songs that do reflect the character and situation well include “Sunset Boulevard”, “Unsettled Scores”, “You See I Am No Ghost” and to a lesser extent “The Music of the Night”. (However even these examples are weakened by the use of the same melodies for dialogue by other characters.) Songs that I would call generic ALW ballads, taken from the same shows, include “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again”, “Whistle Down the Wind” and “Evermore Without You”. (I haven’t included a example from Sunset as I can’t think of any that this criticism can justifiably be applied to.)

The Phantom of the Opera is a good example of this paucity of style. The crux of the story is Christine’s dilemma of whether to hook up with Raoul, who is safe and dull, but pleasant, well-off and handsome, or the Phantom, who is more artistic, dark and intense but who lives in a lair, is deformed and kills people. One might expect this conflict to be reflected in the music – for example, Raoul to have soaring, major-key ballads, contrasting with dark, minor-key or dissonant, introspective melodies for the Phantom. While this does happen to a limited extent – especially in the music supposedly composed by the Phantom, and in the excellent title song – for the most part the music attributed to both characters is pretty similar. They both sing “Christine, I lur-ur-urve you” to the same melody and they both sing the “All I Ask of You” theme to her. This does have some advantages – the deformed Phantom singing the same love music previously sung by the heroic Raoul does give the Phantom some additional pathos. The show’s strength is its portrayal of the Phantom as a sympathetic character as opposed to a shlock-horror villain, so I’m not saying anything should diminish that - but more variation in the music is needed to differentiate between the two characters. This is shown by the common audience response that Christine should have chosen the Phantom – a perception that arises because he has all the best tunes and also the more compelling personality. There is little in the score to highlight the fact that despite these attractive qualities, he is also a mentally unstable killer, albeit one we are supposed to empathise with.

Ultimately, a composer of musicals has to balance the interests of the audience who will only see the show once and the fans who will want to see it several times, buy the CD and study the score. The former will benefit from repetition – the more a tune is drilled into their heads, the more likely they are to be humming it on the way out of the theatre and thus to buy the CD. However, having bought it they will be frustrated if they find, on relistening, that it only contains about 20 to 30 minutes worth of original music, which is then repeated with different lyrics.


Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:12 am
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Young Hoofer
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I think it's because his shows tend to be mass-marketed, promotion whores - larger than life extravaganzas that run for 20+ years.

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Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:18 pm
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I find many of the reasons why people not like Andrew lloyd webber, to not to be good reasons at all, at least not good enough.

if you don't like the tunes he writes, fine. that is your right.

But when you talk shows, remember Webber doesn't write the intere show, just the tunes. he has always worked closely with people and have a saying in the shows build up though. but he learned very early in his carrier that he cannot make good shows alone.

It happened after Jesus Christ superstar, where he tried to break free from Rice and write his own show where he had the major saying. the show was called Jeeves and it was a major flop, after that Webber came back to Rice and they wrote Evita together.
according to several biography's, Webber learned his lesson that time.
He never writes shows alone, many people is involved in the process and many has a saying. he is just responsible for the tunes.
which he often just write randomly and puts away in a drawer until they can be of use.


Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:25 am
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thats the problem his tunes are generic. they wrent written for specific characters and situations.

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Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:32 am
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And he does write more than the 'tunes' sometimes, at least for POTO he is credited (source: wikipedia) as a book writer.


Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:52 pm
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Tony Winner
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He does far more than just write the tunes. For the last 20 years he has been producer of all his own shows. Therefore, even though he doesn't write the lyrics himself, and doesn't necessarily write the book (although he often is co-credited with it) he gets to choose who does, and to control the direction they go in.


Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:33 am
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I just thought about something with the song 'Another Suitcase in Another Hall' from 'Evita.'

Thing is, the Mistress is a foil to Eva. Whereas Eva moves on from affair to the next, climbing, the Mistress is resigned to her position, and she's vulnerable. And they use the song to showcase a character who has the similar place as Eva, but doesn't use it the same way.

Also, the song is for a soprano, and Eva's part is a belter.


Thu Jan 22, 2009 9:32 pm
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Post ALW a Hack? --> THE BEAUTIFUL GAME
Nicola wrote:
(Andrew Lloyd Webber) composes the score, and then the lyricist writes over them. He also composes pieces randomly, and then decides, perhaps ten or twenty years on, that one of these pieces could fit into the new musical he is planning. He therefore is not composing according to the musicals theme. He did this with "Music of the Night" (previously called "The Married Man") and 'Let Us Love In Peace' (previously called "The Heart is Slow To Learn") among others.

It's "Our Kind of Love" that was written as "The Heart is Slow to Learn", but I felt that it really was better in The Beautiful Game than it was previously. Now that it's been re-appropriated into Love Never Dies, I still feel the same way. In the two versions written for sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, the song has had very little to say, whereas the version heard in The Beautiful Game becomes a stirring anthem in opposition to the personal effects to war. Elton's lyric for "Our Kind of Love" is not perfect by any means, but it is a more consistently disciplined lyrics than most of the rest of the lyrics in that show and at least it gives the song some substance rather than leaving it to be a reflection on the nature of a love that is empty because the characters who are involved (Christine, the Phantom and Eric) are so poorly defined.

In terms of the general point, Lloyd Webber is not the only composer ever to shift songs around in this way. Richard Rodgers certainly did this too and I've rarely heard him called a "hack".

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Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:36 am
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Post Re: ALW a Hack? --> THE BEAUTIFUL GAME
RainbowJude wrote:
Lloyd Webber is not the only composer ever to shift songs around in this way. Richard Rodgers certainly did this too and I've rarely heard him called a "hack".


When did he do this? I remember Getting to know you/Suddenly Lucky (or what it initially was called), but I don't remember tunes he used in different finished musicals (unless you count the stage adaptations of Cinderella and State Fair?).

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Sat Jul 31, 2010 2:24 am
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Post Re: Why do ppl dislike ALW, call him a hack, etc, etc, etc
I liked him when I was about 12. But when I started listening to people like Sondheim I realised his music is very simple, plain and quite boring. They are very repetitive and (as Dawn said) don't really fit the situation or character singing them. I admit some of his melodies are pretty and catchy but they're not very interesting and don't advance the story in anyway. He's basically writing random, mediocre pop songs (except in a more classical style) and throwing them into a play.
Also, he recycles a LOT of his music which is just plain lazy. When I first heard Love Never Dies I about DIED laughing as it is literally Our Kind of Love with different lyrics.

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Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:20 pm
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