Listen for: Rowland Lee’s orchestrations and vocal arrangements
In this fourth in a series of blogs on the recently released BUMBLESCRATCH cast recording, Robbie marvels at the attention and professionalism of orchestrator and arranger Rowland Lee and other members of the creative team. Can you hear the difference?
One truly phenomenal aspect of the BUMBLESCRATCH CD is the orchestration and vocal arrangement which was created by Rowland Lee. I hope listeners will get a chance to truly take in and appreciate Rowland’s work here. You won't hear this level of detail in many (if any) other West End or Broadway show scores today.
Rowland is known in the music business for the intricacy and attention to detail he vests into his arrangements. I’m a big Beatles fan and listening to the BUMBLESCRATCH songs, for me, is something akin to listening to a Beatles album. You can play a track back, over and over again, and each time you play it you hear something new and exciting in the arrangement, something different – a fresh layer to the music that you hadn’t realized was there before.
For several months leading up to the September 4th show, every few weeks, Rowland, Stewart Nicholls (the Director/Choreographer) and I would meet at my apartment to discuss how we thought the music treatment should be approached. Rowland would have us listen to what he had been working on. Stewart would walk us through how he intended to stage each given scene. Eventually we would reach consensus on how we thought the music should sound. Then a few days later, Rowland would email over a brilliant new demo of my song for us to listen to.
As auditions morphed into call backs and then rehearsals, our Music Director, Tom Kelly then took over the musical reigns, interpreting and adding to what I had written and what Rowland had orchestrated. No one person is ever responsible for the music in a show. It’s always a collaboration. And at its best it’s constantly being created anew, each time you hear it, with each musician, performer and even each listener playing an equal part in that piece’s re-creation.
We’ve taken a lot of time and care to really draw out the nuance of every musical moment in BUMBLESCRATCH. There’s so much more in this orchestration than just a few broad chords and some strings pads.
I believe that theatre is the ideal place to experiment with new musical ideas and that’s what we endeavoured to do with BUMBLESCRATCH. And I think it’s self evident to the open-minded listener.
And that’s what drives me more than anything in show business – creating something completely new and progressive. I love the idea of bringing musical theatre to its next stage. Together Rowland, Stewart, Tom and everyone involved truly sought to make BUMBLESCRATCH as intelligent as it is hopefully entertaining and as interesting as it is hopefully accessible.
I hope that everyone will give the BUMBLESCRATCH CD a good listen. I am deeply proud of the product we’ve come up with.
BUMBLESCRATCH is available to order in physical format from www.SimGProductions.com now and available digitally in early 2017.