Producer Mike Matessino returns to talk more on his work for the 50th Anniversary Edition, with distinguished Broadway Music Director and Conductor Andy Einhorn joining as a special guest
Hosted by Maurizio Caschetto and Tim Burden
The Legacy of John Williams goes back to Anatevka for the long-awaited 2nd part of the discussion on Fiddler On The Roof 50th Anniversary Soundtrack Edition. The massive 3-disc set released by La-La Land Records was the subject of an in-depth talk and feature article published last December, and now Soundtrack Producer Mike Matessino returns to offer more eloquent thoughts and insights about the 1971 classic film by Norman Jewison, its Academy Award-winning adaptation score by John Williams, and the painstaking restoration work he went through to bring new life to the original soundtrack recordings. The release presents never-before-released material as the “playback” versions of the songs (pre-recorded before filming and then used on set to guide the actors), alternate segments and additional overlays (including new violin solos recorded by Isaac Stern), and some of the original underscore cues composed by John Williams. The 3-CD collection is a treasure trove that offers the most significant presentations of a central piece of work in John Williams’ distinguished filmography. With kind permission of Mike Matessino, the conversation also presents a few exclusive music excerpts featuring material not heard anywhere else.
This second act of the Fiddler On The Roof podcast special is also enriched by the presence of a very welcome special guest. Leading Broadway Music Director and Conductor Andy Einhorn joins to talk about a truly unique and very special initative: the presentation of a lightly-staged production of Fiddler On The Roof featuring the world-premiere concert performance of John Williams’ Oscar-winning orchestrations. The project was spearheaded by the UMS in collaboration with The Philadelphia Orchestra and the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance/Department of Musical Theatre and it premiered on February 19 and 20 at the Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, MI, on the campus of the University of Michigan, with Andy Einhorn conducting the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, with Chuck Cooper as Tevye and Loretta Ables Sayre as Golde joining a cast comprised mostly of talented students of the University of Michigan Musical Theatre program. The production is moving to Philadelphia for three performances on March 3, 5 and 6 at the Kimmel Center, with Einhorn conducting the revered Philadelphia Orchestra.
The uniqueness of this concert presentation lies in the choice of performing John Williams’ powerful orchestrations of the original Jerry Bock/Sheldon Harnick’s score for the very first time since 1971. According to Andy Einhorn, “Williams managed to unearth hidden pathos inside Bock and Harnick’s songs. You can hear Motel’s heart bursting out of his body during “Miracle of Miracles.” The earth-shattering celebration during “Tradition,” “To life,” and the classic bottle dance stirs us to the core. And who can resist those beautiful violin cadenzas written for Isaac Stern?”
Williams’ original charts were painstakingly reconstructed by Hollywood’s premiere music copying service JoAnn Kane Music Service (Wiliams’ trusted collaborators since decades) from the surviving sheet music (the original pencil manuscript score was nowhere to be found), with the aim to create a definitive engraved score to be performed in a minimally staged production of the original libretto. The choice of using Williams’ orchestrations wasn’t limited to the songs, but also includes underscore cues originally written for the film, now accompanying some of dialogue portions of the show, including material never before heard. As Einhorn points out, “Williams’s work on the film captures the emotional storytelling beats with incredible underscoring.”
During the conversation, Einhorn reflects on the various reasons why this project holds a special place in his career, the challenges he faced to put it together and the thrill of hearing Williams’ sumptuous orchestrations performed live for the first time in 50 years, talking also about the details and nuances hidden in the score. He and Mike Matessino offer precious insight on the timelessness of Fiddler On The Roof and its relevance for today’s audiences also in light of the tragic recent events happening in the same region in which the original story takes place, i.e. the small Ukraine village of Anatevka.
About Andy Einhorn
Andy Einhorn is one of the most talented and active leading music directors and conductors working on the Broadway scene. He is music supervisor and musical director for the Broadway productions of Carousel and Hello, Dolly!. Mr. Einhorn’s previous Broadway credits include Holiday Inn, Bullets Over Broadway, Cinderella, Evita, Brief Encounter, The Light in the Piazza, and Sondheim on Sondheim. He also served as music director and conductor for the Théâtre du Châtelet’s production of Sondheim’s Passion in Paris and made his New York Philharmonic debut with trumpeter Chris Botti. Einhorn also guest-conducted major American symphony orchestras including the Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, the Boston Pops, Cincinnati Pops, Calgary Philharmonic, National Arts Centre Orchestra, and the National Symphony Orchestra.
Since 2011, Mr. Einhorn has served as music director and pianist for Audra McDonald, performing with the Philadelphia Orchestra, National Symphony, Los Angeles Opera, and Sydney Symphony, and at venues including Avery Fisher Hall, Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and Teatro Real, Madrid. He also served as music director for Barbara Cook at Feinstein’s and Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music.
Mr. Einhorn’s tour work includes Sweeney Todd, The Light in the Piazza, Mamma Mia!, The Lion King, and The Sound of Music. He has worked at Goodspeed Opera House, Signature Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and PaperMill Playhouse. He was principal vocal coach and pianist for Houston Grand Opera’s An Evening with Audra McDonald, a double-bill of Poulenc’s La Voix humaine and Michael John LaChiusa’s Send. He served as the music director for HBO’s Peabody award-winning documentary Six by Sondheim, and music supervisor for the Peabody award-winning Great Performances special Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy on PBS.
Mr. Einhorn’s recording credits include Bullets Over Broadway, Cinderella, Evita, the Grammy nominated Sondheim on Sondheim, Stage Door Canteen, and Audra McDonald’s Go Back Home. He is a graduate of Rice University, Texas.
‘Tradition! John Williams and Fiddler On The Roof’ – Podcast Episode Part 1: https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2021/12/03/fiddler-on-the-roof-podcast-pt1/
La-La Land Records’ Fiddler On The Roof 50th Anniversary Soundtrack Edition: https://lalalandrecords.com/fiddler-on-the-roof-50th-anniversary-remastered-limited-edition-3-cd-set/
UMS Presents Fiddler On The Roof In Concert: https://ums.org/performance/fiddler-on-the-roof-in-concert/