Chapter Five Writing and Arranging Companion: Credited and Uncredited Collaborations

Walter van de Leur

in Something to Live For

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780195124484
Published online September 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199868711 | DOI:
Chapter Five Writing and Arranging Companion: Credited and Uncredited Collaborations

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This chapter starts with the January 1943 appearance of the Ellington orchestra in Carnegie Hall. Ellington composed a work of symphonic dimensions, Black, Brown and Beige. Strayhorn’s contributions to this work are unearthed. A strong structural analogy between Ellington’s Black and Strayhorn’s Pentonsilic suggests that the exchange of ideas, rather than actual co-composition, formed the essence of their collaboration. The next section looks at the suite-format and sums up the advantages: it silenced criticism regarding form, it accommodated the division of tasks, it enabled the insertion of unused numbers, and it facilitated the later addition of programmatic explanations. The chapter continues with The Perfume Suite, the first acknowledged Ellington-Strayhorn collaboration, followed by Beggar’s Holiday (1946), unraveling Strayhorn’s contributions to this adaptation of the Beggar’s Opera. As Strayhorn contributed a growing number of arrangements, his style slowly permeated the orchestra’s sound.

Keywords: Ellington; Strayhorn; Carnegie Hall; Black; Brown and Beige; suite; The Perfume Suite; Beggar’s Opera

Chapter.  6714 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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