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Something to Live ForThe Music of Billy Strayhorn$
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Walter van de Leur

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195124484

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195124484.001.0001

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Chapter Five Writing and Arranging Companion: Credited and Uncredited Collaborations

Chapter Five Writing and Arranging Companion: Credited and Uncredited Collaborations

Chapter:
(p.85) Chapter Five Writing and Arranging Companion: Credited and Uncredited Collaborations
Source:
Something to Live For
Author(s):

Walter van de Leur

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195124484.003.0005

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

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