Sondheim on Music: Minor Details and Major Decisions, The Less Is More Edition



From his early work as lyricist for West Side Story to acclaimed creations such as A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George, and Sweeney Todd, Stephen Sondheim is widely regarded as the most important figure in musical theater since the second half of the 20th century. Who better to discuss this prolific artist's work than the master himself? Sondheim on Music: Minor Details and Major Decisions is a collection of interviews conducted by Mark Eden Horowitz, senior music specialist in the music division of the Library of Congress. In these guided conversations, Sondheim expounds in great depth and detail on his craft. As a natural teacher, thoughtful and opinionated, Sondheim discusses the art of musical composition, lyric writing, the collaborative process of musical theater, and how he thinks about his own work. The entire scope of Sondheim's career is covered here, in which Sondheim's greatest works are discussed-from Passion, Assassins, Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George, Sweeney Todd, and Pacific Overtures to A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Merrily We Roll Along, Company, Follies, Anyone Can Whistle, and A Little Night Music. Sondheim even provides thoughts about the film adaptations of his works, such as Sweeney Todd. The book also features an entire chapter on Bounce, the previous incarnation of his latest musical, Road Show. Preserving the essential elements of the previous volumes, this edition includes all of the interviews-verbatim-and features a revised introduction and a postlude with an additional conversation. Finally in paperback, Sondheim on Music: Minor Details and Major Decisions, The Less Is More Edition is a must-have for fans of these creative genius.

Product Details

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Publish Date
March 13, 2019
5.9 X 8.8 X 0.9 inches | 1.05 pounds

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About the Author

Mark Eden Horowitz is a senior music specialist in the music division of the Library of Congress. He has been the archivist for collections of Leonard Bernstein, Richard Rodgers, Marvin Hamlisch, Oscar Hammerstein II, Jerome Kern, Jonathan Larson, Frederick Loewe, Cole Porter, and Hal Prince, among others. Horowitz has taught musical theater history at Georgetown and Catholic universities and has guest-lectured at Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Princeton. For ten years he was the Contributing editor for The Sondheim Review, and wrote the liner notes for: Hugh Martin: Hidden Treasures, Anthony De Mare: Liaisons: Re-Imagining Sondheim from the Piano, and Stephen Sondheim: The Story So Far... Horowitz has also authored chapters for the books A Cole Porter Companion and The Oxford Handbook of Musical Theatre Adaptations.


I've learned so much from the work of Stephen Sondheim, and in this book, others interested in the craft of musical theatre composition, whether as professionals or fans, will find a myriad of lessons and inspirations.--Stephen Schwartz, composer/lyricist, Wicked; Godspell
Indispensable for any student, writer, or ardent fan of drama and musical theater. It puts the reader in the room with one of our greatest American masters.--Jeanine Tesori, composer of Caroline, or Change and Fun Home
Mr. Sondheim was interviewed on stage by Mark Eden Horowitz, whose essential book, Sondheim on Music, offers in-depth discussions with the composer.--The New York Times
Horowitz has managed to relax Sondheim into loquacity, technical generosity, and humour far more than most, perhaps all, of his predecessors (and there have been many); they exude an unusual sense of well-being, for which Horowitz must be credited with extraordinary skill and amenability.--Stephen Banfield "The Musical Times "
Any with a curiosity about the musical theatre of the past half century or a passing interest in the creative process behind it will find gems here. The real meat of the book is in free-ranging discussions of Sondheim's choices, tastes, and reflections on music and theater throughout and beyond his own career.--Rob Kendt, Backstage West
Mark Horowitz reveals the compositional process of Stephen Sondheim through a fascinating series of conversations with the composer. It is thrilling to discover the intimate details of how these classic songs, scores, and shows were created. Utterly captivating and illuminating.--Stephen Flaherty, Tony Award-winning composer of Ragtime, Once On This Island, and Seussical
One of the finest books focusing on [Sondheim's] work.--Playbill
In these remarkable dialogues Mark Horowitz has elicited cogent, illuminating insights into the creative process from Stephen Sondheim, the ever-astonishing titan of the musical stage.--Robert Kimball, Musical theatre historian and artistic advisor to the estates of Cole Porter and Ira Gershwin
Sondheim devotees will be forever grateful to Library of Congress music specialist Mark Horowitz for the interviews he conducted with Sondheim.--Chip Brown "Smithsonian Magazine "
An excellent companion work to the esteemed composer's book. Horowitz skillfully balances his technical content, serving both the needs of the music student and the theatre enthusiast.--Bay Stages
A provocative, illuminating portrait of a creative powerhouse.--Baltimore Sun
Recommended for libraries with a prominent emphasis on music.--Library Journal
For musicians, Horowitz's book is a treasure trove of self-revelation from the most significant living composer for the American musical theatre.--International Record Review
What sets this milestone work apart from other texts on Sondheim or other interviews with the composer is the fine balance between broad and specific questions. The broader questions can be understood and enjoyed by any audience, since they deal very generally with Sondheim's thoughts and opinions about theatre. On the other hand, the specific questions provide an outstanding, first person source for scholars of music and theatre in particular, with pointed discussions on the musical scores, and a rare view of Sondheim's own compositional sketches.--Studies In Musical Theatre