Podcast of the week-Fresh Air

Something Wonderful by Todd Purdum has some startling revelations during the Fresh Air interview. I had never heard of Trude Rittman. According to Todd’s book about Rodgers and Hammerstein she never received credit for writing the music for “Small House of Uncle Thomas” and parts of Do-Re-Mi.


Working on Carousel (1945), she began a long association with composer Richard Rodgers, and went on to provide arrangements on South Pacific (1949), The King and I (1951) (for which she composed the ballet “Small House of Uncle Thomas”) and The Sound of Music (1959) for which she devised the extended vocal sequence for “Do-Re-Mi“. According to assistant conductor Peter Howard, the heart of the number – in which Maria assigns a musical tone to each child, like so many Swiss bell ringers – was devised in rehearsal by Rittmann (who was credited for choral arrangements) and choreographer Joe Layton. The fourteen note and tune lyric – “when you know the notes to sing …” – were provided by Rodgers and Hammerstein; the rest, apparently, came from Rittmann. Howard: “Rodgers allowed her to do whatever she liked. When we started doing the staging of it, Joe took over. He asked Trude for certain parts to be repeated, certain embellishments.”[2][3] Rittmann retired in 1976 and died of respiratory failure in Lexington, Massachusetts.[4] Her music has been issued on Great Performances (1972).[5]



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