Piece of the Week: Pippin by Stephen Schwartz


Pippin has been called “a hip, tongue-in-cheek, anachronistic fairy tale,” and this musical theater piece has captured the hearts of Broadway audiences since its debut in 1972. Loosely based around the life of King Charlemagne the Great, the show tells the rather convoluted story of the king’s son, Pippin, a young prince who longs to discover the secret of true happiness. After experiencing the glories of battle, the intrigues of political power, and all sorts of human temptations, Pippin ultimately finds contentment and fulfillment in the simple pleasures of home and family. The Tony award-winning musical features a host of energetic, pop-inspired songs, and dance numbers composed by Stephen Schwartz while he was still a young man in his 20s. Schwartz went on to write the music and lyrics for the hit musicals Godspell and Wicked and contribute lyrics to Disney movies such as Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, among many other musical and movie projects.

Pippin began its current Broadway revival in 2013, and is an official touring company is  bringing the musical to cities across America starting in the Fall of 2014.  Click here for information about the Broadway show and U.S. tour.

SmartMusic offers two medleys of songs from Pippin, both from Alfred Publishing, which include the best-known pieces from this beloved musical.

In the Concert Band version, arranger Ralph Ford weaves together the songs “Corner of the Sky,” “Magic to Do,” “Extraordinary,” “Simple Joys,” “Pippin (Finale),” and the mega-hit, “Morning Glow” into one cohesive piece.

Audio Sample: Pippin, arranged for Concert Band

Audio provided by Alfred Music Publishing Co., Inc.

In the String Orchestra arrangement, Andrew Dabczynski begins with the driving rock rhythms and melodies of “Magic to Do” followed by the show-stopping “Corner of the Sky.” A heart-wrenching rock ballad, “With You,” is heard next, leading into “Love Song,” with its marvelously quirky but always-gentle rhythms. The piece concludes with a Broadway finale setting of “No Time at All.”

Audio Sample: Pippin, arranged for String Orchestra

Audio provided by Alfred Music Publishing Co., Inc.

Got an idea for a blog post? Contact us!

If you are an educator, musician, composer or student with a suggestion for a “piece of the week” blog post, you can email your suggestion to Griffin at [email protected]. Please let me know the name of the piece, composer, publisher, and why this piece is special to you.

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