Download My Ship score orchestra PDF

TitleMy Ship score orchestra
TagsMusical Compositions Saxophone Clarinet Woodwind Instruments Trombone
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Page 1

Jazz Lines Publications

the jeffrey sultanof master edition

my ship
As recorded by the miles davis/gil evans orchestra

Arranged by gil evans
edited by jeffrey sultanof

full score
from the original manuscript


Words by Ira Gershwin
Music by Kurt Weill

TRO -©- Copyright 1941 (Renewed) Hampshire House Publishing Corp., New York, New York and Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Los Angeles, California
International Copyright Secured Made in U.S.A.

All Rights Reserved Including Public Performance for Profit Used by Permission

This arrangement has been published with the authorization of The Estate of Gil Evans.

Jazz Lines Publications
PO Box 1236

Saratoga Springs NY 12866 USA

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gil evans series

my ship


The first of the Miles Davis/Gil Evans collaborations for Columbia Records included an eclectic mix of a ‘classical’ theme,
pop songs and jazz themes that both Evans and Davis liked. My Ship was one of the titles that Evans chose for the album.
Produced by George Avakian, Miles Ahead was
a continuation of the path Evans forged with
the Claude Thornhill Orchestra, a vibrato-less
orchestra made up of brass with only four reed
parts in this case. Many tracks on this album
had piano parts written, but they were not used.
The only solo voice is Miles Davis, who plays
most of the album on flugelhorn.

Evans conceived the album as a suite, which
had to be interrupted by flipping the record
over when Side 1 was finished; when the album
was issued on CD, the music plays without
interruption. Evans may have been influenced
by the albums recorded by Michel Legrand; I
Love Paris, issued in 1954, was a major seller for
Columbia, and Legrand arranged the songs as a
long suite as well.

The Music:

The arrangements for Miles Ahead were written during April of 1957, and they were challenging. Evans mailed parts to the
musicians so they could familiarize themselves with the music (music union rules state that music intended for recording
cannot be rehearsed ahead of a record date). Avakian wisely recorded rehearsals in case he needed to cover mistakes later.

Notes to the Conductor:

The majority of Evans’ ballad settings for Thornhill and Miles Davis are vibrato-less excursions into mildly dissonant
territory. Hence, blending is the key element.

This arrangement opens and closes with a G carried over from Dave Brubecks’s The Duke. The motive in the muted
trumpets was composed by Kurt Weill (the composer of My Ship) to bridge the songs This is New and The Princess of Pure
Delight in the original presentation of Lady in the Dark; Evans clearly knew all of the music of this show, not just the songs
(similarly, the chord at the end is a bridge to the next selection on the album, Miles Ahead). This opening should be
mysterious, and even though the bass clarinet should also sound as if it is in the distance, it should still be heard.

Photo © Anita Evans and
Bopper Spock Suns Music

Page 3

The dynamic at the pick-up to bar 9 is crucial in shifting the mood
from slightly unsettling to a warm ballad. Everyone must be synchronized
perfectly on the triplets in bar 9 and the rhythms in bar 13, not behind
the beat, which can tend to happen since the French horns are leading.
As I have mentioned in other notes to the conductor in these
publications, Evans wrote the way musicians played, with a loose,
improvised sense, so the two-beat quintuplet in bar 10 is a particular
challenge to synchronize. Have the bass clarinet and tuba near each
other so they can sound like one person. Similarly, the double-time
section at bar 26 needs careful rehearsal so that no one instrument
sticks out.

On the original part, reed 2 plays both the flute and clarinet at bar 17;
the publisher decided to move the clarinet part played the 2nd time to
reed 1, who is otherwise tacet during this section (for the Davis/Evans
albums, reed 1 was always alto saxophone throughout). You may change
this back if you wish.

Please see the note on the score at bar 35. Trombone 3 has a quarter
tone which slides downward into the E in the next bar. Please do not
over-emphasize this note; it is just one more note in a chord that
should sound like a collective sigh by trombones.

This music was written for the recording microphone and not for live
performance, so the woodwind parts may have to be miked slightly to be heard. They should not overwhelm the ensemble,
as Evans clearly wanted the brass to be the main accompaniment, with the woodwinds as color.

Even though it wasn’t used (perhaps Evans thought that the sound was overwhelming in the studio), the piano/celeste
works perfectly in a live setting, and ‘authenticity’ should not be the overriding consideration in using it or not.

Jeffrey Sultanof
-August 2010

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