From 2002 to 2005, I spent three years in Las Vegas as the keyboardist and MIDI programmer for the Cirque du Soleil production “O” at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino. It had been a dream of mine for many year to perform with Cirque du Soleil, and I left a Broadway national tour to start my new position with Cirque. During my tenure with Cirque du Soleil, I had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with many musicians from the Las Vegas music community, including those from other Cirque du Soleil productions, Blue Man Group, Celine Dion’s band, and Le Reve, so I naturally grew quite familiar with the music from not only “O”, but also the music of many of the other productions.
One thing I noticed was that for many years, there was a lack of high quality Cirque du Soleil sheet music available to the general public. All of the scores I worked with when learning the music for “O” were handwritten but my predecessor, and I used only these along with monitor recordings to prep. Any sheet music I ever saw available to the general public was always very simplified or extremely poorly notated. However, that has all changed. I’ve recently discovered that Sheet Music Plus has a great selection of some of the best Cirque du Soleil sheet music for piano that I’ve seen in quite some time. The arrangements are well constructed, sit well on the piano, and sound gratifying. In this post, I’ll mention a few which stand out based on my familiarity with the song, the show, and/or the composer.
This first arrangement is the theme song and finale from the world famous Cirque du Soleil production “O”. Having spent three years playing the piano and keyboard part to this selection in the actual “O” production, I can attest to the fact that this is the most accurate representation of this music I’ve yet to see made available to the general public.
The elements which are drawn from the piano part are nearly identical to what I actually played in the show, and the arrangement is filled out extremely musically as it evolves and develops. I believe anyone would find this arrangement quite enjoyable and gratifying to play on piano, and it could easily be adapted to include other instruments as well.
This is another selection from the Cirque du Soleil production “O”. This song accompanies the amazing contortion act in the show and is one of the most beautiful arrangements I’ve heard from the incredibly talented composer Benoit Jutras. In the actual show, this arrangement makes use of a unique blend of modern electronic timbres along with the classical Chinese stringed instrument Erhu, which is played brilliantly by Lei Qiang.
This piano/vocal arrangement of Gamelan beautifully captures the essence of Benoit’s arrangement, and highlights the building and structure as it develops. Add some percussion and even a western violin and it would be possible to create a beautiful recital ready arrangement.
I was absolutely blown away when I watched Ka for the first time during an invited dress rehearsal prior to opening. This song, Pageant, was incredibly exciting to hear live, and this arrangement on Sheet Music Plus is one of the best arrangements of Cirque du Soleil sheet music I’ve seen for piano. It captures the excitement and energy of the original in a playable and interesting piano/vocal arrangement.
As with the aforementioned arrangement of Gamelan, it would be a simple matter to also add a vocalist and percussionist to transform this arrangement into a performance ready piece simply by using the information available in the sheet music. Or, it could be used to simply enjoy playing the beauty of the original composition.
This selection is from one of my favorite Cirque du Soleil composers, Jean-Francois Cote. Jean-Francois is a buddy of mine from when I lived in Los Angeles, and he was the music director on the “O” show prior to my arrival there. He has an excellent ear and sense for orchestration, and crafts his songs and compositions beautifully. L’Innocent begins as a small chamber music piece and evolves into a full sounding epic symphonic arrangement. The piano/vocal arrangement available on Sheet Music Plus captures these qualities incredibly well.
Having seen some of the simplified easy piano versions of this repertoire, and based on my experience as a musician on “O” for three years, I can confidently say that the downloads available on Sheet Music Plus are some of the best versions of Cirque du Soleil sheet music available to the general public. Whether you’re learning this music for fun, for performance, or even to prep for an audition for Cirque du Soleil, this sheet music will be an excellent resource. There are many other selections of Cirque du Soleil sheet music available online from Sheet Music Plus which are also extremely well constructed and I’d highly recommend checking them out too.
Best Cirque du Soleil Sheet Music (available from Sheet Music Plus)
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