Monday, May 2, 2011

Relationships in Song

I began my college career studying musical theatre and it remains one of my great joys in life. Alas, I'm not a great actor! Nonetheless, I still listen to the soundtracks and have lately been noticing songs that tell relationship stories. Here are a few of them:

Analysis, Angst, and Hope?

"Now - Later - Soon" from Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's 1973 masterpiece
A Little Night Music gives us an ear into the personal musings of three family members. Fredrik, husband and father, wonders, as only an attorney can, whether or not he should attempt to ravish his young, and still virginal, wife, or just take a nap. Henrik, his son, a seminary student who's only a year older than his new step-mother, laments the fear that his life will never truly begin, and Anne, Fredrik's bride, hopes that soon she'll come to desire her dear, if old, husband. A song of four sections, each character has a solo, the lyrics and melody of which finally overlap into a full and luscious layering of passion unrequited and unexpressed. Beautiful.

20/20 Hindsight.

"I Know Him So Well" from
Chess presents a duet between the wife and mistress of the top-ranked international chess player. Each has fallen for him, and - looking back - can see that he was never a one-woman man. But they fell first, and now here they are, falling apart. Someday I'll perform this duet, I swear! It's a gorgeous moment of recognition.


"Light my Candle" from the award-winning musical
RENT allows us to listen in on the first introduction between the characters of Roger, a struggling composer and rocker, and Mimi, an erotic dancer. Mimi playfully walks the line between flirting and seduction, and leaves Roger bewildered and wanting more. What fun!

M. Makael Newby, 2011 - All Rights Reserved -

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