Sunday, January 07, 2007

Coffee and Puccini

I have been having a lot of trouble putting up audio files, so as an interim measure I'm trying to put up audio-only files at (a video site, but it allows files to be posted with stereo sound). If I can keep this up it will make for much better "great lyrics" posts in the future. In the meantime, here is a song I've written about before, from that oddball favourite musical, Do I Hear a Waltz? (music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim):

"Thinking," the song I wrote about last year; I just think of it as a model of good theatre songwriting, with character development and plot movement incorporated into a three-minute song, and with music that doesn't just churn out a tune but makes dramatic points (especially with the device of inserting long pauses). In concept it's sort of like Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Twin Soliloquies" from South Pacific, except that the characters are confessing their thoughts out loud to each other, rather than soliloquizing.

The stars of the show, tenor Sergio Franchi and belter Elizabeth Allen, aren't quite in their best voice for this number -- it sounds like it was recorded rather late in the marathon session (cast albums were traditionally recorded in one long session the Sunday after the opening), but you can hear that they're both singing in the style Rodgers always insisted upon: very straightforward, very observant of musical values, no talk-singing. Sondheim has cultivated a similar singing style in his own shows.

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