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Life, Lent and Sondheim - A Most Illuminating Tale
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Robert Wells or Mr Waters
Date: 2.10 pm, Thursday 18th February, 2010
Subject: Life, Lent and Sondheim
Security: Public
Day one of lent passed worryingly quickly. A brisk day at work was interrupted by a search for field recorders. I'm going round and round in circles, and I could probably do with someone just telling me what to buy. Not that I can afford it at all.

Then a walk across the Hungerford to the NT to hear Stephen Sondheim talk. He's doing well for 79. I hope I look that good in fifty years time. He talked a lot about the history of musicals, lingering over the experimental nature of Oklahoma, Showboat and Allegro especially. His book of lyrics will be released later this year and I can't wait. He described Oscar as having rhyming poison (when you get so wrapped up in finding a rhyme that the syntax goes all melty) and a bird obsession. Lovely story about seeing the manuscript score for Porgy and Bess and having to walk away from it lest he cover it in tears.

Then we vacated the room for ten minutes and returned to watch the excellent Every Good Boy by Stoppard and Previn, a piece for actors and orchestra set in a Russian mental hostpital where a political prisoner shares a cell with an identically named man who believes he has an orchestra. An orchestra which we can see performing live through the walls of his cell. Spectacular, moving, provoking. My favourite sequence though is the lines about the triangle:

"Everyone is equal to the triangle. That is the first axiom of Euclid, the Greek musician. The second axiom! It is easier for a sick man to play the triangle than for a camel to play the triangle. The third axiom! - even a camel can play the triangle! The pons asinorum of Euclid! Anyone can play the triangle no matter how sick!"

From there, dinner in the BFI and home to compose song one. Not an auspicious start to the project. Photos and songs will go up here a few days late (I find it easier to upload as a batch) but songs will go up as soon as possible at bandcamp.

I'm not going to force myself to listen to a new album every day this year, but yesterday I did listen through Naomi Campbell's Baby Woman, which is in parts hilarious and surprisingly good. It sounds like an album I should have owned and loved in my early teens that now is a warming guilty pleasure. However, coming to it late, it's just a bit of silly pop.
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the_elyan
User: the_elyan
Date: 8.03 pm, Thursday 18th February, 2010 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I don't know a great deal about musicals, but I can imagine Sondheim would have been fascinating. If nothing else, Tom Lehrer rated him the best songwriter of all time, which is pretty high praise.
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Robert Wells or Mr Waters: Significant
User: weaselspoon
Date: 3.30 pm, Friday 19th February, 2010 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Significant
Damnit. I'd have asked him what he thought of Tom Lehrer. I find Sondheim a great composer, but an astounding lyricist. Turns out he's quite a nice chap as well.
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