musical interlude – steeped in sondheim

I’ve mentioned before my long-time, deep abiding love for the work of Stephen Sondheim. How all I have to do is put nearly any Sondheim show CD in the stereo, turn it on and fall into the words and the music as they lift me into an entirely different realm of beauty and pain and humor in a way no other composer’s work can do to me.

Well, next week is his 75th birthday and to celebrate the gentleman who runs the music mailing list to which I belong is sending out a different Sondheim song each day this week, highlighting a different aspect of the strengths of the composer’s music.

Yesterday he highlighted Sondheim’s ability to wrench the soul with stunning melodies and simple, exquisite lyrics. He excerpted two songs from the Tony-award winning, yet seemingly underappreciated show Passion: Loving You and No One Has Ever Loved Me. I’m listening to the medley now and feeling my heart swell with the music, the notes and instruments and voices carrying me above myself as that too-tender organ is twisted and tossed about.

And I’m very happy I’m in a stronger place right now. Because if I had listened to this a year ago, or six months ago, it would have devastated me.

GIORGIO
(spoken) Fosca, you have to face the truth.
Please.
You have to give me up.

FOSCA
(sung) Loving you
Is not a choice,
It’s who I am.

Loving you
Is not a choice
And not much reason
To rejoice.

But it gives me purpose,
Gives me voice,
To say to the world:

This is why I live.
You are why I live.

Loving you
Is why I do
The things I do.

Loving you
Is not in my control.

But loving you
I have a goal.
For what’s left of my life…

I will live,
And I would die
For you.
LOVING YOU

GIORGIO
(spoken) The letter from Clara…

FOSCA
(spoken) Yes?

GIORGIO
(spoken) It’s over. Finished.

FOSCA
(spoken) I’m sorry.

GIORGIO
(spoken) Sorry? I would have thought that you would be pleased.

FOSCA
(spoken) I don’t wish to see you sad.

GIORGIO
(spoken) I feel so much… but I’m not really sad.

FOSCA
(spoken) I thought you loved Clara.

GIORGIO
(spoken) I did love Clara. I did. But…

(sung) No one has ever loved me
As deeply as you.
No one has truly loved me
As you have, Fosca.

Love without reason, love without mercy.
Love without pride or shame.
Love unconcerned
With being returned —
No wisdom, no judgment,
No caution, no blame.

No one has ever known me
As clearly as you
No one has ever shown me
What love could be like until now.

Not pretty or safe or easy,
But more than I ever knew.
Love within reason — that isn’t love.

And I’ve learned that from you…
NO ONE HAS EVER LOVED ME


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