“The important thing is to write something on paper,” says Stephen Sondheim. Lunch at FT Interview in 2010. “I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.” OK, cliché. I’ll fix it tomorrow. You get up in the morning and are there. It should be tackled. “
Celebrities in modern musical theaters were discussing writing lyrics, but found it more difficult than composing music. The results did not detect any struggle tied to the desk. SondheimDied on Friday, 91, was blessed for staging sophistication, wit, intelligence, and psychological depth, including: society When folly.. He saw the Broadway musical cliché as a frivolous parade of Hoofer and Belt and fixed it forever.
Sondheim was born in New York in 1930. He grew up as the only child of a Jewish family living in an apartment overlooking Central Park. His father Herbert made a luxury women’s dress whose design was provided by his mother Janet. It was a materially comfortable, but emotionally cold childhood. After Herbert departed for another woman, he was taken to his mother to live in Pennsylvania.
Janet, called Foxy, was an unloving presence in his life. She once told Sondheim that she regrets giving birth to him. He found a warmer surrogate parent among the famous Broadway lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II nearby.Co-author Oklahoma! When South Pacific After Sondheim became interested in musicals, he became his mentor. He wrote the first 15 years old.
Hammerstein, along with composer partner Richard Rodgers, has added new complexity to the musical theater. Sondheim took this process to several more stages.His break came when he successfully auditioned for Leonard Bernstein’s lyricist. Westside story, Opened on Broadway in 1957. The ballad “Maria” showed off his keen ear for the musicality of the language. It is a love song to find “the beautiful sounds of the world in one word” which is the name of the famous heroine.
He was another Broadway hit, a lyricist in the 1959s Gypsy: Musical Fable, Composed by Jule Styne. Sondheim also began composing, not wanting to be a pigeon hole as Wardsmith.His first musical in both roles was a flashy comedy Interesting things that happened on the way to the forum.. The Vaudeville Performer’s delight, first staged in 1962, was replaced by more dangerous topics and more subtle ranges in later works.
First performed in 1970, society He adapted that middle-aged New Yorkers couldn’t enter into a romantic relationship. folly (1972) was about unfaithfulness and a collapsing marriage.The range of his story is the Victorian soap opera (1979s) Sweeney Todd: Fleet Street Devil Barber) Brothers Grimm’s fairy tale (1986s) Into the forest) And US Political History (1990s) Assassin).
His boldness in incorporating the stylized, fugitive form of the musical into the complex realm of real life was recognized early on: society It was praised by critics and won a Tony Award. But it turned out to be too bold for some. His work was misunderstood as emotionally cold and overly cerebral. “Half too clever” was a recurring dissent, and he felt he couldn’t explain the concept.
1981 Cheerfully we roll together It ended after 16 performances, one of the biggest flops in Broadway history. Since then, it has been re-evaluated as a major task. Sondheim, a constant innovator, occasionally had to wait for the world to catch up with him.
His writing style was versatile yet personal. He avoided the pitfalls of pastiche.He could write a shortper like this societySondheim admitted that “The Ladies Who Lunch,” which ended with the character singing the wide line “Everybodyrise!” With his arms crossed, was a standing ovation pitch. (The opening night audience was not obliged; the later audience was obliged.) However, his use of the melody was much more subtle than a typical Broadway musical. His song establishes a winding integration between music and sung words.
Sondheim, a lover of puzzles and murder mysteries, was pleased with a kind of rhyming brinkmanship. He once gasped Cole Porter with four rhyme schemes of dangling. But because of the splendor of his words, he despised bragging. Words and music had to be faithful to the character.
He came out as a homosexual in his forties, but preferred to keep his private life on his own. He is survived by her husband Jeffrey Romley. He personally showed a generous attitude, with no grand or voluntary attitude. Despite his estrangement from his mother, or perhaps because of it, he wrote a great role for women. He disobeyed Pat’s conclusion with a happy ending, but a sense of curious potential is pulsing throughout his work. In the words of “our time” Cheerfully we roll together: “This is where we started and what we can do.”
Stephen Sondheim, lyricist and composer, 1930-2021
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