Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Move On

Have I ever told all of you how much I love the composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim? I'm not sure I have. Well, I do. I remember, when I was unhappy at an old job I had so many years ago, I used to study Sondheim lyrics. I used to marvel over A Little Priest, from the musical Sweeney Todd, which if you have some time, is worth a look and a youtube search to take a listen. When an enraged barber slits the throat of a man who came in for a shave, there's the question of what to do with the body. Mrs. Lovett, the friendly meat pie maker has a brilliant idea. After all, she needs the meat... :-)

The song turns into a commentary on social order, imagining what different members of society might taste like, and the rhyming schemes and double entendre in the song are nothing short of brilliant.

Today, I was listening to a favorite song from Sunday In The Park With George, a musical about a fictionalized George Seraut painting his masterpiece "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Grande Jatte" (photo above). The lyrics are just what I needed to hear today. So many times we worry about the things we create, we find ourselves stuck.

Here are some excerpts from this beautiful song (from one of only eight musicals ever to win a Pulitzer)

"Stop worrying where you're going, move on.
If you can know where you're going, you've gone.
Just keep moving on."

"Stop worrying if your vision is new.
Let others make that decision . . .they usually do.
You keep moving on.
Look at what you want.
Not at what you are.
Not at what you'll be."

"Anything you do, let it come from you--then it will be new.
Give us more to see."

In my head I always sing: Give us more to read...

Painting by George Seraut


  1. Strange, for me seeing that image of the painting. Tom received a greeting card last week bearing that image and containing 'get well' wishes. We normally leave greetings cards up a few days then ditch them into the recycling. Husband however, said, 'Leave that one; it's a nice picture.'

    Sweeney Todd is great! Ah yes, Mrs Lovett and her meat pies....

    Hope you have stopped worrying and have moved on. Best wishes.

  2. I need to pay attention to the first line...

  3. Oh, very nice reminder for today.

  4. Thank you for your musical suggestions.

    The painting, which I know well, was first shown to me when I was at school. The teacher described it in words ... and then told to paint it. We none of us did well. She was cross, but I fear that it was her inability to put across the essence and mood of the painting. We were allowed to see it on conmpletion of our own efforts ... and I never quite understood what the exercise was about.

    What strange memories posts dig out of us!!

  5. Nice post. I love Sondheim, too, and Sunday In The Park is one of my faves. I like Sondheim for the mood his songs put me in and, while I have listened carefully to the lyrics, I've never REALLY listened to them in any particular context. Thanks Melissa because the next time I do I will and I'm sure his musicals will have even more meaning for me.