I found this video of Stephen Sondheim teaching and directing the duet My Friends from his Sweeney Todd to be quite interesting. This piece has long been my favorite in the show – it’s just amazing, and then, to top it off, Jonathan Tunick’s orchestration (listen to the cinematic clip below) is beautiful.
The dramatic subtleties, and the way they are made manifest in Sondheim’s music and lyric are something to behold.
Now watch and listen to Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter on the same tune in the recent movie musical. It’s really Sweeney’s moment here, and Depp gets what Sondheim was going for.
Last Friday night Karen and I went to the movies and saw and heard Sweeney Todd.
It was fantastic.
It was horrible.
When we got home I tried to write about the show while the memory was still fresh for me, but I couldn’t put my finger on the essence of the experience until I spoke with Karen, who totally nailed it. I can’t do any better, so I’ll paraphrase:
You’re captured by the music – and then the music holds you there squirming while it forces you to go along for the ride.
It forces you to look at something you would ordinarily look away from.
It’s like being water-boarded or something. A near drowning experience. Exquisite torture.
Not exactly a high recommendation. But I agree.
Earlier this evening I saw a link to a story in the Washington Post about the personal use of legally – and I stress legally - purchased music files that simply made my bullshit detector shoot through the roof.
Now, in an unusual case in which an Arizona recipient of an RIAA letter has fought back in court rather than write a check to avoid hefty legal fees, the industry is taking its argument against music sharing one step further: In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.
The industry’s lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are “unauthorized copies” of copyrighted recordings.