Sunday, March 27, 2011

Love to Me

"Love to Me"
by Adam Guettel
from The Light in the Piazza (2005)

The day we meet
The way you lean against the wind
And do not know that you are beautiful
Or that anyone is watching you
This is what I see ...

And I notice how you hunger for surprise
And do not think that you are tall enough
Like you're standing on a mountainside alone
This is what I see ...

Oh, you're not alone ...

Now I see as I have never seen before
Since that moment in the square
When your hat is carried in the air
Just so you can chase it
Just so I can be there ...

This is how I know
This is what I see
This is love ...
To me ...

If love had words or could be expressed fully in music, the score to The Light in the Piazza would be it for me, and this song in particular.  It's hard to separate the lyrics from the tune in this beautiful song, especially the rapturous, floating final two notes and words.  This is the entire song, not a snippet ... and that's a fortunate thing since I held my breath throughout the full song both times I saw the show at Lincoln Center.  I guess that is what is truly meant by the word "breathtaking."  The show is a about a young woman who falls in love with a local man while she and her mother are vacationing in Florence, Italy, in the 1950's.  And how I sobbed through the entire musical each time I saw it ...

There are SO many things I love about this lyric.  Of course, its simplicity ... once again (and it's a lyric writing virtue that I will probably return to over and over).  There is an entrancing beauty in the economy of words, the short phrases, as Fabrizio, the young Italian man who falls for Clara, tries to explain what love "means" to him.  I also love the attention the composer and lyricist, Adam Guettel, gave to the semantic construction of the lines - never losing track that these words are sung by someone for whom English is a second language.  This has been particularly interesting to me since one of my unfinished plays, in fact the one I have spent the most time with, takes place in Salzburg, Austria, and has two foreign characters who speak in a hesitant English.

If you ever get the chance to listen to the cast recording of this musical, I would BEG you to do so ... I guarantee you will HEAR what love sounds like.

1 comment:

  1. You know my feelings on this show, and I agree 100% with everything you've written here! How I wish I could have had the privilege to see this production live. It's truly one of the most real, connected to true human emotion, shows that I think has been done in the last 10 years. Brilliant score and jaw-droppingly perfect lyrics. When are you directing the production where I play Fabrizio? :-)