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  • Writer's pictureJeffrey Wilsor

"Overture" from The Light in the Piazza

Here we are, moving into the tail end of the summer season. As we look forward to the beginning of a new school year and a change in the light and the weather, let's let music accompany our transition.

Got a song you just love? Email to tell Jeff about it!


Today, Beauty for Beauty's sake. This is the Overture to one of my favorite musicals, The Light In the Piazza, almost certainly the most sophisticated score to hit Broadway in the 21st century. It's composed by Adam Guettel, the grandson of none other than Richard Rodgers (he of "& Hammerstein"). It's the story of a middle-aged mother and her young adult daughter on vacation in Florence from North Carolina. It's a mature examination of what makes up true love beyond the fable of "happily ever after." But I suppose that's neither here nor there today, as we're just hearing the instrumental overture.

From its awakening notes on the harp, if you close your eyes, I swear you can really see the "light in the piazza." Lush, flowing orchestrations capitalize on the complex beauty of Guettel's unconventional chord structures. At times it sweeps in such a way that I lose myself inside the multiple tonal centers, like gentle waves rolling and momentarily, delightfully disorienting me from musical reality into this wonderland of intricate, delicate harmony. I'm very aware that Guettel's complicated musical sense is not for everyone, particularly some who feel most comfortable when music is easier to analyze in the moment; however, I posit that if we put away our thinking ears and turn on our imagination ears, Italy comes to us! I hope you enjoy your brief visit!

(Incidentally, if this happens to hit the spot for you, the whole cast album is just luscious, available wherever you listen to music, and pretty easy to follow if you read a synopsisfirst! And for what it's worth, it's one of my favorite things to talk nerdy about when so engaged...)



God of Intricate Beauty,

Thank you for the power of music to conjure. May we claim it often.

We also pray for these, shared in worship this week:

  • For the people and places suffering in wildfires

  • Abby - for the successful treatment of Sharon's breast cancer, and for her family as they go through it with her

  • For the wonderful message from our guest Rev. Maggie Breen

  • Polly - for the free vet care program for underprivileged folks, for the courage to withstand anti-tax protestors on-site, and for the ability to discuss and offer vaccinations as well

Even in our separation, God, help us to feel the deep delight of your love for all. Amen.

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