Category Archives: Music
This week on Facebook: Perhaps two of the thing that have stuck in my mind associated with music was listening to an aficionado who was in raptures about the tune ‘Begin the Beguine’ and someone writing about lyrics, especially opera, being transposed into english. I don’t remember the sources of either, but the aficionado thought that Begin the Beguine was the only complete story line reflected in the lyrics of a tune and the other writing that words set to music in a foreign language needed great care to be taken when translating the lyrics into english. The latter sentiments intimated in an article written on operavore:
It struck me that opera in English is particular, and often challenging, because our vowels are not always beautiful and unfriendly consonants tend to intrude. The Problem with Opera in English
I can’t answer the question, ‘Are Lyricists Poets?’ with so much obvious disagreement. Latouche and Sondheim clearly disagree but perhaps the question is a lot more complex than it first appears — Latouche may have thought the term lyricist to be somewhat demeaning.
His friend the novelist and composer Paul Bowles recalled that Latouche “made his living writing song lyrics, although he called himself a poet, and bitterly resented my calling him a lyricist.” Words and Shadows
Lyrics, even poetic ones, are not poems. Poems are written to be read, silently or aloud, not sung. Stephen Sondheim
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