Last Saturday, March 19, Symphony Space celebrated composer Stephen Sondheim's 75th birthday with a gigantic marathon of the composer's music called "Wall to Wall Sondheim." I was scheduled to perform in that concert as a member of the Juilliard Choral Union. Unfortunately, personal and professional conflicts did not allow me to participate in the event. The Choral Union sang during the last hours of the show, and closed the evening with "Sunday in the Park with George," arranged and played by composer Jason Robert Brown. Luckily, the entire affair was broadcast by XM Satellite Radio, and the buffs were quick to post it to Usenet. I downloaded and burned all twelve hours into one shiny CD-R -- don't you love the MP3 format?! -- and have plans to spend my Easter week vacation listening to the whole thing.
I hope this will be a great week of listening and discovery. Truthfully, though, I am riddled with fears of interruptions. I remember that funny, clever British comedy by Simon Gray Otherwise Engaged, where London publisher Simon Hench buys a recording of Wagner's Parsifal, and all he wants to do is unwind in his den with the recording and a glass of brandy. His prospects are dashed, time and again, by annoying interruptions.
I must say that the first two hours (I am listening to it as I blog) have already featured "Into the Woods," "Gypsy," "Company," and esoterica from Sondheim's days as an undergraduate in Williams College. It promises to be a very enjoyable marathon. Click here for a complete schedule of the event, with a list of performers and musical numbers.