*Myths and Hymns* pt 2: “Work,” March 2, 2021
I watched the second part of *Myths and Hymns* online on March 2nd (it was live on February 24th). The first part was called “Flight.” This part was called “Work.” This is the creative team for the project: Music and lyrics by Adam Guettel Additional lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh Orchestrations by Don Sebesky and Jamie Lawrence New choral arrangements by Ted Sperling Production conceived, supervised, and conducted by Ted Sperling
It opened with a short chorus followed by a hymn-like solo by Anthony Roth Cosantzo, “Children of the Heavenly King.” Lovely song. Costanzo also directed the video, and the next video. The next song, “At the Sounding,” was an energetic number for Costanzo, Ailyn Pérez, Nicholas Phan, and the chorus. Fabulous music, very exciting. The three soloists didn’t really seem to have much to do. Costanzo, Pérez, and Phan are all extraordinary classical singers, if you’re going to write something for them, why not write something that really shows them off? “Build a Bridge” was a soulful ballad sung beautifully by Michael McElroy, sitting beside a babbling brook. This song featured some fantastic writing for electric guitar and electric bass. The video featured a woman knitting and dropping her knitting in the snow. I didn’t quite get that, but I don’t need to, I suppose. The video was directed by Ted Sperling. John Lithgow gave a spoken introduction to the next number, reading a poem about Sisyphus. The poem was goofy but he delivered it like it was good. That’s entertainment! The song about Sisyphus was sung by Daniel Breaker. The video was a cute animation showing Sisyphus rolling the rock up the hill (directed by Anne Kaufman, animation by Manik Choksi). “Life is But a Dream” was sung by Shoshana Bean. This was the best song in the segment, it was a gorgeous pop ballad. It gave me chills, which happens very rarely these days. Yes, I am very quickly moved to tears, but chills, that’s another matter. The video was mostly just her singing into a mic in a cabin (directed by Ted Sperling). “Every Poodle” once again featured Pérez, Constanzo, and Phan. The animation was really cool, with lots of marvelous animated line drawings of poodles, surrounded by dots and bubbles. I make it sound kinda dippy, but take my word for it, it was cool (directed by Doug Fitch, animated by Tommy Nguyen). But once again the trio of soloists were underutilized. But the song was fantastic, it had a great beat, some funky rhythms, a nice balance of singing and instrumentals, and a sure sense of what it was doing. It gave a rousing finish to the segment.
I'll make an overarching comment about the whole project and say that Adam Guettel is the star of the show. The music is so strong, he is a really gifted composer.