Thursday, December 30, 2010

"New Acquaintance" -- Lyric for New Year's


This is my lyric to a melody composed by Bert Seager. We think of it as an alternative to Auld Lang Syne. Wishing you health, happiness and peace in the coming year


New Acquaintance

Let us raise up a glass, the cup of kindness,
Now, as the time draws near
We are gathered in hope, we gather in gladness
To ring in the start of the year.

Yesterday’s sorrows are too much with us
Much as we wish they would pass
Love is the answer to every question
Love is the answer that lasts

As the old year departs, we pause and wonder,
Where did the hours go
Did we greet the sun and welcome the showers
How did our gardens grow?

These are the moments for reminiscing
Stories to share and relive
Savor the memory of time passed wisely
As for the rest, forgive
Let us raise up a glass, the cup of kindness,
Brought by our gentle host
Numbering our days, counting our blessings
All things that matter most

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Finishing the Hat

December 25, the newspaper delivery is late. I don't begrudge the delivery man a later morning,and in fact today I should thank him for it.

I was between books and knocking around the house looking for something to read with my coffee and picked up Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) the new book by Stephen Sondheim that I gave Jim for Hannukah. The books contains more than lyrics from his many songs and shows. The subtitle continues: with attendant comments, principles, heresies, grudges, whines and anecdotes. 

Mr. Sondheim is sort of a secular saint in my house. His acts are prodigious and mostly miraculous to Jim, Emilia, and me. And as an aspiring lyricist, I read the book as he intended it: as curriculum. Of course, this book is not just for people who want to put words to music. As he writes, "Choices, decisions and mistakes in every attempt to make something that wasn't there before are essentially the same, and exploring one set of them, I like to believe, may cast light on another."

I find not only light but also inspiration in this kind of exploration. I'm often flummoxed by what to write about in this blog. So I'm going to try and write about the experiences, books, conversations, movies, etc., that inspire me. I hope the discipline of this attempt will remind me to pay better attention to what does that. Maybe it will alert you to what fills you with wonder, too. Whoever you are, whatever you want to do.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy New Year, December 16 at Club Cafe, Boston.

Join me on Thursday, December 16 at Club CafĂ©, 209 Columbus Ave in Boston, for performances of tunes by Bert Seager with  lyrics by me. Thanks to cabaret master, Dane Vannater, six of our songs will be performed, including a world premiere of “New Acquaintance,” a song for the New Year.  The music begins at 8 pm with open mic; our songs will go on around 9:30.

I’ve never enjoyed any writing project more than this. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of working with jazz pianist/composer Bert Seager on a series of tunes that were recorded under the title REQUITED.
http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=7667821

Last year, we collaborated on “New Acquaintance,” a lovely melody with words that hit the same emotional notes as “Old Lange Syne.” Local cabaret master Dane Vannater fell in love with this song and indeed with the whole Seager/Diamant “oeuvre.”

Dane will be singing two tunes, including “New Acquaintance,” which has never been performed before.  http://www.danevannatter.com/

He will be joined by the gifted Rebecca Shrimpton, http://www.rebeccashrimpton.com/, the beautiful voice on the REQUITED CD.

My dear friend, the talented singer (and soulful cantor) Lorel Zar-Kessler, will also appear to sing “Open Book.”

David Sparr will be at the piano.

Hoping to see you there.