Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Beautiful Chord Progressions Kick Ass

Okay so, I was listening to THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA a couple of days ago, and had forgotten how much I love "The Music of the Night".


Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman
© Really Useful Group
I'm not sure why so many people hate this show.  Maybe it's backlash against the success the show has had.  Maybe people just don't care for Andrew Lloyd Webber.  Maybe it's a prejudice against specters.  Maybe the hate comes from the women who have actually had to sing this stuff.  But again, I love spectacle.  A subterranean lake with tons of dry ice, elaborate costumes and a crashing chandelier?  I'm in.  The music is big with a butt-load of strings and french horns, which I also love.  I'm sure many consider it just a bunch of style over substance -- I can understand that, but whatev.  That's the great thing about theatre -- there's room for everything, right?  Did I mention the subterranean lake and lush orchestrations?

Anyway, I love the end of this song.  Those dissonant chord progressions against the Phantom's note with that final resolve gives me chills every time.  I'm sure there's some technical musical term for that, but I have no idea what it is, and once I tried to read a book about music theory and got a headache.  I just know what gives me goosebumps, ya know?

Here's the last minute or so of the song.  The magic happens at 51 seconds in, but there's a lot of brassy magnificence before that.  If you don't get chills, there is something wrong with you.  Ha!  Nah, just kidding.

... kinda.

:) Enjoy!


  1. Personally, the reason I hate Phantom of the Opera is that it's filled with beautiful melodies that never go anywhere or develop or get more interesting, and the most awkward and clumsy lyrics I've ever heard, all tied together with fairly mediocre storytelling. I assume many people fall in love with the show partly because of the wonderful production design and lush orchestrations, but that doesn't make a theatre piece for me. I need great storytelling, not generic, emotionally shallow, interchangeable lyrics. I can't ignore the weak elements just because other elements are great. I really love ALW's earlier work because Tim Rice was just as talented as ALW. Together, they wrote adventurous, smart, original work. But ALW never had another collaborator like Rice -- except maybe for Eliot. :)

  2. Oh Scott, you're so picky! :) To me the story is basically one of unrequited love with a bundle of "backstage drama" and fanfare to go along with it. It's easy for me to get lost in the "wrapper" and not pay much attention to the "candy". I’m not as discriminating if you throw a bunch of big music at me. It's easy to forget about the storytelling when you're just listening to the recording too -- It's been years since I've seen it. I'm curious how the sequel, LOVE NEVER DIES, is received. Thanks for your comments, Scott!

  3. I had no idea this had already opened in the West End.

  4. Scott Miller, I totally disagree with you, because the Phantom of the Opera is sung with great vocal chord variations and simplicity is beauty. While you call it weak elements, I would say they're natural elements - the interchangeability of the lyrics just shows how the melody can embrace a universe of lyrics, which means it is classical and everlasting, and generations after generations can still benefit from it, just like Beethoven's Fur Elise among others. When you 'emotionally shallow, I rebut saying that the simplicity of a classical piece is what makes it one of a kind (classical), making the heart rejoice. We will always disagree and that is what makes unique, and that is what makes life keep going, but you do better by acknowledging the effort of others even when you can do better. All the best.