It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single novel in possession of a large readership must be in want of a musical adaptation. However little known the feelings or views of the author, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of lyricists, composers, and filmmakers, that it is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their agents. Last night, about 3,000 Rochesterians attended a concert performance of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I was among them, and I’m happy to report that the musical achieves the dynamism of the book. The pace and the singing were most excellent.
The show’s greatest strength is in the lyrical, often operatic writing and well-crafted orchestration. What might be saccharine brushes tenderness, especially in duets and ensemble pieces. (For the truth of every thing here related, I can appeal to the testimony of RPO President Charlie Owens, who, during intermission, expressed his admiration for the deft orchestration.)
I had the privilege of interviewing writer Alex Ross of The New Yorker last Friday. His new book, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, a cultural history of music since 1900, was named one of the top ten books of 2007 by The New York Times and various other publications. Heâ€™s a clear and vivid writer, and I will die happy if I ever write something one percent as illuminated and coherent as his book.