For a very long time now I have toyed with the notion of writing a musical. I hadn’t any theme or storyline, really, I simply thought it would be enjoyable to compose some pretty songs for people to sing. It probably grew first from my aspiration to try my hand at composing some sweet orchestral music–I have always enjoyed classical music, listening to records of the “1812 Overture” since I was a little boy, and my grandfather composed a number of pieces for the organ (which he played), so I supposed the composing gene must run in the family. I think fuel was added to this fire a few years back when I attended my first opera: Madame Butterfly. So beautiful. I was stunned that humans could create such a thing.
Well, yesternight while driving home from something I began singing to myself the words of a questioning love-song, and it was then my mind fastened upon a potential story for my musical attempt. I thought of Psyche and Cupid, and especially the retelling in Lewis’ Faces. Tell me, would that not open all kinds of beautiful, wondrous doors for exploration in song? I began playing with some of the questions and the dramatics involved, and jotted down a few lines toward a song (though by no means complete or certain):
(the woman lies next to her lover, a god who is shrouded in darkness…she has never been allowed to look on him, yet she longs to see him…she is holding a shaded lamp, debating whether she ought to break his command in order that she might see him…)
And how shall I adore a beauty I shall never see?
O, though my lover be a god, yet not enough for me…
I long to love him and in pledge to give my body free
But shall a heart be given where no loving gaze can be?
O light! Possess my love
O eyes, now make him mine
And may his beauty cast away all doubt within my mind!
(she breaks the lamp and light bursts across her sleeping husband and lover)
O god! My heart! My love! I cry–
I cannot look the more!
Such beauty here would dim the light which flows from heaven’s door!
What wondrous locks curl at thy crown,
What fair and noble brow–
My mortal heart collapses, my breathing quickens now–
O god! Possess thy love
O master, make me thine
I am yours…
This part, of course, where Psyche breaks open her lamp to reveal the god sleeping beside her–the god she is about to lose. The story is marvelous and deeply dramatic, and I think would make a beautiful tragedy in song, not to mention some powerful spiritual meaning in it. Any thoughts from you all?
not sure if it is a musical or not, but there is a play based on “till we have faces.” i totally think you should try yourself at the musical version. its one of my favorite stories, oddly enough.
p.s.~ seriously, you can’t post on my page?
well, i can’t find the play online anywhere. i know nashville’s people’s branch theatre did a version of it a few years ago. it is referenced on their website but i can’t find the archive where it describes the show. it is possible that it was adapted directly from the book by one of the people there. running an amazon music search pulled up a jazz record and an over the rhine tune, among other things.>>[phew: glad we got that worked out]