Have you ever read the book "The Secret Garden?"
It's a really lovely story, more geared toward children, but nevertheless moving. Lucy Simon must have thought so too, because she put pen to paper and wrote the music for the musical adaptation. Lucy Simon is Carly Simon's sister and a fantastic songwriter. I've never seen the musical, but I listened to the recording all the time growing up - my sister and I would even put on a two-woman show and play all the characters and sing all the songs together. It was a blast.
The story, though, is not a light-hearted one for the most part. In this song, Lily's ghost, a woman who passed away years ago, sings to her still-living husband about her love for him and why she still feels guilty for having left him alone. As he is a hunchback, the fact that a woman as beautiful and charming as Lily could love him was unbelievable; when she died, he lost everything, including his confidence in himself.
Singing this is not easy; vocally, it isn't too difficult, but emotionally it's hard not to imagine speaking to my own husband if, God forbid, something were to happen to me. The reason this song is so affecting is because we don't often imagine the pain of the person who passed away, who sees the world from beyond and hopes that everyone is well. There's a reason that the play "Our Town" is so emotional - it's a similar situation.
The way that Lucy Simon writes this song is brilliant because she begins with almost nothing happening underneath Lily's melody; it isn't until she addresses her husband directly, saying that she feels his pain and can't ask him to move on but that he has to do it himself, that the full orchestra comes in to support her voice. That's exactly when Lily would need the support of the orchestra. Then, as she asks for his forgiveness, the vocal line gets higher, which sounds more like she's pleading with him. She wants him to move on.
What do you think of this song? Have you heard of this musical? Let me know in the comments!
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