Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bowlered Over

Listening to "A Bowler Hat" on the original Broadway cast recording of "Pacific Overtures". And I'm completely obsessed with two notes that the flute plays. (Actually, it's probably not a flute. A piccolo? Some Japanese instrument?) Anyway, it happens at precisely 1:27 in the track. The flute is carrying the melody in an instrumental passage, and it's lovely, rather wistful and sad. And just when you think the melody is going to conclude with the notes C#-G#-F-G, Sondheim instead gives us D-A-F-G. The D and A are shocking, they're so completely out of the tonality of the passage. But it's over so fast you don't realize what hit you. It's like a short sharp little stab of unease, just enough to keep you on edge about the changes that are happening to Kayama during the song. Brilliant.

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