The song of the day for Sunday, March 22, 2015 is “Being Alive.”
About This Song
Being Alive” is the closing song in the 1970 Stephen Sondheim musical Company, which ran on Broadway for 705 performances (one of which was attended by your author; it was her first ever Broadway musical). Company was nominated for fourteen Tony Awards and won six, including Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical (Hal Prince), Best Book of a Musical (George Furth), Best Original Music and Best Original Lyrics as well as Best Scenic Design (Boris Aronson). D.A. Pennebaker made a documentary of the recording of the original cast album, recorded by Columbia Records at the 30th Street Studio, that was released in 2006.
About This Version
This version of Being Alive was recorded for the 2004 The Art of Romance. For my money, I think The Art of Romance may be one of Mr. Bennett’s best-conceived albums. When listened to as a whole, it’s a remarkable emotional roller coaster about all aspects of love and romance. “Being Alive” has a similar placement in this album as it does in Company, the next-to-the last song, where the protagonist realizes that in order to be fully and totally alive, he must give himself up to love. In many ways, “Being Alive” is the next step after “The Good Life” in realizing what’s really important in life.
Being Alive was arranged by Lee Musiker and features Phil Woods on saxophone and Candido Camero on conga (Candido was featured on Mr. Bennett’s 1957 Beat of My Heart and also performed with Mr. Bennett at the 1962 Carnegie Hall concert).
The Year of Tony Bennett wishes Stephen Sondheim a very happy 85th birthday today. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of at least one of his songs from one of his scores. And I carry the last line from Sunday In The Park With George with me every day as well:
White. A blank page or canvas. His favorite. So many possibilities.
“Being Alive,” as well as The Art of Romance, is available from iTunes.