> I meant the last 50 years literally: since 1958. West Side Story came
> out in 1957. There were a few melodious shows since, in the sixties.
> Sondheim's great tunes seem few and far between. I like "Send in the
> Clowns" and "Johanna. Webber the robber doesn't count. I'm sure there
> must be many nice tunes others are familiar with in recent shows that
> are worthy in a classical sense, but I don't know that repertoire well.
Great tune is a bit like great art. Everybody has his own idea of what
makes one. I happen to think the Rite of Spring is full of great tunes;
they're just not particularly hummable.
As far as Broadway goes, I always loved Bacharach's Promises, Promises,
underrated, in my opinion. Sondheim is full of marvelous tunes, beyond
the ballads, although he's capable of a great ballad: "Anyone Can Whistle,"
"Children and Art," for example. But I've always liked the opening to
Sweeney Todd, "A Weekend in the Country," "Ladies Who Lunch," "Broadway
Baby," etc., etc. There was also a marvelous show by Schwartz (no
relation) and Dietz which disappeared on Broadway called (I think) The
Gay Life -- about Vienna, rather than about sexual orientation (it was
a more clueless time).
I've always thought John Fogerty had a great ear for a tune, as do
Cheryl Crow and Gillian Welch, not to mention L&McC. And what about
those great Motown and Chess writers? As far as contemporary classical
composers go, I'd recommend Lee Hoiby, Arnold Rosner, John Adams, Eric
Ewazen, Judith Lang Zaimont, occasionally John Rutter (when he's not
simply knocking out the next album), Paul Schonfield, and many, many
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