Perpetual Happiness is a reworking of the opening duet from Stephen Sondheim’s Passion, sung by two lovers who will not end up staying together. I am fascinated at how Sondheim has written a perfectly realized romantic duet while simultaneously undercutting the permanence of that love, embodying both the devotion and the falsity in the relationship. I used nothing but the notes of the original piano-vocal, arrayed as a virtuoso moto perpetuo for Tony as a way of exploring and illuminating how the musical materials of the original create their subtle commentary on the illusions of superficial romantic love.
Perpetual Happiness is part of pianist Anthony de Mare’s project Liaisons: Re-Imagining Sondheim from the Piano.
The score is available here. Tony’s ECM recording is available here.
Perpetual Happiness is also part of my ongoing project A Book of Days. You can visit 2 October to hear Thomas Feng’s recording of the piece, which you can also purchase here.
Also, I wrote an essay about the piece that’s available at the bottom of this page.
- Instrumentation: piano
- Ensemble Size: solo
- Duration: <5 minutes
- Electronics: No Electronics
- Video: No
- Project(s): A Book of Days
- Year: 2012