Sequences Are Schmaltzy

Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies has opened on the West End, and the reviews have been mixed. To summarise:

None of the Critics Like

  • The book of the show
  • Glenn Slater’s lyrics

Some of the Critics Like

  • Lloyd Webber’s tunes
  • The set

All of the Critics Like

  • The half-woman, half-skeleton thing that pushes a trolley

And there’s been a little brouhaha over Lloyd Webber’s borrowing of his title tune. Not from himself, which is well-known – the melody started life in The Beautiful Game as:

It was later trotted out, with a Puccini arrangement and a different (but no better) lyric, as the first song from the Phantom sequel:

Then it was sent back for a slightly less disastrous lyric and some semi-formal work attire:

But the brouhaha has been over this – fans of Adolph Deutsch’s score for Billy Wilder’s The Apartment were quick to notice the similarity in the opening phrases:

Borrowings aside, I don’t think anyone has yet pointed out the obvious:  Sequences Are Schmaltzy. If you like your first four notes, and decide to repeat their pattern exactly, only a bit higher, you’ve taken your first unbrave steps toward schmaltz.

Adolph Deutsch wrote a schmaltzy, throbbing love theme, and he wrote it for a film that is decidedly neither. Clever Adolph.

Lloyd Webber wrote a schmaltzy, throbbing love theme for a schmaltzy, throbbing show. Lazy Andrew.

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One thought on “Sequences Are Schmaltzy

  1. This is wonderful, Peter. I saw the show on West End, and watched The Apartment on the plane on the way back to Australia (coincidently).

    I too liked the half lady, half trolley, and the big skeleton that played the worst song in the show by banging on some pipes. I imagine this is how Lloyd Webber wrote it too.

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