chapter  Six
The Universe Will Tell You What It Needs: Being, Time, Sondheim
ByPaul Attinello
Pages 16

Time and music, music and time: though they are already bound to each other, people usually tie them together conceptually through their perceptions of pulse, beat, or the changing structures and shapes of musical rhetoric. These are ways that music can outline a particular structure of, or pattern within, time. However, it is also possible for music to refer to static views of time, apparently timeless states of being, and various constructions of eternity. It is evident that Sondheim and his librettist Weidman derived an idea of awareness from its most distinctive and well-known formulation in Japanese Zen. Pacific Overtures is a bizarre musical from several angles, but there are reasons why such a generic misfit could appear when it did. Sunday in the Park with George uses tropes of artistic vision—as well as meditations on memory, intuition, and love—to link the aesthetically eternal to the temporal and everyday, thereby showing their potential to illuminate each other.