I think there were two very questionable assertions in Tom Sutcliffe’s rather sour obituary of Stephen Sondheim (28 November). Few would agree that songs like Send in the Clowns, Someone in a Tree, Who’s That Woman? and Liaisons are more effective detached from the context of the shows for which they were written.
Surely the opposite is the case. Continuing the revolution in music theatre begun by Sondheim’s mentor, Oscar Hammerstein, they rise out of and enrich the narrative text.
Also, it is hard to believe that anyone who has got to know A Little Night Music, Merrily We Roll Along, Pacific Overtures or Into the Woods could think that the storylines “lacked humanity and affection”.
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