I just finished reading Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”–yes, the 1300-page Russian epic! It took me 16 days to finish… thank you, isolation life.
This book has been on my “To Read” list for a long time, but it took a much higher place on the list after I became aware of Dave Malloy’s musical, “Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812,” which is based on a section from Book 2 of the novel. Over the course of this past week, as I’ve been nearing the end of the book, I’ve been singing through much of “The Great Comet,” and here we have a few selections from the show.
“Dust and Ashes” is Pierre’s big song early on in Act 1; Pierre is one of the main characters in “War and Peace.” A philosopher and a bit of a drunk stuck in an unhappy marriage that he found himself sort of suckered into, he spends much of the novel searching for some sort of meaning and happiness in life. Many times he thinks he’s found it, only to be disappointed by the solution later on. The song reflects some of his early journey on this road. (You’ll have to ignore my trash page-turning near the end–my book was being uncooperative and I was far too lazy to do a second take).
“No One Else” is sung by the character Natasha, who has recently become engaged to Prince Andrei, a soldier, who says they must wait a year before they can get married, as his first wife has just died in childbirth. He goes off on a trip (sort of a “I have to find myself” kind of thing, honestly), and Natasha pines and mopes about the house for his return. Spoiler alert, though, events transpire in the musical and the wedding doesn’t end up taking place. Regardless, here is Natasha singing about her love.
The final selection I’ve done from this show is “Sonya Alone.” Sonya, Natasha’s friend and cousin, is worried because of Natasha’s relationship with the bad boy Anatole (brother of Pierre’s wife, Helene), and vows to keep her friend from making the mistake of running off with him, ruining her relationship with Andrei and possibly staining her reputation for life. I dedicate this one to all of the people who I feel the need to protect… I doubt many of them know who they are, but the dedication stands.
*This post is the unofficial first in my “Sweatpant Sessions” series. The reasoning for the title should be obvious–these were all recorded at home in my den while I am sporting my quarantine uniform… except I’ve put a shirt on for all of the recordings.