Tuesday, April 12, 2005

"The Impossible Dream" from Man of La Mancha

This definitely suits my mood and emotional state tonight. Actually, it goes pretty well with the past 6 or 7 years of my life.

"The Impossible Dream" from Man of La Mancha. Performed by Brian Stokes Mitchell on the 2002 Broadway Cast Revival CD. Composed by Joe Darion and Mitch Leigh.

I was fortunate enough to see this live on Broadway about 2 years ago. Brian Stokes Mitchell was fabulous. This song was incredibly moving... if I remember correctly, I cried. I also got lucky enough to meet Brian Stokes Mitchell outside the stage door after the show. He signed my Man of La Mancha poster. Oh... and the casting agency I am interning at in the fall... they cast that show. Just to throw that out there :-) Anyway... here we go.
First of all, Brian Stokes Mitchell's voice is phenomenal, and perfect for this part. The first 2 verses basically just use the same chord progression over and over again. There are echoes of the vocal line in the accompaniment. It is a cool sounding accompaniment... the rhythms and the sound of the orchestra is very Spanish... as is the whole show. But it is still neat. At the refrain, the accompaniment starts becoming a little more heroic sounding. The trumpets come out a little bit, and the dynamic increases a little bit. The voice line also gets more daring as far as the notes that are sung.
One of my favorite moments in the song is after the phrase, "when I'm laid to my rest." Everything comes to a halt, there is a break, and he comes back in with, "and the world will be better for this." It is such a thoughtful and reflective moment. It actually happens twice, and the second time is the best. He sings it piano, and at a much slower tempo. The effect of this is so moving... you can just hear the honesty in his voice. It wouldn't be nearly as effective without the break.
At the key change, everything just becomes bigger and more dramatic. One of the greatest things (besides BSM singing this part) is the drum beat. It sounds like a drum beat in a march... it is just so determined and brave, and fits the mood of the piece PEFRECTLY.
The piece ends with the line, "to reach the unreachable star." On "to reach" the trumpets play this great fanfare... and then he sings "the unreachable" accapella. SO moving. The orchestra comes back in on "star". The drums continue with the great march like beat, and the trumpets go crazy and play under his amazing sustainted last note.
I have to post the lyrics to this, because they are very inspirational... and fit my state of mind beautifully. I guess I wanted to write about this more to talk about the mood than the music itself. It makes you feel that no matter what your circumstances or abilities, you can accomplish anything if you really want to. I don't know if this is really true... but it is what the music envokes in your emotions. And I sure wish it could be true. Anyway, here are the lyrics:

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star
This is my quest, to follow that star, no matter how hopeless, no matter how far.
To fight for the right without question or cause,
To be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause.
And I know if I'll only be true to this glorious quest,
that my heart will lie peaceful and calm when I'm laid to my rest.
And the world will be better for this;
That one man scorned and covered with scars still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars.

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