Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Romantic Sensuality

"Oh, Moon, grow bright! And make this endless day endless night!"
Courtesy NASA
Yeah, I'll probably get in trouble for this one.

Some of you may recall a couple of weeks ago when my wife left town for a few days and I made the lachrymose mistake of listening to the musicals Carousel and West Side Story. This morning I woke from a strange dream with both Shakespeare's Falstaff (Prince Hal's good friend) and Prospero (from The Tempest) quoting Stephen Sondheim with the line in the above NASA caption. It must mean something.

Last Sunday after church, my wife and I watched the recording from that day's Mo-Tab Choir broadcast in which they sang, you guessed it, Tonight from West Side Story. I found that a moving while somewhat odd choice for the Choir on Sunday morning. With the full romantic and rather sensual lines. I think it was the imagery of Sun, Moon, and Stars of Heavenly Glory that got it approved. Here's the full lyric from the duet, and later, Tony and Maria in the quintet:
Tonight, tonight, It all began tonight, I saw you and the world went away.
Tonight, tonight, There’s only you tonight, What you are, what you do, what you say.
Today, all day I had the feeling A miracle would happen -- I know now I was right. 
For here you are And what was just a world is a star Tonight!
Tonight, tonight, Won't be just any night, Tonight there will be no morning star. Tonight, tonight, I'll see my love tonight. And for us, stars will stop where they are.
Today The minutes seem like hours, The hours go so slowly, And still the sky is light . . . Oh moon, grow bright, And make this endless day endless night!
Tonight, tonight, I'll see my love tonight. And for us, stars will stop where they are. 
Today the minutes seem like hours. The hours go so slowly, And still the sky is light. Oh moon, grow bright, And make this endless day endless night, 
Whew! Explain yourself, Mo-Tab Musical Director!

Well, here's my take.

After nearly 36 years of marriage I can say that the physical, sensual part is no less important than it was at the beginning. It may be more so in learning that physical intimacy is deeper and more intrinsically connected to mental, emotional, and spiritual intimacy than it is simple sex. There, I used the "s" word. (Now my kids can all gross-out.)

The reason sex is so important besides the more than obvious basic human desire and biological need for reproduction, is that it is only experienced in its fullest form in a long-lasting, trusting, and intimate relationship involving so much more than the physical and biological. I am not there yet, still ever so thankful that we are on our way. And I think Sondheim and Bernstein had had some inspiration in this regardless of any of their own personal experiences that did not detract from this sentiment and deeper meaning.

For my part, I long for the day of endless light with my dear wife, "and what was just a world is a star!"

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like someone wants to do like "Sister Act", but only as far as the musicals Pres Monson has shown approval of.


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