Review: Frederick Wiseman’s gorgeous ‘A Couple’ brings the words of Sophia Tolstoy to life
If he had a signature tune, it would be “La Vie En Rose,” by Frederick Wiseman.
The pianist, composer, arranger, and music professor from Vermont, and his wife, the novelist Anne Wiseman, were married for 54 years until his death, in 2009. They have a son and a daughter, and after his death, Anne continued to write, and they turned the family home into a performing arts center, making it possible for Anne and her daughter, Rachel, to do this.
So I was thrilled and honored, along with everyone else, when Anne got in touch with me, in a somewhat surprising way, and asked me if I would be willing to write a review of one of Frederick’s most beloved works, A Couple. And I said yes, I just might do it. So I jumped right in.
I did not read the book, having to wait until Anne got a copy for me to read. I must say that I found it both engrossing and an engaging read. The language is so beautiful, and Anne and Frederick were able to tell this story with just the right mix of humor, pathos, and lyricism. And when Anne gets on stage and sings, her voice has a wonderful range.
I can’t think of any way to describe the music that Anne wrote so masterfully, and in just her voice. It should be heard, and can be found on YouTube, and on iTunes (and the Amazon website) where you can also find all the other works she wrote. The two pieces I’ve chosen, the “Tears on You” Suite and her duet with her daughter Rachel, should be listened to.
You can purchase A Couple by Anne and Frederick, a book available through booksellers and the website of Anne and Rachel Wiseman.
Anne and Frederick have also written the musicals “St. Louis” and “Little Women and Little Men” with Rachel, and they are very generous in making sure that they can tour and write new works as well. You can see a video from their performance in 2010