AUDIO EXCLUSIVE: Five Songs from Maury Yeston's Tom Sawyer – A Ballet in Three Acts

By Adam Hetrick
15 Aug 2013

The Picnic
"Act Three centers first on the trial of Muff Potter (who has been wrongly accused of Injun Joe’s murderous crime) and Tom's heroic testimony, which has exonerated the hapless Muff. All the townsfolk express their praise for Tom. Relieved that an innocent man has been released, they spread out quilts and blankets in the bright sunlight and set down for a town picnic. For this section I had to find a kind of musical storytelling where careful shifts of musical tone, in short strokes, can allow the scene, the location, and the atmosphere to evolve fluidly. It took a while before I realized that I should be using as little time as possible to connect the dots, because the shifts in action are so fast, but they make sense and are logical. Here, the picnic unfolds easily in effulgent light but then, just as quickly, a sun shower begins and even darker clouds and rain appear, causing everyone to fold up their blankets and escape. Tom and Becky immediately have to seek shelter, rushing for cover, and come upon the entrance to a cave. They warily begin to enter it, to get out of the rain…and the music tells us we are now on our way to the next episode: lost in the cave. And it all happens in under a minute and a half."

"The Picnic"