Tuesday, September 22, 2015

#TwoForTuesday: Rodgers and Hammerstein


Lorenz Hart, who had suffered from depression, self-medicated with alcohol, and by the 1940’s he was drinking more heavily and would go missing for days at a time. His songwriting partnership with Richard Rodgers ended in 1943, though the two of them teamed up on a revival of A Connecticut Yankee late that year. Hart again went missing the night of the premiere, and was found ill with pneumonia in a hotel two days later. He was taken to the hospital, but died on November 22.

Rodgers, irritated with his erstwhile partner’s drinking and erratic behavior, teamed up with Oscar Hammerstein II in 1943 and together wrote the musical Oklahoma!. Hammerstein was already a seasoned songwriter and collaborator, having worked with Rudolf Friml (Rose-Marie), Sigmund Romberg (The Desert Song, The New Moon), and Jerome Kern (Sunny, Show Boat, Sweet Adeline, and Very Warm For May, which included the standard classic “All The Things You Are”), and he and Rodgers worked together until his death in 1960. They’re considered the greatest musical theater partnership. They wrote twelve shows together, including Carousel, South Pacific, The Sound of Music, and The King and I.

Our first song today is “I Enjoy Being A Girl,” sung by Nancy Kwan, from the 1961 film version of their 1958 musical Flower Drum Song.

Second is “My Favorite Things,” from 1959’s The Sound of Music. It became jazz standard when John Coltrane covered it on his 1962 album of the same name. This is Kelly Clarkson’s cover of the song, from her 2013 Christmas album Wrapped in Red.

Wikipedia, my go-to place for information like this, has a list of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s twelve musicals. Their music is so ubiquitous, I’m sure you’re familiar with at least one of them, and maybe all of them, or at least some of the music from them. That’s your Two for Tuesday, September 22, 2015.

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

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