You are the promised kiss of springtime
That makes the lonely winter seem long.
You are the breathless hush of evening
That trembles on the brink of a lovely song.
You are the angel glow that lights a star,
The dearest things I know are what you are.
(The great saxophonist/composer Charlie Parker thought this was the most beautiful passage ever written.)
Some day my happy arms will hold you,
And some day I’ll know that moment divine,
When all the things you are, are mine.
More from that Kitty Carlisle-hosted 1993 TV special: The most beautiful song ever written sung in the classiest concert in the world. (Well, it’s the NY Philharmonic, right?) Orchestration by Robert Russell Bennett. Milton Babbitt, that champion of musical theater and Stephen Sondheim’s teacher, wrote an analysis of this song having to do with tritones and inverted fifths which I was never able to understand, but I don’t think it’s important. You’re welcome to take a crack at it here.
Oh when will I find you
And where will we meet
My gentle young Johnny
So steady and sweet
Oh when will you come for me
When will you take me away
You’ll see what I am
And you’ll know what I’ve done
And yet when you love me
You’ll be the first one
My gentle young Johnny
Shall we be married today…
Orchestration is by Irwin Kostal of Sound of Music fame, and who I should be blogging more about, as Kostal’s the first orchestrator I was ever aware of. This is an unusual melody, uniquely arranged, and would make a great audition piece.
Is your figure less than Greek
Is your mouth a little weak
When you open it to speak
Are you smart?
But don’t change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay, little valentine, stay!
Each day is Valentine’s Day.
He’s peaky, scrawny, blinky, his gray-green eyes lack luster; he’s got a facial tic, lousy posture, and hands like a hod carrier’s; his ears turn pink in the sun; his nose is an equilateral triangle; his famous cleft chin—supposedly his best feature—always looks to me to be slightly askew; his ultra-short mousy hair can’t conceal the fact he’s already going gray; he sweats like a stevedore on the podium; for the past few years he’s taken to wearing nerd glasses; and to top it all off, his lofty pronouncements on The Great American Songbook make me want to smack the back of his head like the whippersnapper he is and send him home with a note.
So tell me, how is it that this man has hit my heart with a bolt of lightning?
Is it his humanness that brings me to the music—or is it the music that brings me to his humanness?
(By the way, Herr Doktor Wilson: You say you like songs so much, but the words aren’t important? Don’t insult Larry Hart like that again.)