Opening Lines in My Repetoire — Lost in the Stars

February 20, 2018

I’m going to share snippets of what I consider fine opening stanzas from songs in my repertoire. Only opening lines (or the verse that precedes the opening line) because these set up the entire number and are the best clue to the skill of the writer.

Here is my first selection:

Before Lord God made the Sea and the land,
He held all the stars in the palm of His hand,
And they ran through His fingers like grains of sand,
But one little star fell alone…

Lyricist: Maxwell Anderson
From the 1948 show, Lost in the Stars, based on Alan Paton’s novel, “Cry, the Beloved Country.”

In the show, this song is sung as an adult’s explanation of Life to a child. But, of course, it is really the exposition of the character’s heart, sung to the audience.

There are many fine recorded versions of this song by all the great singers of the 20th c.

“So Far” from Allegro (1947)

September 1, 2016
“So Far,” another number I’ve dusted off and brought back into my repetoire after many years. It originated in the long forgotten musical, Allegro (Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein II), which premiered in New York in 1947. Here sung brilliantly and beautifully by Billy Eckstine, also largely forgotten.
 
I never cease to be in awe of American performers of the 40s and 50s for the quality of their work, in idea, in form and in execution. This tradition we have — yes, it is an American tradition of song — is so wealthy and fertile that it can be readily mined for gold like this.
 

On a Wonderful Day Like Today

August 31, 2016
I added “My Kind of Girl” to the repetoire (you’ll know the Basie/Sinatra version) and learned to my surprise Leslie Bricusse wrote it.
 
Then I thought of that great show “The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd” and the marquees on Broadway declaring in a huge font ANTHONY NEWLEY I saw as a toddler in ’65 or ’66.
 
I’d forgotten about this wonderful song from the show — “On a Wonderful Day Like Today — also by Bricusse (and Newley), which I promptly put back in the repetoire.  It’s the first song he sings in this video.
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