The song of the day for Sunday, July 12, 2015 is “All The Things You Are.”
About This Song
“All The Things You Are” was written by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein for the 1939 musical Very Warm For May. In American Popular Song, Alec Wilder considers it to be one of Kern’s finest songs and with good reason. It’s a beautiful tune and Hammerstein’s lyrics are excellent.
About This Version
Tony Bennett has only recorded this song once: in 1962 for his legendary concert at Carnegie Hall. It is the third song in the show, following yesterday’s song of the day, “Just In Time.” He sings this song with its gorgeous Kern melody so beautifully.
The lyricist of today’s song, Oscar Greeley Clendenning Hammerstein II, was born 120 years ago on July 12, 1895 in New York City. His family was prominent in the New York Theater, though his father wanted his son to study law. Hammerstein soon dropped out of Columbia to pursue a career in theater. Early on, he worked with Otto Harbach, with whom he wrote his first musical, Always You, in 1920.
Perhaps his greatest accomplishment in his early career was the 1927 musical Show Boat, written with Jerome Kern. This musical was a significant contribution to the American Musical Theater, as it was not merely a “musical comedy,” but a serious work with music.
The second stage of his career began in the early 1940s, when he began his collaboration with Richard Rodgers. Rodgers and Lorenz Hart had begun work on an adaptation of Green Grow The Lilacs, but Hart was unable to complete the project. Thus, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein began their partnership with the 1943 musical Oklahoma!, followed by musicals including Allegro, Flower Drum Song and The Sound of Music.
Hammerstein was a mentor to the young Stephen Sondheim, who was a neighbor. Sondheim has written eloquently of his admiration of Hammerstein, including this:
After the Rodgers and Hammerstein revolution, songs became part of the story, as opposed to just entertainments in between comedy scenes.
Those of us who love the musical theater owe our gratitude to Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, who turned musical comedy into one of the greatest American art forms.
” All The Things You Are,” as well as Tony Bennett At Carnegie Hall, is available from iTunes.