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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world. To listen to KPAC 88.3 FM, simply open the player in the gray ribbon at the top of this page and choose KPAC: Classical Music.

Vernon Duke And Other Musical Royalty On KPAC's 'Art Of American Popular Song'

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Arthur Schwartz, composer of You and the Night and the Music

KPAC's "The Art of American Popular Song" approaches the end of the line (for the series, not popular song!) with this celebration of great craftsmen. Vernon Duke, Arthur Schwartz, Harry Warren, Kay Swift, Hoagy Carmichael, Vincent Youmans, and Kurt Weill are featured alongside Hugh Martin, who at the time of the original production was the only of the songwriting legends of the first half of the twentieth century still alive.

After six weeks of one composer, one episode, the horizon broadens with consideration of a group of songwriters less known but nevertheless inspired contributors to our Great American Songbook. These are songs we know, perhaps we can even sing the words, such as “April in Paris” or “Tea for Two.” But can you name the composers of those songs? Spoiler alert, if you want to puzzle a moment more - STOP! Read no further if you are one who never looks in the back of the book of crosswords for a clue. OK. The answer is Vernon Duke and Vincent Youmans. I'll leave it to you to match which writer belongs with which song.

When "The Art of American Popular Song" was initially produced in 2003-2004, the plan was to make it six episodes long. But as we came closer and closer to the sixth show, "The Art of Harold Arlen," we realized there were too many other craftsmen of popular song not yet mentioned. There had to be one more show. We called it the Final Coda, and it is this program which airs Sunday, June 4 at 2 PM, on KPAC and online at TPR.ORG.

Throughout this 2017 reprise of "The Art of American Popular Song," we have sought intersections of music and visual art in order to shine a spotlight on the current exhibition at the McNay's Brown Gallery of a show called “Broadway: 100 Years of Musical Theatre.” This week's inclusion of eight composers, each spinning numerous stage shows and movies, allowed us to find at least three intersections with the art at the McNay. 

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Credit James Baker
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Jody Blake, curator Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts, McNay Art Museum

The video which accompanies this article is not only a brief appetizer for this week's “coda” but also a chance to be introduced to various costume and scene designs displayed at the McNay. Jody Blake, curator of the exhibit and, more broadly, curator of The Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts speaks with a collector's enthusiasm of works by Jo Mielziner, Boris Aronson, and Raoul Pène Du Bois.

"The Art of American Popular Song: The Final Coda" can be heard Sunday afternoon, June 4, at 2 o'clock on KPAC-San Antonio. “Broadway: 100 Years of Musical Theatre” remains at the McNay's Brown Gallery through June 18.

Listen to selections from this episode with the Spotify player below:

The Art of American Popular Song, vol. 7

The Final Coda

 

Intro: Warren/Schwartz [18:05]

Harry Warren (Dietz): The More I See You (Nat King Cole, Capitol 48331)

Harry Warren (Mercer): Jeepers Creepers (Louis Armstrong, MCA 547846)

Arthur Schwartz:

Dancing in the Dark (Dietz) (Tony Bennett, Sony 57424)

That’s Entertainment (Dietz) (Garland, Capitol 27876)

New Sun in the Sky (Dietz) (Astaire, Golden Stars 64006)

Alone Together (Dietz) (Baker, Riverside 1135)

Alone Too Long (Fields) (McCorkle, Jazz Alliance 10034)

You and the Night and the Music (Dietz) (Torme, Polygram 543795)

 

Entr’acte 1: Alec Wilder [3:12]

Martin: The Little Boy Blues (Decca Broadway 641187)

 

Vincent Youmans [18:17]

Tea for Two (instrumental, Sony Legacy 60690)

I Want to Be Happy (Fitzgerald, Polygram 543076)

Hallelujah (Hit the Deck chorus, Rhino 76668)

More Than You Know (Clooney, Concord 4870)

I Know That You Know (John Pizzarelli, Novus 01241 63129)

I Want a Man (Ann Hampton Callaway, Painted Smiles PSCD142)

Tea for Two (Sinatra/Shore, Sony 48673)

 

Entr’acte 2: Kurt Weill [4:39]

Weill: My Ship (Singers Unlimited, Polygram 539130)

Kurt Weill (Nash): Speak Low (Fitzgerald/Pass, Pablo 2310 888)

Weill (Gershwin): Tchaikovsky and Other Russians (Danny Kaye, Sony 62869)

 

Vernon Duke [10:08]

Ages Ago (Previn, Contemporary 1769)

April in Paris (Harburg) (Sinatra, Sony 48673)

Autumn in New York (Dawn Upshaw, Nonesuch 79531)

Taking a Chance on Love (Latouche) (Ethel Waters, Legacy 58522)

 

Entr’acte 3: Kay Swift [6:27]

Buckle Down, Winsocki (Dearie, Verve 268702)

Kay Swift: Fine and Dandy Overture (PSCLASSICS 9419)

Kay Swift: Can’t We Be Friends? (Fitzgerald/Armstrong, Verve 517 898)

 

Hoagy Carmichael [7:28]

Skylark (Carmichael, Pacific Jazz 46862)

Stardust (Willie Nelson, Sony Legacy 065946)

 

Entr’acte 4: Jerome Kern remembered [5:21]

My Shining Hour (Sinatra, Legacy 65617)

A Fine Romance (Fitzgerald, Verve 825 669))

 

Entr’acte 4: Jerome Kern Remembered [4:47]

Dearly Beloved (Merrill, Verve 529 907)

A Fine Romance (Fitzgerald, Verve 825 669))

 

Hugh Martin [15:54]

Shady Lady Bird (Peggy Lee, Benny Goodman, Columbia/Legacy 53422)

Three Cheers for the Yanks (Rhino R2 72204)

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Garland, Rhino 71958)

The Trolley Song (Garland et al, Rhino 71958)

The Boy Next Door (Garland, Rhino 71958)

I’m Tired of Texas (Nancy Walker, Decca Broadway 641187)

 

Closing Credits

Youmans: Without a Song (Dorsey/Sinatra, BMG 68487)