Andre Kostelanetz Musical Comedy Favorites
When people speak about jazz, they may mean anything from a blues sung by Bessie Smith to an involved movement for a full symphony orchestra by George Gershwin. Somewhere between these extremes, there is music which has been created for the musical comedy stage by some of America’s liveliest musical minds. This collection includes what might be called the cream of these writers’ music, presented in full-dress attire supplied by Andre Kostelanetz and His Orchestra. COLE PORTER – Perhaps the most sophisticated of musical comedy composers, Cole Porter has achieved a notable success in such shows and movies as Kiss Me, Kate, DuBarry Was a Lady, Jubilee, Gay Divorce, Anything Goes, Rosalie, Born to Dance, and Panama Hattie. He was born in Peru, Indiana, and attended both Yale and Harvard. At the latter institution he first studied law, but later transferred to the School of Music. During the First World War he served with the French Foreign Legion, and later pursued his musical studies at the Schola Cantorum in Paris. He is equally facile with words and with music. JEROME KERN was born in New York City. His first studies of music were with his mother, and he later attended the New York College of Music in preparation for studies in Europe. In London he worked for Charles Frohman, gaining valuable experience in the theatre. On his return to the United States, he went through the experiences common to many American popular music writers, of serving as staff writer for a music publisher, music salesman, and pianist. He was responsible for many of Broadway’s and Hollywood’s greatest music successes, some of which include: Showboat, Roberta, Cat and the Fiddle, Sweet Adeline, Sunny, and I Dream Too Much. RICHARD RODGERS – Dick Rodgers is a name which was formerly connected with that of Lorenz Hart who died in 1944. It all began when they were both in Columbia University and Rodgers persuaded Hart to write the words and book for an undergraduate varsity show. They became an inseparable team, and produced such successes as the Garrick Gaieties, Too Many Girls, Connecticut Yankee, Present Arms, Spring Is Here, and Babes in Arms. In collaboration with Oscar Hammerstein II, Rodgers wrote the phenomenally successful hits South Pacific, Carousel, Allegro, and Oklahoma! VINCENT YOUMANS was one of the most constant hit writers for many years. He was a native New Yorker, and received his early musical education along classical and formal lines. During the First World War he was in an entertainment unit and began the writing of popular music. He was active on three fronts: on Tin Pan Alley, in Hollywood, and in musical comedy. His two most famous musical comedies were Hit the Deck and No, No, Nanette. IRVING BERLIN was born in Russia in 1888, but he has given America more typically American popular tunes than almost any other composer. “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” composed several years before the First World War, was followed by a steady output of equally successful tunes including the popular “God Bless America.” His songs have been heard in many musical shows including the Ziegfeld Follies, the Music Box Revues, As Thousands Cheer, Annie Get Your Gun, and Miss Liberty. ARTHUR SCHWARTZ is another New Yorker, born in Brooklyn. Before he started writing songs he spent much of his time on an imposing education, earning the degrees of AB, MA, LLB, and JD. He is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa. With such degrees, it was inevitable that he either teach English or practice law. He did both, the latter for four years. In 1926 he contributed half the score for Grand Street Follies and later wrote, with Howard Dietz, the First Little Show. Some of his other musical comedies were Stars in Your Eyes, Between the Devil, At Home Abroad, Three’s a Crowd, Revenge with Music, and Inside U.S.A. GEORGE GERSHWIN is probably the best known of all names in American musical comedy composition through such tremendous successes as Lady be Good, Girl Crazy, Of Thee I Sing, and Strike Up the Band. At thirteen he began studies of piano and harmony, graduating at the age of sixteen to the job of song-plugger with a music publishing firm. His output was large and his talents unusually versatile, ranging from popular songs and musical comedy music through opera, to works of symphonic calibre. Gershwin’s career came to an untimely end with his death in 1937, when he was in his late thirties. NOEL COWARD – Playwright, actor, and composer Noel Coward is often referred to as “The Wonder Boy” of the English-speaking theatre. Among his greatest successes in the field of musical plays are Bitter Sweet and Conversation Piece.
– Taken from the original liner notes for ML 4241
Andre Kostelanetz and His Orchestra