Thursday, June 9, 2011

Celebrating Cole Porter

Cole Porter at Yale

The great Cole Porter was born 120 years ago today and we figured he's as worthy of a tribute as yesterday's composer, Robert Schumann. We can't think of a better baritone to celebrate with than Thomas Hampson, who has championed Porter's music and recorded an album of his songs entitled, "Night and Day." Here is what Hampson had to say about Porter in an interview:

Thomas Hampson's "Night and Day"
Robert Hilferty: What’s the distinction between American art song and the songs of Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and Jerome Kern?

Hampson: These are concert songs, in which a poem is set to music versus a lyric. There is no reason to make a qualitative difference. A song by Samuel Barber is no better than a song by Cole Porter or George Gershwin. They have different thrusts. But what they have together, however, is storytelling.

Cole Porter was an American composer and songwriter. His works include the musical comedies Kiss Me, Kate, Fifty Million Frenchmen, DuBarry Was a Lady and Anything Goes, as well as songs like "Night and Day," "I Get a Kick out of You," "Well, Did You Evah!" and "I've Got You Under My Skin". He was noted for his sophisticated bawdy lyrics, clever rhymes, and complex forms. He was one of the greatest contributors to the Great American Songbook. Cole Porter is one of the few Tin Pan Alley composers to have written both lyrics and music for his songs.

Just for fun, here is the great John Barrowman performing "Anything Goes," followed by Frank Sinatra singing "I've Got You Under My Skin."

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