Richard Rodgers — The Music. American Composers. Part 2

I hand him a lyric and get out of his way.” —Oscar Hammerstein II on Richard Rodgers

Richard Charles Rodgers  was an American composer of music for more than 900 songs and for 43 Broadway musicals. He also composed music for films and television.

Richard Rodgers

He is best known for his songwriting partnerships with the lyricists Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II. His compositions have had a significant impact on popular music down to the present day, and have an enduring broad appeal.

The Great American Songbook, first published in 1972, contains what is considered the canon of American songs, meaning the best of the best from Broadway and Hollywood musicals. Six musicians had an entire chapter devoted to them. Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern and Richard Rodgers, whose partnership with first Lorenz Hart and later Oscar Hammerstein II was pretty much the foundation of American musical theater.

Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra: Tribute to Richard Rodgers:

Richard Rodgers

Rodgers was the first person to win what are considered the top show business awards in television, recording, movies and Broadway—an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony—now known collectively as an EGOT. He has also won a Pulitzer Prize, making him one of two people (Marvin Hamlisch is the other) to receive each award.

Richard Rodgers showed an early gift for music, and he could play the piano when only four years old. Like most aspiring songwriters of his generation, the young Rodgers hoped for a career in musical comedy. At that time, composing for the Broadway theatre was considered the top of the art form. There were no movies or radio, and most popular songs were introduced first on the Broadway stage. Like many of his contemporaries, Rodgers sought to realize his aspirations by writing scores for amateur shows.

Audra McDonald — Spring is Here! — Lyrics by Lorenz Hart. Music composed by Richard Rodgers:

Rodgers began his career collaborating with another Columbian. As a freshman student at Columbia College, he composed the music for the Varsity Show of 1920, with lyrics provided by a former Columbia journalism student named Lorenz Hart. The success of the show, “Fly with Me,” led to a twenty-year partnership between Rodgers and Hart, and to such classic songs as “Manhattan,” “Blue Moon,” and “The Lady Is a Tramp” from shows including A Connecticut Yankee (1927), The Boys from Syracuse (1938), and Pal Joey (1940). Hart’s deteriorating health led to the breakup of their partnership in 1940. Hart attended the opening of Oklahoma! on March 31, 1943, in New York, graciously telling Rodgers at the final curtain, “This show of yours will run forever.” Eight months later, Hart died of pneumonia.

A Theater in Manhattan and an Amphitheater in Harlem

Rodgers’s centenary in 2002 was celebrated around the world with books, retrospectives, performances, new recordings of his music, and a Broadway revival of Oklahoma! Rodgers left behind a legacy of more than 900 published songs, forty musicals, and numerous works for film and television.

I can always tell a Rodgers tune. There’s a certain holiness about it.” Cole Porter

Richard Rodgers (1902–79). Composer. Columbia College 1923.

Ethel Merman & Richard Rodgers

Marvin’s Comments:

  • Once they asked my mother who was her favorite composer. I was certain of her response: Marvin. But no. She said: Richard Rodgers.
  • –About Victory at Sea:                             “I’ve never written music for fiction or documentaries, but I think documentaries are wonderful. I love some of the music that they’ve done. When Richard Rodgers did “Victory at Sea”, it  was fantastic. Only Richard Rodgers could write that and get a hit song out of it. It was titled:“No Other Love Have I”.

 

 

No Other Love (Have I)   -  Composer: Richard Rodgers:

Richard Rodgers originally composed this tune (with the title “Beneath the Southern Cross”)for the NBC television series Victory at Sea (1952/1953). When Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II collaborated on Me and Juliet, Rodgers took his old melody and set it to new words by Hammerstein, producing the song “No Other Love”. The song has a tango rhythm (referred to by Rodgers as a “languid tango” in his autobiography, Musical Stages). (Read Lyrics for: “No Other Love”)

 

A Salute to Richard Rodgers:

Richard Rodgers…I mean, give me a break. Unbelievable…” Marvin Hamlisch

 

Read more about Richard Rodgers.

“Johnny One Note,” -  by the Greenwood High School Marching Woodmen, Greenwood, Indiana. music by Richard Rodgers (“Johnny One Note” is a 1937 show tune from the 1937 Rodgers and Hart musical Babes in Arms, where it was introduced by Wynn Murrary. Judy Garland sang it in the film version, released in 1939.

Richard Rodgers (1902–79). Composer. Columbia College 1923.

Richard Rodgers — A Tribute

 

Source: Team Marvin Hamlisch / The Music of Marvin Hamlisch


 

2 comments

  1. Rodgers and Hammerstein are two of musical theater’s best collaborators. The Sound of Music is the best known of their productions. J. Pitt

  2. Thank you for this publish! Excellent reading and very educative.
    I love the lyrics of the song by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II titled: It Might As Well Be Spring –And the way Nina Simone sings it. So Beautiful!-

    I’m as restless as a willow in a windstorm
    I’m as jumpy as a puppet on a string
    I’d say that I had Spring fever
    But I know it isn’t Spring

    I am starry-eyed and vaguely discontented
    Like a nightingale without a song to sing
    Oh, why should I have Spring fever
    When it isn’t even Spring?

    I keep wishing I were somewhere else
    Walking down a strange new street
    Hearing words that I have never heard
    From a girl I’ve yet to meet

    I’m as busy as a spider spinning daydreams
    I’m as giddy as a baby on a swing
    I haven’t seen a crocus or a rosebud or a robin on the wing
    But I feel so gay in a melancholy way
    That it might as well be Spring
    It might as well be Spring

    " title="Nina Simone" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">NINA SIMONE SINGS: IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING

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