I thought I’d tell you about some of the songs from the new Album starting with Our Love Is Here To Stay by George and Ira Gershwin.
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In 2007 I was asked to put a programme together of Gershwin for the Arundel Festival. I came up with the idea of taking his songs on a musical journey around the coast of South America, fusing the familiar tunes with exciting Latin colours and rhythms. We had a great time coming up with the arrangements and I did a lot of reading and research about Gershwin.
One of the best books I read was called Fascinating Rhythm (The collaboration of George and Ira Gershwin) by Deena Rosenberg, which really gave you a feel for this extraordinary man. It’s available in the UK now and here’s a link to get hold of it.
How I Fell In Love With “Our Love Is Here To Stay”
On the night of the Gira Con Gershwin concert, I sang this song “Our Love Is Here To Stay” as the encore. I can still remember the way I felt singing it at the end of this most enjoyable collaboration. Joss Peach (piano), Steve Thompson and I had put so much time into preparing the programme. I also felt I had developed a closer connection to the composer who had written so many wonderful songs. I explained this in my announcement and asked the audience to consider all the songs that were never written because of his untimely death.
The song was written by George and the lyrics by Ira for the score of the movie The Goldwyn Follies, which was released in 1938, shortly after George’s death. The song is performed in the film by Kenny Baker. The movie is not generally thought to be any good but Gershwin did win an Oscar for the musical score.
The song was originally titled It’s Here to Stay and then changed to Our Love Is Here to Stay and was finally published as Love Is Here to Stay. For years, Ira Gershwin said that he wanted to change the song’s name back to “Our Love Is Here to Stay, but felt that it wouldn’t be right since the song had already become a standard.
Here’s a clip from the original film with Kenny Baker singing – at the end he sings a top B natural!
It is generally thought that this was the final song that Gershwin wrote before his tragic death. In early 1937 George wrote to his cousin, “Henry, this year I’ve got to get married” and he wrote to his friend Mabel “Perhaps this year will see both of us finding that elusive something that seems to bring happiness to the lucky”. On July 11 of that year, he died from a brain tumour.
S.N Behrmann wrote about him in the New Yorker (in 1972)
“Thinking over the people I have known, it strikes me that George stands almost alone among them for possessing an almost non-existent quality: the quality of joy. Pessimism, melancholia, depression are a dime-a-dozen; joie de vivre is the rarest phenomenon in the world. Thinking back on George’s career now, I see that he lived all his life in youth. He was 38 when he died. He was given no time for the middle years, for the era when you look back, when you reflect, when you regret. His rhythms were the pulsations of youth; he reanimated them in those much older than he was. He reanimates them still.”
On the Album I sing the verse unaccompanied and then David joins me for the chorus with an easy swing feel. This is how I usually perform it live and the words of the verse always strike me as very pertinent to the world today – as relevant as they would have been back then. Somebody once even asked me if I had written the verse as they didn’t know it existed and assumed the words to be contemporary.
The more I read the papers
The less I comprehend
The world and all its capers
And how it all will end
Nothing seems to be lasting
But that isn’t our affair
We’ve got something permanent
At least, in the way we care…..
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