The Way You Look Tonight
Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields, "The Way You Look Tonight"
In previous posts, I introduced you to Michael Feinstein. I wrote: "With his ernest voice and his considerable talent, Feinstein dedicated his career to finding lost songs; he sings them, and by doing so, he brings them forward to a new generation: he gives them new life." My plan is to help Feinstein bring his songs forward by bringing them to you.
So, tonight, we'll hear the song "The Way You Look Tonight." Jerome Kern (music) and Dorothy Fields (lyrics) wrote this song for the 1936 movie Swing Time. In the movie, Fred Astaire sings this song to Ginger Rogers, in a scene in which she is washing her hair in another room. The song begins:
Some day, when I'm awfully low
When the world is cold
I will feel a glow just thinking of you
And the way you look tonight
"You're lovely," he goes on to sing, "Just the way you look tonight." Here is a link to this scene from the movie:
The song won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1936. Fields, remembering when she and Kern composed the song, later wrote that: "The first time Jerry played that melody for me I went out and started to cry. . . . It was so beautiful." Jerome Kern (1885 - 1945) wrote over 700 songs in his life, and Dorothy Fields (1905 - 74) wrote over 400.
Here is a link to Michael Feinstein singing "The Way You Look Tonight," from his 2000 album Romance on Film, Romance on Broadway. Marian McPartland (1918 - 2013), the great jazz pianist, accompanies Feinstein on the piano—she and Feinstein are perfect together and in this song:
I created "To Make for Others Garlands," the image above, in 2006. It is based on Mandelbrot fractals. The title is from "To Mistress Katharine Bradshaw, the Lovely, That Crowned Him with Laurel," a poem by the English poet Robert Herrick (1591 - 1674):
My Muse in meads has spent her many hours
Sitting, and sorting several sorts of flowers,
To make for others garlands; and to set
On many a head here, many a coronet.
But amongst all encircled here, not one
Gave her a day of coronation;
Till you, sweet mistress, came and interwove
A laurel for her, ever young as Love.
You first of all crown'd her; she must, of due,
Render for that, a crown of life to you.