This week our SoTD curator is composer Susan Botti who will host and curate the second installment of NYFOS Next 2016 on Febuary 11th alongside fellow Manhattan School of Music faculty member, Richard Danielpour. Botti is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Rome Prize. Orchestral commissions include works for the Cleveland Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. In addition to performing her own vocal works, she specializes in the vocal performance of contemporary music by a diverse range of composers. Thank you, Susan!
Thank you to NY Festival of Song for NYFOS Next and your dedication to today’s composers. My mind has been reeling trying to decide which Songs will be my Songs-of-the-Day. Just five – difficult to choose, but here goes… I will be traversing different styles throughout the week, but I think I must start with….
Cheek to Cheek – Irving Berlin (1935)
There’s no one like Irving Berlin at crafting the perfect song – the naturalness of the motives and melody and the way both are interlaced seamlessly with the lyric. Sentiment and expression are lifted from speech to song. Beginning in a semi-spoken, “heaven”, this seed of a motive/lyric blossoms joyfully. There’s that subtly syncopated hook “out together…”, the catalogue of things “I’d like to…” do that don’t compare to (you know what), the exuberant “Dance with me” section… it’s just perfect. It’s rapturous and intimate and, (as all great songs do) it expresses our human experience in words and music. Of course, it is perfectly sung by Fred Astaire with voice and body. Glorious.
And since you can’t love just one Irving Berlin song, here’s another of my favorites:
Let’s Face the Music and Dance – Irving Berlin (1936)