This week our curators of the Song of the Day blog are the Artistic Administration staff of the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (our next concert, “At Home,” which will take place both at Caramoor and at Merkin Hall, features Caramoor’s 2016 Schwab Vocal Rising Stars). Today’s selection comes from Caramoor’s Manager of Artistic Planning, Ellie Gisler Murphy:
I Will – The Beatles (1968)
I grew up in a family of incredibly serious amateur musicians. My father, a scientist and an early music fanatic is quick to write off anything that was composed after 1920 and his ear very quickly turns off in disgust at the hint of anything electronic, post-tonal, or explicit. He’s a purist, which I’m proud of, with very few exceptions, one of them being The Beatles, which my mother, a true child of the 60’s, fully endorsed. The Beatles became just as steadfast a character in my childhood as classical composers were. Perhaps because of their similar reverence to form, romanticism, drama and a clear willingness to change and evolve, they drew great respect from my father, and thus was allowed to be played freely and loudly throughout my life.
I’m feeling very close to the song “I Will” lately, as it was the backdrop for my husband’s and my first dance at our recent December wedding. The very short (and very sweet!) acoustic song seems nearly an afterthought on the extensive White Album, surrounded by irreverent, electric and ground-breaking pieces like “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road” and on another side, “Helter Skelter”. But of all the pieces in the Beatles canon that came before and after, Paul McCartney said that I Will was one of his favorite melodies of all time. The affection he had for the piece resulted in a drawn out search to find the words to fit. Each different set of lyrics Paul and his partners came up with left him wanting, and in the end he settled for something he had written himself. The words, “very simple”, “straight love-song words really”1, make it a complete snapshot – simply a tender, uncomplicated and vulnerable love.
My favorite words:
And when at last I found you
Your song will fill the air
Sing it loud so I can hear you
Make it easy to be near you
All the things you do endear you to me
Oh, you know I will.
1Paul McCartney, Many Years From Now by Barry Miles