Song of the Day: March 31

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This week’s Song of the Day curator is the devilishly funny and sublime English tenor Hal Cazalet, a NYFOS favorite.  He’s been heard at the English National Opera, the Aldeburgh Festival, Glyndebourne on Tour, Lincoln Center, and Dallas Opera, among other venues around the world. As a composer and lyricist, he has written stage musicals as well as instrumental and choral works. He’ll be performing at the NYFOS Gala on April 5th alongside David Hyde Pierce, Lauren Worsham, and Bryce Pinkham. 

 

“LOVE ME STILL” SUNG BY BETTYE LAVETTE WITH HERBIE HANCOCK AT CHAKA KHAN TRIBUTE IN 2011 (with original also attached)

 

Sometimes this life is a bitter pill…I love you now, do you love me still?”

 

As I was passing London’s legendary Jazz venue Ronnie Scott’s the other night, I asked a man who was playing that night and he replied Chaka Khan. Having possibly noticed my far away look ‘of good times once had on the dance floor’ and feeling he was talking to a Chaka admirer, he tested me saying, ‘if you can name me two of her songs, I’ll put you on her guest list’. It just so happened I was talking to her manager. My favourite dance song: Ain’t Nobody was easy, but I think it was the mention of Love me Still that got me on the guest list to see the Queen of R&B.

 

Brought up into the ‘middle of madness’ of Chicago’s rough South Side housing projects and subjected to the struggles of alcohol and drugs, Yvette Marie Stephens (as she was christened) literally had to sing her way out of poverty. With a career spanning 4 decades with 10 Grammy’s, (22 nominations), 77 million records sold and twice inducted into the R&R Hall of Fame, she must be one of R&B’s most incredible success stories.

 

I hope this song touches you as it did me when I heard her sing it that night. Bettye Lavette sings it here in tribute & I wanted to share it with you as she’s so damn good!

Song of the Day: March 30

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This week’s Song of the Day curator is the devilishly funny and sublime English tenor Hal Cazalet, a NYFOS favorite.  He’s been heard at the English National Opera, the Aldeburgh Festival, Glyndebourne on Tour, Lincoln Center, and Dallas Opera, among other venues around the world. As a composer and lyricist, he has written stage musicals as well as instrumental and choral works. He’ll be performing at the NYFOS Gala on April 5th alongside David Hyde Pierce, Lauren Worsham, and Bryce Pinkham. 

 

DUDLEY MOORE PERFORMS BRITTEN’S ‘LITTLE MISS MUFFET’ & ‘THE BALLAD OF GANGSTER JO’ BY WEILL/BRECHT INTRODUCED BY DR JONATHAN MILLER

‘Witty, genius, obscene, maverick, cuddly, unique’ are just some of words that are often used to describe my musical hero Dudley Moore. His career was tragically cut short by a long and brave struggle with the brain degenerative illness PSP. The stage director, Jonathan Miller, insists that despite all Dudley’s success in show business, he was first and foremost a musician. Having won an organ scholarship to Magdalen college, Oxford, Dudley Moore soon became a leading light alongside Peter Cook in the satirical stage revue Beyond the Fringe. He also performed an extraordinary range of music as both a composer and pianist, working on TV documentaries with conductors Sir George Solti on Overture and Michael Tilson Thomas onConcerto. He played piano in a jazz trio with Cleo Laine and John Dankworth. A shameless philanderer, more funny, more talented and a little less sober than most, Dudley Moore for me encapsulated everything that an entertainer should be. My regret was never meeting him as he has been such a great source of inspiration to me.

I hope you enjoy this clip of Dudley at his most brilliant. After this ‘Beyond the Fringe‘ performance it was said that his impression ‘sounded more convincing than Peter Pears’s himself’ and apparently Benjamin Britten was so offended by the impression, he never spoke to Dudley again!

Song of the Day: March 29

photoThis week’s Song of the Day curator is the devilishly funny and sublime English tenor Hal Cazalet, a NYFOS favorite.  He’s been heard at the English National Opera, the Aldeburgh Festival, Glyndebourne on Tour, Lincoln Center, and Dallas Opera, among other venues around the world. As a composer and lyricist, he has written stage musicals as well as instrumental and choral works. He’ll be performing at the NYFOS Gala on April 5th alongside David Hyde Pierce, Lauren Worsham, and Bryce Pinkham. 

 

‘DAYBREAK’ FROM THE MUSICAL FLOYD COLLINS BY ADAM GUETTEL

I was at the first performance of the musical Floyd Collins at Playwrights Horizons, New York in 1996 and its haunting beauty has remained with me ever since. It was baffling to me how a man down a mine shaft with a leg trapped under a rock could make engaging subject matter for a show, but I left the performance profoundly moved and knew I had witnessed the future of the American Musical. In this stunning duet, Floyd’s younger brother stays the night with Floyd to comfort him.

Song of the Day: March 28

photoThis week’s Song of the Day curator is the devilishly funny and sublime English tenor Hal Cazalet, a NYFOS favorite.  He’s been heard at the English National Opera, the Aldeburgh Festival, Glyndebourne on Tour, Lincoln Center, and Dallas Opera, among other venues around the world. As a composer and lyricist, he has written stage musicals as well as instrumental and choral works. He’ll be performing at the NYFOS Gala on April 5th alongside David Hyde Pierce, Lauren Worsham, and Bryce Pinkham. 

 

DAVID BOWIE SINGS ‘CHANGES’

I am so grateful to be sharing these songs with you this week. It’s an eclectic mix as my tastes have never been particularly grounded in one musical style.

I grew up with Bowie’s music and loved it. It is extraordinary to think that throughout his career & even up to his recent death he went through so many re inventions and transformations. His songs provoke us to examine who we are, what we stand for and to question the very meaning of our existence. I am sure they will continue to do so for generations to come. This well known song from the 1971 Hunky Dory album is quintessentially Bowie – a kind of manifesto for ‘change’. A real gem.

Song of the Day: March 25

Lauren WorshamThis week our Song of the Day blog is curated by singer and actress Lauren Worsham who will be performing at the NYFOS Gala on April 5th alongside David Hyde Pierce, Hal Cazalet, and Bryce Pinkham. She has starred with New York City Opera and Fort Worth Opera as well as on Broadway in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder for which she won a Drama Desk Award and was nominated for a Tony Award. She is also the lead singer for the rock band, Sky-Pony.

 

In closing, I have to share a song from the show that changed my life – A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.  It also seems fitting as we gear up for the Gilbert & Sullivan NYFOS Gala event on April 5th.  GGL&M is a very G&S-style musical! This number was always my favorite to sing because of the range and melodrama. Plus, I got to sing with the incomparable Lisa O’Hare every night. Enjoy!

 

“That Horrible Woman” by Robert Freedman & Steven Lutvak sung by the cast of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Song of the Day: March 24

Lauren WorshamThis week our Song of the Day blog is curated by singer and actress Lauren Worsham who will be performing at the NYFOS Gala on April 5th alongside David Hyde Pierce, Hal Cazalet, and Bryce Pinkham. She has starred with New York City Opera and Fort Worth Opera as well as on Broadway in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder for which she won a Drama Desk Award and was nominated for a Tony Award. She is also the lead singer for the rock band, Sky-Pony.

 

The Light in the Piazza is one of my favorite musicals of all time and this song is one of my favorite pieces from that show. I find it incredibly heart-breaking. The whole show is really a meditation on love its various forms. This song is about what happens to love when it starts to change, slip away and ultimately perhaps fade.

“Dividing Day” by Adam Guettel from The Light in the Piazza sung by Victoria Clark

Song of the Day: March 23

Lauren WorshamThis week our Song of the Day blog is curated by singer and actress Lauren Worsham who will be performing at the NYFOS Gala on April 5th alongside David Hyde Pierce, Hal Cazalet, and Bryce Pinkham. She has starred with New York City Opera and Fort Worth Opera as well as on Broadway in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder for which she won a Drama Desk Award and was nominated for a Tony Award. She is also the lead singer for the rock band, Sky-Pony.

Growing up in Austin, TX – this was one of the first songs I learned to sing.  Toni Price is a local Austin legend and never performs without a bottle of Jack on stage. This song typifies Austin-style Texas blues. I love the cheekiness of the lyrics and the easy country twang of her voice.

“Throw Me A Bone” by Toni Price