So in Love: Music By Cole Porter
THE ARTIST - MIKE MARKAVERICH A native of Nashua, New Hampshire, Mike Markaverich was a premature baby whose experience in the incubator resulted in his blindness. Mike began playing a toy piano at age three and took lessons at Perkins School for the Blind where he attended grammar school. He graduated second in his class from Bishop Guertin High School and studied at Dartmouth College where he became interested in jazz and decided to make music his career. After attaining a graduate degree at the University of New Hampshire, Mike began his professional career on Cape Cod where he worked as a solo performer and in various combo settings in major area nightspots for over ten years. In November 1988 he moved to Sarasota where he has been a regular member of the local jazz scene. Mike has also appeared in concert in various venues, appeared on television and radio, given workshops in schools and colleges, teaches jazz piano, and has produced six of his own recordings. THE MUSIC - BY COLE PORTER No one ever has or ever will write music like Cole Porter. His sophisticated lyrics and unusual song forms make him unique among the popular composers of his day. Although his music is timeless, the songs in this collection are representations of his professional career which spanned 1929 through 1956. Cole Porter published over 400 songs. Which ones do you choose? Here are notes on our selections: It's All Right With Me is from Can-Can (1953), Cole's 2nd longest running musical which was panned by the critics and loved by the audiences. Thanks to the power of recordings it was listed by Variety as one of the top tunes of the year in 1953. Miss Otis Regrets (1934) was originally written for a show called Ever Yours which was never produced. A high-class version of the woman-done-wrong classic, 'Frankie and Johnnie', it quickly became a favorite in New York and in Europe, but was never popular in the rest of the U.S. In the Still of the Night (1937) was in danger of being dropped from the show Rosalie because Nelson Eddy thought it was impossible to sing. Porter went to the producer who burst into tears when he heard the song and ordered Eddy to sing it. The lyrics are eloquent, voicing the doubts of a person deeply in love but unsure he is loved in return and was written with Cole's lover at the time, Ed Tauch, in mind. Don't Fence Me In (1934) was Cole's least favorite song and certainly does not have the usual Cole Porter signature. Originally written for an unproduced musical, Adios Argentina, it was based on text by an engineer who was also a poet, Bob Fletcher. Cole bought the poem from him for $250 and adapted it. Ten years later, Warner Bros. Resurrected the song for Roy Rogers to sing in the movie, Hollywood Canteen. Many people heard the song for the first time when Kate Smith introduced it on her 10/8/44 radio broadcast. The song took off, was the top song of 1944-45 and became an international favorite. True Love (1956), another uncharacteristic Porter tune, was sung by Grace Kelly in the film, High Society, was the hit of the film and became an all-time favorite. Cole, himself, was astonished when the song took off, and the public's admiration for the song was contagious. Get Out of Town (1938) with it's sultry melody full of repeated notes has eventually become as popular as 'My Heart Belongs to Daddy', Mary Martin's big hit in the same show, Leave It to Me, despite lyrics that are filled with ambiguities when taken out of the context of the show. So In Love (1948), the meltingly haunting love song from Kiss Me Kate, is far from being in the 32-bar mold of most hits. The melody extends itself and glides to an end. 'In that song,' Porter said, 'the climax comes quite a while before the end of the song, a situation that would never have been accepted 20 years ago.' While writing the score for this show Porter was in extreme pain from ulcers on his legs which had been damaged in a horseback riding accident in 1937. Love for Sale (1930), for many years the lyrics of this song could not be broadcast on American radio because they were considered 'filthy'. Probably because it was so maltreated, Porter referred to it as his favorite among all the songs he wrote, and it created an uproar when first performed. Originally sung by the white protagonist of the show, The New Yorkers, the setting was changed to the Cotton Club where the tune was sung by a black vocalist as part of her act. The 1930's morality considered it less controversial to have a black woman as a streetwalker than a white woman. Aside from it's earthy lyrics, the song's popularity was unquestionably also helped by the plaintive, minor-tinged melody characteristic of Porter's music. You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To (1942) was the sole tune that caught on from the film, Something to Shout About. It evoked enough of a feeling of togetherness in it's wistful melody and lyrics to have almost instant appeal for the millions who were then separated from their loved ones because of WWII. The only song from that film still sung today, it was the song that knocked Irving Berlin's 'White Christmas' off the Hit Parade and was nominated for an Academy Award in 1943. I Love You, Samantha (1956), although not a hit, was Cole's favorite number from High Society. Down in the Depths (1936) sung by Ethel Merman, Porter's all-time favorite singer, in the show Red, Hot and Blue. This song about unrequited love sung by a person perched in a New York penthouse has autobiographical echoes that persuade one that the song was gestating in Porter long before he wrote it down. Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye (1944) has continued to move audiences in countless performances. It echoes themes that throughout his life moved Porter to ardent utterances in both words and music. Departures and separation from the beloved characterized Cole's life in the war years, and his song articulated the sorrowful sentiments of millions around the world. Countless lovers felt Porter's words and music expressed their own sorrow in having to live separated from each other, and lovers ever since have embraced the song. Cole Porter's matching of words and music in this song is especially felicitous: the use of the repeated note is as successful here as it is in 'Night and Day'. The modulation from major to minor just as the change 'major to minor' is remarked in the lyric is an effective musical gesture. Cole Porter was born on June 9, 1891 in Peru, Indiana, and composed his first song at age 10. His mother sent him East to boarding school and then on to Yale University, and from there a brief, unhappy stint at Harvard Law School. He spent the 1920's in Europe with his wealthy socialite wife, Linda Lee Thomas. Even though he preferred his own sex they were married for 35 years and he truly adored her. Elegant, sophisticated and extremely gifted, Porter created 20 musicals on Broadway for such stars as Ethel Merman, Fred Astaire, Mary Martin, Bert Lahr and Bea Lilly, and 9 Hollywood films. Porter was 'the top' and lived at the top, but his life was catastrophically transformed after a near-fatal horseback-riding accident. The 31 operations during the next 18 years brought on increasing pain, and the growing paralysis that darkened his life was never hinted at publicly or in his work. Porter was a man whose genius as a composer flowered in deceptively simple melodies that were thought to be completely modern but today are considered ingenious, complicated and steeped in 19th century tradition of lieder; a composer whose craft concealed complicated solutions to musical problems while it enchanted his audiences. From: Cole Porter, A Biography by Charles Schwartz and Cole Porter, A Biography by William McBrien.