Can you imagine a Broadway show featuring a score by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein being a flop? The thought is preposterous. I can hardly imagine even using the words "Kern," "Hammerstein," and "flop" in the same sentence. But there you have it.
I just subscribed to Word & Song. In taking peeks into various sections, here I discovered what has been for me since my early teen years and remains for me now at 79 the sweetest of songs of romance, love, and longing. I think of it often when my wife of 56 years and I are apart. Thank you for your words, Dr. Esolen - and of course for this song.
I can't tell if this is a great song or not. Of course the intellectual and rational part of my brain says that of course it is, no question.
Unfortunately (or not, depending) the emotional part of my brain chokes up with longing memories of my at-least-younger-than-seven year old childhood that cloud my rational thoughts, recalling music drifting upstairs at night where my bedroom in the Iowa farmhouse was (we moved to California when I was seven, thus my claim, only by calculation, of "younger-than-seven"), or playing downstairs on the living room floor with my skyscraper construction toy kit (I wish I could remember which brand it was and look it up), or even drawing pictures on the dining room/kitchen table (they were pretty much the same room on the farm) of houses and roses and whatever (my mom, an artist and illustrator, taught me some drawing, and would brag that I was drawing buildings with perspective at 5 when other kids were drawing a square with a triangle on top for their picture of a house).
And the reason is that they played a particular album (though of course other records too) often -- and it is one that I still have in my record shelf (that I can't play because my turntable -- ok, ok, record player -- just trying to sound like an aficionado there :-) -- is not hooked up, and hasn't been for at least the last couple decades, but it is still there waiting for the day when I pull out those records and...).
That album is an admittedly syrupy-sounding, probably considered schlockey these days, collection of songs from that period called "Mantovani -- Gems Forever." And the first song on that album is "All the Things You Are." And just hearing the opening strains of the orchestra playing that song as the album starts, immediately puts me back in that farmhouse lying upstairs in bed at night or building skyscrapers on the living room floor or drawing pictures on the kitchen table (I can even almost smell the roast cooking in the oven).
Anyway, i probably didn't need to type all those personal memories and such, but I guess seeing and hearing the lyrics (I'm sure I've heard them before but haven't remembered them, only the instrumental version on that childhood-memory album of my parents' collection), especially the line, "...That trembles on the brink of a lovely song" brought them to mind.
AND. I just now checked on youtube, and whaddaya know, that whole album -- ALONG with the actual album cover (that my brother and sister and I would gaze at on that same kitchen table or the living room floor next to the record player, and argue about which was the best tasting gem on the cover -- we pretended that they were hard candies to suck on). And as I started the youtube video up, it even has that old scratchy sound from a too-often played record. But oh, those opening screechy, even a bit warbly strains. I can hardly bear it... :-)
Ok, enough. Thanks for the memories. Wish I could say more about the song itself here, but I can't think with all those memories running wild around in my head...
And here is a link to that youtube video with that wonderful cover: