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Posts Tagged ‘Walter Huston’

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Oh, it’s a long, long while from May to December
But the days grow short when you reach September
When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame
One hasn’t got time for the waiting game

— September Song, Kurt Weill/ Maxwell Anderson

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Ah, the beginning of September. As the songs says, the days grow short and the weather turns the leaves to flame. There’s a refreshing coolness in the air and the busy rhythm of summer eases away and in comes a slower, more relaxed cadence. Recognizing this dwindling of days brings a retrospective air to things, one that makes you realize that you can’t waste moments or wait for them to come to you. I always felt that I was in the September of life and now, being truly there in terms of years, I believe I was right.

Maybe that’s why this song has appealed to me for so many years now. It’s a song I play here every year at the beginning of this month and one that I often find myself humming without thought to myself. It is a gorgeous blend of melody and lyric that communicates on multiple levels.

I’ve played many versions over the years, including some absolutely beautiful versions from Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. I have never played the original version from actor Walter Huston in the 1938 Broadway production of Knickerbocker Holiday or a great instrumental version from Chet Baker. I’ll get to them at some point. My favorite is this one from Willie Nelson which seems to have the perfect blend of weariness and age in his voice to transmit the feeling of the song. At least, the feeling that I get from it.

The painting above is a favorite of mine from 2011 called Dissolve. It’s included in my show Icons & Exiles hanging until September 20 at the Octagon Gallery in Westfield, NY. This piece is what I would call a September painting.

Have a good day and, hopefully, a good September.

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GC Myers- Where the Winds Gather smAugust has been vanquished, mercifully.

I could feel it yesterday as though just getting rid of that word August from the dateline lifted a huge weight off my shoulders.  The same concerns are there and little has changed but there was just a subtle and perceptible psychic shift.  Maybe the cooler temperatures and the slight breeze that hung around for much of the day added to the perception as well.

Whatever the case, it was good to see August depart and September enter the picture.  The days and months ahead always seem to better fit my natural mood and demeanor.

I like to start the month by playing some version of the great old classic September Song, long one of my favorites.  Written by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Maxwell Anderson, it was first sung, surprisingly, by Walter Huston in the stage production of Knickerbocker Holiday back in 1938.  Since then it has been covered by literally many hundreds of musicians and singers throughout the world and most of them are pretty damn good versions.  It’s just that good a song.

It’s a bittersweet and slightly melancholy reflection on the passing of time, that inevitable march to old age symbolized in the turning of leaves and the shortening of the days.  These precious days, as the song says.

It’s a great pleasure going through the many versions online but I thought I’d share the Bryan Ferry version this year.  I was never a huge Bryan Ferry fan but I did like some his work with Roxy Music as well as some of his solo work.  His voice works well in this delicately sung version.  Enjoy and remember to take some pleasure in these precious days.

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GC Myers- September Song sm

GC Myers- September Song 2014

August has finally and thankfully passed.  You would think as one gets older you would want to hold on to every moment–every day, week and month– but August never passes quickly enough for me.  This distaste for August has given September an almost magical appeal.  The very sound of the word feels cool and easy in my mind.

Relieved from the hard edges and sharpness of August, September brings cooler air and falling leaves.  Time passes just as quickly but there is a calmness which allows for reflection.  In September, I often find myself stopping and just standing,  looking into the sky and absorbing the moment, glad to just be where I am.

Maybe that’s why I love the old song September Song.  It’s a wistful reflection on the passing of time and aging.  Composed by Kurt Weill, it was written for  and  first recorded by Walter Huston for the Broadway play Knickerbocker Holiday in which he plays Peter Stuyvesant, the governor of New Amsterdam (present day New York) in the 1600’s.

The play didn’t have much success but the song, written for Huston’s limited vocal range and rough voice, has lived on as one of the great standards of modern music, recorded by scores of artists over the years. Today I thought I would play a beautiful version from the one and only Ella Fitzgerald.  As I look out of my studio window, it is cool and foggy and the words and sound of this song just feel so right for the first day of September.

Have a great day.

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