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Songs About Kisses and Kissing, Page 2

 

This is a continuation of Our September, 2003 Issue of songs about kisses and kissing. If you missed page one, check the link at the end of this page or use this link.




Genee Waltzes

1908

 


Music by: Maurice Levi
Lyrics by: None, piano only
Cover artist:


The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000 defines a soul kiss as: noun, "A kiss in which the tongue enters the partner's mouth; a French kiss." Holy-Moley! I wonder if that is what Flo. Ziegfeld had in mind in 1908 when he staged the play, The Soul Kiss. That musical extravaganza included music by Addison Burkhardt, Louis A. Hirsch, Maurice Levi and Paul Lincke and was written by Harry B. Smith. The show opened on Jan 28, 1908 at the New York Theater, in New York City. Among the cast was a young lady, Adeline Genee. Genee was apparently popular as evidenced by this work, a compilation of the "principal numbers" from the show. Genee also starred in The Silver Star which opened at the New Amsterdam Theater, on November 1, 1909 and played for 80 performances. The Soul Kiss was a bit more successful, running for 122 performances.

 

Genee (1875 - 1954) was born Anita Jensen in Århus, Denmark and became renowned as a dancer, primarily in ballet. She was appointed prima ballerina at the Empire Theater in London in 1897 and stayed in that position for ten years. Florenz Ziegfeld, brought her to the US in 1908 to star in his production and advertised her as being 'the world's greatest dancer'. The show was an enormous success and, as she had done in England, she made thousands of people aware that dance was a true art form that could be both elevating and entertaining. Genee retired from the stage in 1916 but continued to be a driving force in the development of dance in the UK.
In 1931 the Adeline Genée Medal Awards were instituted in the United Kingdom in her honor and they remain one of the most important awards of excellence given to young dancers. In 1950, she was created Dame of the Order of the British Empire for her services to ballet. Facts for the above biography from Collector's Post.com where you can see some great photos of Genee as well as read a review of the show from the Theater Magazine, March 1908.

 

The composer, Levi, was clearly enthralled with Genee and wrote this arrangement of melodies from the show, all waltzes and all with beautiful flowing melodies. Imagine Genee flitting about the stage as you listen to the music. The titles Levi has included in this medley are, in order of appearance, the title song, The Soul Kiss, When The Swallows Return In Spring, Any Old Place In The World With You and My Old Broadway. I hope you enjoy this musical interlude on the soul kiss.


 

Maurice Levi, was a relatively prolific writer of Broadway shows and also wrote the music for at least three of Ziegfeld's musical revues, 1908, 1909 and 1911. His other credits include; The Soul Kiss (1908), Twiddle-Twaddle (1906) Higgledy-Piggledy (1905) The Rogers Brothers in Harvard (1902) The Rogers Brothers in Washington (1901) and The Rogers Brothers in Central Park (1900). Aside from his many credits, I've been unable to find out anything else about his life.

 

Listen to and see this wonderful waltz Printable using the Scorch plugin

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics (no lyrics, piano only)

 



Kiss Me Again

1915


Music by: Victor Herbert
Lyrics by: Henry Blossom
Cover artist: Unsigned


For most of us, the first taste of a kiss leads to the desire for more. After all, who can resist the intimacy that a sweet kiss brings to us? Victor Herbert wrote many romantic songs and was at one time considered the leading American composer, the standard by which others were judged. In terms of art songs, I would agree and this work is a good example of the sort of song that Victor was best known for. From his 1905 operetta, Mlle. Modeste written with Henry Blossom, the song obviously enjoyed a place in the standard repertoire of American songs. This copy is from a full ten years after the show's debut and the song continues to be heard yet today. The show was often revived and enjoyed performances as late as 1929 at the Jolson Theater in New York. A 1939 musical movie, The Great Victor Herbert featured the song sung by Susanna Foster.

 

This song actually was not included as such in the first performance of Mlle. Modeste. The melody was the signature or title song of the show and originally was titled If I Were On The Stage. The song appeared later as a separate song retitled to Kiss Me Again and was popularized by Austrian soprano Fritzi Scheff (1879-1954) who also initially sang it in the operetta. Scheff was a successful singer in grand opera but made her real impact in the world of operetta. She made her debut in 1897 at the Munich Royal Opera as Marie in Fille du Régiment. Her 1906 performance in Mlle. Modiste launched her career in operetta. (Scheff facts from HistoricOpera.com) As often has happened with certain songs, Fritzi Scheff and Kiss Me Again became inextricably linked and it was associated with her for the remainder of her career.

A Special Treat! Recently we've corresponded with Terry Smythe, a piano roll collector in Winnepeg (Canada). Terry has devised a machine that scans and converts old piano roll music to MIDI. The result is a near perfect recording of the piano roll music. The significance of this is that we can again hear the performances of many important pianists from the golden age of American music without having to have a player piano. Terry has graciously granted us permission to post his MIDI files whenever we feature a song for which he has converted a roll. This month, and with this song and A Kiss In The Dark, (below) we introduce Terry's works. Listen now to the playing of the composer, Victor Herbert as he plays his own song, Kiss Me Again from Ampico piano roll 371. Visit Terry's site for a fascinating look at how he has accomplished this miracle.

 

Victor Herbert (b. Dublin, 1859 - d. New York City, 1924) Herbert was three when his father died and he and his mother went to live with her father in a small town near London. Since his grandfather, Samuel Lover was a man of letters and dramatist, the boy grew up in a cultured atmosphere where he learned to appreciate the arts. At seven he began studying piano with his mother. He showed such talent that his mother and grandfather sent him to Germany for intensive music study. In Stuttgart he studied music with a specialty in cello. He played with several orchestras and was became first cellist at the Stuttgart Royal Orchestra. During that time he began writing music and wrote a suite and a concerto for cello and orchestra. Described as a commanding man, he was always well tailored and showed wit and good manners. He married Theresa Förster in 1886 and shortly thereafter they traveled to America where the good Fräulein was engaged to perform with the Metropolitan Opera Company.

 

In New York, Herbert joined the Metropolitan Opera Company orchestra and soon became an American citizen, never again to return to Ireland or Germany. For a while Herbert performed as a soloist and formed and conducted and orchestra. He also formed the New York String Quartet and became a faculty member of the National Conservatory of Music. His compositional efforts up till 1893 were focused entirely on concert works. Then Lillian Russel commisioned him to write an operetta, La Vivandière, which was never produced, supposedly because it was not up to her standards. Undaunted, Herbert was taken by popular song and operetta and the next year he wrote Prince Ananias and with it was launched the popular and musical stage career of one of America's greatest song writers. A number of stage productions culminating in what is arguably, his greatest operetta, Babes In Toy Land.

 

In addition to his operettas, many of the songs from them became stand alone hits (i.e. Toy Land) and he wrote a number of enduring hits we still sometimes hear today. Among them are Ah! Sweet Mystery Of Life, (MIDI) Gypsy Love Song, In Old New York, Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! and You Belong To Me. His 1924 song and operetta of the same name My Dream Girl were his last. Herbert died in New York City in 1924 of a heart attack.

 

Henry Blossom (b. 1866, St. Louis, MO, d. 1919 New York City) Blossom is best known for his one lasting hit The Streets Of New York ("East side, West side, all around the town.") from the 1906 production The Red Mill, also in collaboration with Victor Herbert. Blossom was primarily a librettist and lyricist in the musical world but his original profession was that of an insurance broker. His Kiss Me Again was from the show Mlle. Modiste, first staged in 1905. Blossom wrote the libretto (book) for no less than sixteen shows, with his last, The Velvet Lady, staged shortly before his death in 1919. Some of Blossom's works have been performed as recently as 1981.


Hear and see this V. Herbert song Printable sheet music using Scorch plugin

listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 


 

Save Your Kisses Till The Boys Come Home

1915



Music by: Tom Mellor, Harry Gifford, Fred Godfrey
Lyrics by: Mellor, Gifford & Godfrey
Cover artist: Jorn Frew


We saw on page one with Kiss Me Good-Bye Sweetheart, that kissing a soldier good-bye is a timeless activity. However, what happens once the soldier leaves? That can be a soldiers greatest nightmare! Or, his greatest comfort. Fortunately, in earlier times women and men were more loyal (or were they?) to each other and the Victorian mores of the times required a certain composure and restraint, at least publicly. In 1915, Britain was already embroiled in World War One and her boys were being sent to the front to participate in what one historian has called, "organized murder." The United States was watching the situation but it would be three more years before we helped out. In the meanwhile, England was producing numerous wonderful war songs that found their way to America. Save Your Kisses Till The Boys Come Home is one of them, and one of the best in my opinion.

 

The song is exceptionally upbeat and a real joy to listen to. It is reminds me of the great English music hall experience and I can just imagine the performer belting this song out on the stage while the audience joins in. Of course the song also sends a message to the boys not to worry, their women are holding faithful to them and saving up all their kisses just for them when they come home. We can only imagine how this song must have encouraged the troops and even gave them something to look forward to on their return home. If the songs of World War One interest you, you may want to read our three part series on the music of W.W.I and the associated features of music. You can start with part one and work your way through the series.

 

The team of Mellor, Gifford and Godfrey have eluded me. Perhaps because they are from England, as is this song, my "American" songwriter resources do not include them. Searches of the net came up empty but perhaps someone out there can help us document their lives.


Hear this great old English song

listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 



Kisses

1918



Music by: Lynn Cowan
Lyrics by: Alex Sullivan
Cover artist: De Takacs

 

Here we have a song that simply addresses the basis of kisses, the romantic and love bourne kiss between two lovers. At the same time, the lyrics of this song cover the range of kissing to make the point that the sweetest kiss is from your sweetheart. If I cared to be more parsimonious with my words, I could have just copied the lyrics from this song as it pretty well summarizes the entire subject of kisses at the beginning of the first verse:

Ever since the world began,
Kisses have been tempting man,
Though kisses have helped to make history
It's funny how diff'rent they can be.

And then the song goes on to speak of the various kisses one can experience. Be sure to play the song using the Scorch player or at least take a look at the entire lyrics through the lyrics link below. Musically, Cowan and Sullivan also hit the mark as the song is a wonderful and melodic ballad that conveys the tenderness of the lyrics.

 

Lynn Cowan is yet another of those elusive composers for whom I've been unable to find any substantial biographical information. There was a Lynn Cowan who performed in a number of film musicals as well as silent films from 1924 to 1934 but I've been unable to make a connection to this composer. Cowan is credited with at least two other songs I can find; in 1928 he published Dream House with lyrics by Earl Foxe and then in 1929, a song for the film The Great Gabbo; I'm In Love With You with lyrics by Paul Titsworth. His partner in this song, Alex Sullivan seems to have fallen prey to the same fate.

 

Listen to and see this great Kiss song (Scorch format)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 


The Kiss That Made Me Cry

1918



Music by: Joe Burns, Arthur Fields, Archie Gottler
Lyrics by: Burns, Fields & Gottler
Cover artist: Unknown

 

Shown in one of the articles in our series about W.W.I music, this song is a wonderful, perhaps the best song of the era about the meaningfulness of a child's kiss. We've certainly explored the soldier's good-bye kiss with the sweetheart, but here we have a war tear jerker of monumental proportions that no doubt ripped out the hearts of many a listener in 1918. Of a gentler and kinder time in our history, the song even shows that men do cry, even when they try not to. A hardened soldier off to war, trained to kill and perhaps about to be killed is brought to his knees by the love of his child. There can be no doubt that the emotion of the moment was almost too much for a man to take.

 

Written by one of America's more patriotic composers, Archie Gottler and his lyricists have managed to create one of the War's greatest hits. Gottler shows his extreme talent in writing a melody that is beautiful and as he did in his great song America, I Love You, he shows his mastery of harmony and accompaniment with a song that has great chordal progressions, modulations and phrasing. I think you'll enjoy this song and agree, it is a masterpiece of songwriting.

 

Archie Gottler (1896 - 1959) is perhaps most famous for his patriotic song America I Love You, (see our March, 1998 feature) introduced by Eva Tanguay in 1915. He wrote a number of classic American songs including two in collaboration with Maceo Pinkard; Don't Be Like That and Lila, which Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians later recorded on a best selling disc. His songs are marked by wonderful melodies and patriotic fervor. In one case, he showed his good humor with the novelty War song, Would You Rather Be A Colonel With An Eagle On Your Shoulder Or A Private With A Chicken On Your Knee?. Gottler also wrote a number of Broadway show scores as well as early sound movie scores. Gottler wrote several very popular songs and several Broadway musicals including the Broadway Brevities starring Eddie Cantor which opened at Winter Garden Theater, September 29,1920 and ran for 105 performances. He attended CCNY and Long Island Business College. He was a pianist in silent movie theaters early in his career. Gottler also served in the Signal Corps during W.W.II as a producer of training films. Among his other Broadway scores was the Zeigfeld Follies of 1918 and Good Boy in 1928. Gottler was also a pioneer composer for early silent films composing scores for The Fox Movietone Follies of 1929 and the film, Happy Days in 1930. During his career he collaborated with a number of the big name lyricists of the period and even brought his son, Jerome, into the business as a lyricist to his music. Among his other successful songs are In The Gold Fields Of Nevada (1915, Scorch format), Nobody Else But Elsie (date unkn.), That's How I Feel About You (1928), Roamin' Through The Roses (1933), and Mammy's Chocolate Soldier (1918). Gottler died in California.

 


Hear this great old War song
Printable! (Scorch format only)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 




A Kiss In The Dark

1922



Music by: Victor Herbert
Lyrics by: B.G. De Sylva
Cover artist: Unknown


It's time to turn out the lights and say "goodnight ladies,"(and gentlemen) and what better way that with a kiss in the dark? Our final song for this issue is yet another from the master of American music, Victor Herbert. Here Herbert teamed up with one of America's greatest lyricists to create a song that is a lovely waltz, still very much like many of Herbert's songs yet a little more mainstream pop for the times. I've mostly found Herbert's music a bit too formal and artsy to suit me. His work borders on the classical and is less light than most popular music. His style is very firmly grounded in the Victorian age and this song, though written fairly late in his career, still shows that 1890's patina that he seems so firmly attached to.

 

This song, like almost all of Herbert's is from a stage show, Orange Blossoms which opened at the Fulton Theater, September 19, 1922 and ran for 95 performances. Herbert would only write two more shows before his death in 1924, neither of which produced lasting hits. This song would be his final lasting hit of his career. This show was also the only one written in collaboration with a big name pop lyricist, De Sylva. It was relatively unusual for Herbert to team with lyricists from the "new school" of American popular music. The song is a flowing waltz ballad that is kind to the ear and with lyrics that tell a touching story of a kiss in the dark that sparked a lasting love. What better way to end our feature this month. We wish all of you love and kisses of all sorts.

 

A Special Treat, Part Deux. Here is a second piano roll conversion by Terry Smythe. Listen now to the playing of the composer, Victor Herbert as he plays his own song, A Kiss In The Dark from Ampico piano roll 1201 published in 1921. Visit Terry's site for a fascinating look at how he has accomplished this miracle.

 

  See the above listing for Kiss Me Again for biographical information on the composer Victor Herbert.

 

 George Gard ("Buddy") De Sylva (b. 1895 New York City - d. 1950, Hollywood) Though New York born, De Sylva grew up in California and attended USC. He gained an early interest in show business and tried writing a few songs. He met Al Jolson around 1917 or 18 and Jolson convinced him to go to New York and used several of De Sylva's songs in Sinbad and other shows. Jolson and De Sylva collaborated on many songs over the course of their association. In addition to Jolson's shows, he wrote songs for a number of other productions over the twenties and wrote a number of individual songs that became big hits. In 1925 he teamed with composer Ray Henderson and fellow lyricist Lew Brown to write several show scores into the thirties. In the mid 1930's, De Silva turned to the movies and became a producer and produces several of Shirley Temple's best films. He ultimately rose to head of Paramount Pictures and was an executive with Capitol records.

 

De Sylva enjoyed a nearly lifelong association with Al Jolson and wrote many of his biggest hit songs. However, Jolson's hits were only a small part of his famous songs, many of which are still popular today. His many hits include, The Best Things In Life Are Free (1927); Button Up Your Overcoat (1928); You Are My Lucky Star (1928); California Here I Come (1922) and If You Knew Suzie Like I Know Susie (1925). His last song was the 1939 song Love Affair from the movie Wishing.



Enjoy this great Kiss song Printable sheet music using Scorch plugin

listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 


That completes our feature of songs about kisses and kissing, come back to see us next month (October, 2003) for a fun filled feature of songs about monkeys and the jungle!

If you missed page one of this feature, or want to return to it, click here to go to page one



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