The following quotes have been known to pass through Michael’s lips on several occasions:
- “Oh, if only I had a pal like Hammerstein”
- “South Pacific is one of the greatest works of arts of the twentieth century”
There is also a story often retold that Richard Rodgers is the most performed musician in the world (presumably due to sleazy and not-so-sleazy jazz clubs around the world). Whether this is true or not, we don’t know – but it’s a good fact nonetheless (if not entirely reliable).
Of course, the collaborative talents of Rodgers and Hammerstein need no introduction, with such cultural defining musicals such as Oklahoma!, The Sound of Music, and South Pacific. Fortunately their music lasted longer then their friendship – urban myth states they loathed each other – but who can really complain with such poetic perfection as The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye? Such music will undoubtedly be remembered for many centuries, partially thanks to the brilliant orchestration skills of fellow composer Robert Russell Bennett (another Griffyn favourite).
Songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein have been performed at The Griffyn American Songbook, and The Three Futurists (which features a work that really put the pair ahead of their time). We also got caught out two-timing with Lorenz Hart, performing the Hart/Rodgers classic Little Girl Blue at Cloudy With a Chance of Rain.
If we were able to pit songwriting teams in battle, Bacharach/David vs Rodgers/Hammerstein would truly by a contest. Just sayin’.
P.S. And if anyone doubts the reverence of Rodgers and Hammerstein as a worldwide movement, you should see the gospel being spread in Australia 2013 by watching the link above.