This afternoon I went to the last of the John Eaton American standard music series at the Alden theater in McLean [CIA]. This afternoon it was the music of Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael connected by the theme of them both being from Indiana.
The Carmichael section began with some of his jazz numbers like Riverboat Shuffle and Washboard Blues, neither of which I've ever really appreciated, although musicians really like them. Some of the other selections in the Carmichael section were Old Rocking Chair's got me; Buttermilk Skies; Georgia on My Mind; Skylark; Small Fry; Up A Lazy River; [a really nice version of] One Morning in May; and one number which really surprised me because I didn't know that, Carmichael had written it: The Nearness of You. Of course, Eaton also performed Star Dust and I have a musical question about that for Doris.
Eaton said that almost all of Carmichael's music is technically very complicated and sophisticated for popular music. Even I can hear that in most of his music but not really in Star Dust. I can hear in the introduction: "but now the purple dusk of twilight time" that it's musically complicated but when I hear the main verse "sometimes I wonder why I spend the lonely night dreaming of a song", it sounds like a simple melody. Maybe Doris can run that out on her piano and see if it is a simple or if it is sophisticated.
The second half of the show was on Cole Porter: Love for Sale, Easy to Love; Begin the Beguine; In the Still of the Night; [Delightful Delicious] Delovely; Just One of Those Things; I Concentrate on You; Let's Do It; Most Gentlemen Don't Want love. Eaton made a comment about Begin the Beguine. He said that when he was doing the research on the music he found out that it originally had been written for a woman, while he had always identified it as a man's song. He said that that he always regarded it as a male Catholic song: one that was always sung by Julio Iglesas Loyola or Father Francis Sinatra.
As always, it was a good show, a well done show and he's put out two new CDs; in a later letter I'll send you a blurb on the two of them.
The show was fairly long, beginning at three and ending around 530. It was nice to come out of the theater and still have the sun; even better was the ride back home from McLean on the Parkway. Just as the Parkway drops down from the Palisades to river level there is a very attractive view of Georgetown with the university, the car barn and all the private houses. Today the sunlight was at the perfect angle coming from the West and it made Georgetown look make believe, like a stage set. And further down, at the section between Theodore Roosevelt Island and the Army Navy Memorial, there was a spectacularly lit view of the city with all the monuments and the river with an especially beautiful blue color. Unusually good light and unusually good