Monday, November 4, 2013

Autumn in New York

It’s one of Grenville’s favorite seasonal songs, especially when sung by Frank Sinatra, who is among the many well-known vocalists to have recorded the song. And, driving through New York State, Grenville was humming this song (although nowhere as good as Sinatra sings it).
NY fall collage4
Vernon Duke (1903-1969) an American composer/songwriter who wrote the words and music for Autumn in New York for the 1934 Broadway musical Thumbs Up! Duke also wrote under his real name Vladimir Dukelsky and his other songs include Taking a Chance on Love with lyrics by Ted Fetter and John Latouche, I Can’t Get Started with lyrics by Ira Gershwin, April in Paris with lyrics by E. Y. Harburg (1932), and What Is There To Say for the Ziegfeld Follies of 1934.
NY fall collage2
Vernon collaborated with lyricists such as Johnny Mercer, Ira Gershwin, Ogden Nash and Sammy Cahn and his works have been performed and recorded by Count Basie, Bunny Berigan, Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, the Modern Jazz Quartet, André Previn, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Wynton Marsalis, and many others.
NY fall collage1
Autumn in New York has become a jazz standard, even though it began as a theater song. Like most theater songs, it includes a verse, which sets up the main lyric and is sometimes considered as good as the better-known refrain or chorus, although the one to this tune seems as difficult as the rest of the song. Usually, the verse is omitted when the song is performed in a pop setting, as was the case for this song. Duke’s lyrics to the verse could be the message from a post card: “It’s time to end my lonely holiday, and bid the country a hasty farewell.”
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Duke wrote Autumn in New York while vacationing in Westport, Connecticut. Both the long “conversational” verse and the constantly modulating refrain did not contain what the Harms music publishing company called ‘popular appeal” in 1934. It wasn’t until 1947 with recordings by vocalists Jo Stafford and Frank Sinatra that the tune made any kind of “popular” splash; later popular recordings followed by Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.
NY fall colors1104 15
Perhaps, some of you, like ourselves, are familiar with at the song title and some of the refrain (chorus) BUT never really paid close attention to all the lyrics, so here’s what’s being sung.
Autumn in New York by Vernon Duke
It’s time to end my lonely holiday
And bid the country a hasty farewell.
So on this gray and melancholy day
I’ll move to a Manhattan hotel
I’ll dispose of my rose-colored chattels
And prepare for my share of adventures and battles
Here on the twenty-seventh floor,
Looking down on the city I hate and adore!

Autumn in New York,
Why does it seem so inviting?

Autumn in New York,
It spells the thrill of first-nighting.
Glittering crowds and shimmering clouds
In canyons of steel,
They’re making me feel I’m home.

It’s Autumn in New York
That brings the promise of new love.
Autumn in New York Is often mingled with pain.

Dreamers with empty hands
May sigh for exotic lands;
It’s Autumn in New York
It’s good to live it again.

Autumn in New York,
The gleaming rooftops at sundown.
Autumn in New York,
It lifts you up when you’re run down.

Jaded roués and gay divorcees
Who lunch at the Ritz
Will tell you that “it’s Divine!”

This Autumn in New York
Transforms the slums into Mayfair;
Autumn in New YorkYou’ll need no castles in Spain.
Lovers that bless the dark
On benches in Central Park
Greet Autumn in New York
It’s good to live it again.

For film fans, Autumn in New York is also the title of a 2000 romantic-drama film directed by Joan Chen and starring Richard Gere, Winona Ryder, and Anthony LaPaglia. The film follows the relationship of a successful middle-aged restaurateur and womanizer (Gere) who falls in love with a free-spirited, much younger woman (Ryder) who is terminally ill.


Arija said...

There is nothing like the New England stated for autumn colour. Fab. shots and I just had to listen to the song . . .

Out on the prairie said...

Very nice, a friend named all her show dogs for a short time after Gershwin hits like Strikes Up The Band. I pull off on the interstate even and just make sure to signal and never had any problems.

Montanagirl said...

Absolutely gorgeous fall trees/leaves shots.

Emma Springfield said...

The fall colors are so vibrant in New york. I saw colors there are no names for.

Cheryl @ TFD said...

Thanks for sharing the lyrics with us. I'd never really paid that close attention to them before. And, wow, those beautiful photos! The colors are awesome!

possum said...

Wish I knew why your photos will no longer load for me. I am sure they are beautiful, as usual...
Have a safe trip!

Daisy said...

Gorgeous fall colors! You got some really great shots. I'm not familiar with that song although I do know a lot of others done by Sinatra.

Sandra said...

these colors are soooo brilliant they almost hurt my eyes. the last two just seem to glow with color..

Ludwig Keck said...

Beautiful photos! It is so much more colorful there! We finally got fall underway here in the South, seems like the leaves are falling faster than they are changing color, but in some locations it is pretty.

L. D. said...

The photos are so wonderful to see. It reminds me of all the shots they show to promote tourism.

betty said...

I never heard of this song, I'll have to ask my husband if he has. Just gorgeous with the fall leaves!


Elaine said...

Gorgeous fall colors! I can see why they felt the lyrics to Autumn in New York didn't have popular appeal!

Kay G. said...

Wow. This is one gal from the South who would dearly love to see the autumn in New England just once!

Anvilcloud said...

I like autumn, but I don't like Frank Sinatra so much. :)

William Kendall said...

Those are amazing fall colours!

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