Beverly Cosham | Beverly Cosham Sings Yip Harburg

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Easy Listening: Cabaret Easy Listening: Crooners/Vocals Moods: Type: Vocal
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Beverly Cosham Sings Yip Harburg

by Beverly Cosham

Easy Listening:Cabaret: Beverly interprets both well-known and little-known songs by a master lyricist in a variety of settings ranging from spare and simple to lush, Hollywood-style orchestrations.
Genre: Easy Listening: Cabaret
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Look to the Rainbow
3:57 album only
2. Happiness is a Thing Called Joe
3:50 album only
3. The World is in My Arms/I Like the Likes of You
3:52 album only
4. Hurry Sundown
4:56 album only
5. How Are Things in Glocca Morra?
4:29 album only
6. April in Paris
3:19 album only
7. Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?
3:21 album only
8. Right as the Rain
2:45 album only
9. Then I'll be Tired of you
3:50 album only
10. Over the Rainbow
3:41 album only
11. Last Night When We Were Young
3:26 album only
12. Moanin'in the Mornin'
2:58 album only
13. The Silent Spring
2:47 album only


Album Notes
The Voice heard on this CD is that of Washington area chanteuse and actress Beverly Cosham. Her one-woman cabaret show has received wide acclaim from coast to coast, inspiring Washington Post critic Mike Joyce to write that "Cosham is a master at creating a warmly, evocative mood, no matter how familiar the lyric or how common the sentiment".
Beverly has performed at such diverse venues as the Kennedy Center, Arena Stage and the Shakespeare Theatre; and was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for her work in Rebel Armies Deep into Chad at Round House Theatre.
Her master class, Acting Up a Song, teaches participants to use their acting abilities to help convey a song to the listener. One reviewer validated Beverly's approach by saying "the actress in her brings all the emotions behind the lyrics right to the surface, and she caresses both the audience and the lyrics".
While her most recent CD "At Last"; featured a variety of works from different sources, this album is the first one to focus on the creative output of one person: Yip Harburg.
Yip's lyrics give Beverly an ideal setting to express her vocal artistry and bring new meaning to his songs once again.

The Orchestrations for this project have slowly evolved over the last couple of years . The first step in the process was choosing among the dozens of titles that Beverly suggested, then finding suitable keys and deciding on a "concept" for each piece.
Next came writing the basic arrangements for piano and voice, which were recorded with pianist Ron Chiles. Ron's beautifully rendered accompaniments gave me a framework to fill in with various instruments, so I chose to approach these pieces as chamber music, where the melody and words always predominate yet have a dialogue and interact with the
instrumental accompaniment.
What evolved was three basic settings for the songs: piano and cello (special thanks to Deb Brudvig for those gorgeous solos); a jazz sextet and a larger orchestral ensemble. In spite of the temptation to overdub each instrument to produce a richer sound, I decided to write charts that could be performed live without any extra musicians, so what you hear is pretty much one person, one part throughout.
The only exceptions to this are the percussion and timpani parts (both played by Tom Jones) and the accompaniment to "Over the Rainbow", which is scored for piano, percussion and a seven piece woodwind ensemble performed by three musicians (Lee Lachman on oboe and English horn; Keith Daudelin on bassoon, bass clarinet and contra alto clarinet and myself on flute, piccolo and clarinet).

The Words on this album were all written by one man,
Yip Harburg. Although he was born Isidore Hochberg (on April 8, 1896) when Yip turned twenty-seven he had his his name legally changed to Edgar Y. Harburg. The Y stood for "Yip", a childhood nickname that came from the Yiddish word for squirrel: yipsl. As a kid he was flighty and energetic and the nickname given by his Russian immigrant parents was one he kept all his life.
Unlike many of the Tin Pan Alley tune smiths of the day, Yip had studied and written poetry in all its forms, and wrote and edited literary columns starting in his college days. This literary background resulted in song lyrics which showed a level of craftsmanship not usually found in the popular tunes that were the norm.
He met Ira Gershwin at Townsend Harris Hall, the preparatory school for the City College of New York, and they remained good friends throughout their careers. Like Yip, Ira worked with a number of different composers, but the bulk of his song writing was with his brother George. Yip worked with over fifty composers, chief among them Harold Arlen, Burton Lane, Vernon Duke, Sammy Fain, Jerome Kern, Arthur Schwartz and Jay Gorney.
There were frequent gatherings around George Gershwin's piano, both in Manhattan and Beverly Hills, where Yip, Ira and other song writing friends would play and sing works-in-progress for each other. Because of the close scrutiny of their peers, no one wanted to be accused of banality or even the slightest hint of borrowed material. As a result, both composers and lyricists worked hard to keep their songs sounding fresh and meaningful.

Yip in particular wrote lyrics which asked questions and produced paradoxes, whether on love songs or broader, more political and social themes ("Brother, Can you Spare a Dime?"; Whom can I run to/What have you done to my heart? from "April in Paris"; "How are Things in Glocca Morra?" from Finian's Rainbow) to name only a few.
The vast majority of his songs were written first for Broadway and the movies. This began during the period (the late 1920's and early 1930s) that musicals were evolving from vaudeville-style reviews with a hodgepodge of unrelated acts and songs to a more integrated production where the songs were written to help tell the story.
On many shows Yip often had a hand in writing the script as well as the song lyrics, and he became quite skillful at making the spoken words flow right into the lyrics of the songs. One of the best examples of this skill is two long sequences ("Munchikinland" and "The Merry Old Land of Oz") in the movie The Wizard of Oz (written with composer Harold Arlen) where the dialogue and singing become extensions of each other and flow from one scene to the next. Few people know that all the words they are hearing during those segments were written by Yip.

The Music for the songs on this album was written over the course of some fifty years, from 1929 to 1979. During this time Yip published a remarkable 646 songs plus wrote another 281 "unpublished" pieces. In many cases Yip and a particular composer only published one song, but certain collaborations proved much more fruitful.
Yip's friend Ira introduced him to several composers, one of the first being Jay Gorney. Their first songs together (starting in 1929 for Broadway revues) were well received and began a partnership that produced some of Yip's earliest hits. They wrote "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" in 1932 for a show called Americana. It created controversy from the outset. The song was written as an anthem, a rallying cry for the common man still in the throes of the Great Depression: not a feeble cry for help but rather a howl of despair and disbelief at how their lives had turned out. Republicans thought the song was anti-capitalist propaganda, and tried to have it banned from the radio. But recordings, especially Bing Crosby's, swept the nation.
Around this time Yip also worked with Vernon Duke on several projects: "April in Paris" was written in 1932 for the revue Walk a Little Faster and "I Like the Likes of You" for the Ziegfield Follies of 1934.
By far his most prolific partnership was with Harold Arlen. They wrote over a hundred songs together and created memorable scores for Bloomer Girl, the 1943 film version of the Broadway musical Cabin in the Sky and of course The Wizard of Oz.

Cabin in the Sky was memorable not only for its cast, which included Lena Horne, Ethel Waters, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, but for the quality of its songs and script. It was a welcome departure from other films of the day which featured black artists --
most of them were little more than song and dance revues. Cabin featured not only the much-performed "Happiness is a Thing Called Joe" but also one of Yip's favorite lyrics, "Life's Full of Consequence".
The best-known Harburg-Arlen score is The Wizard of Oz. Even though the word "rainbow" doesn't appear anywhere in the 1900 novel by L. Frank Baum on which the film is based "Over the Rainbow" is probably the first song everyone remembers in connection with it. Thus, Yip put the image of the rainbow into The Wizard of Oz. He and Arlen actually had to fight to keep "Over the Rainbow" in the movie, for the producers cut it three different times when the show was previewed! It's the first song in the movie, sung by a 16-year-old Judy Garland, but the producers thought a pensive ballad so early in the production slowed down the pace and was too melancholy for a "children's" movie. Little did they know it would become one of Harburg's most popular songs and probably one of his most recorded ever. Yip liked the poetic imagery of the rainbow and used it frequently in lyrics and song titles ("Look to the Rainbow", "Where has the Rainbow Gone?" "Hanging Out a Rainbow (Over the U.S.A.)" and that imagery has captured the imagination of countless listeners through the years.



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