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The Complete Lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein II [Hardcover]

Oscar Hammerstein , Amy Asch

RRP: 39.26
Price: 38.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

25 Nov 2008
From every “beautiful mornin’” to “some enchanted evening,” the songs of Oscar Hammerstein II are part of our daily lives, his words part of our national fabric.

Born into a theatrical dynasty headed by his grandfather and namesake, Oscar Hammerstein II breathed new life into the moribund art form of operetta by writing lyrics and libretti for such classics as Rose-Marie (music by Rudolf Friml), The Desert Song (Sigmund Romberg), The New Moon (Romberg) and Song of the Flame (George Gershwin). Hammerstein and Jerome Kern wrote eight musicals together, including Sweet Adeline, Music in the Air, and their masterpiece, Show Boat. The vibrant Carmen Jones was Hammerstein’s all-black adaptation of the tragic opera by Georges Bizet.

In 1943, Hammerstein, pioneer in the field of operetta, joined forces with Richard Rodgers, who had for the previous twenty-five years taken great strides in the field of musical comedy with his longtime writing partner, Lorenz Hart. The first Rodgers and Hammerstein work, Oklahoma!, merged the two styles into a completely new genre—the musical play—and simultaneously launched the most successful partnership in American musical theater. Over the next seventeen years, Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote eight more Broadway musicals: Carousel, Allegro, South Pacific, The King and I, Me and Juliet, Pipe Dream, Flower Drum Song, and The Sound of Music. They also wrote a movie musical (State Fair) and one for television (Cinderella). Collectively their works have earned dozens of awards, including Pulitzers, Tonys, Oscars, Grammys, and Emmys.

Throughout his career, Hammerstein created works of lyrical beauty and universal feeling, and he continually strove—sometimes against fashion—to seek out the good and beautiful in the world. “I know the world is filled with troubles and many injustices,” he once said. “But reality is as beautiful as it is ugly . . . I just couldn’t write anything without hope in it.”

All of his lyrics are here—850, more than a quarter published for the first time—in this sixth book in the indispensable Complete Lyrics series that has also brought us the lyrics of Cole Porter, Lorenz Hart, Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, and Frank Loesser. From the young scribe’s earliest attempts to the old master’s final lyric—“Edelweiss”—we can see, read, and, yes, sing the words of a theatrical and lyrical genius.

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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Complete Lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein II 21 Dec 2008
By Joe Regan Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A great book and a wonderful Christmas gift for those who love music and theatre. Massive amount of research into every lyric he ever wrote, not only the Rodgers but also with other composers including Jerome Kern. Story behind every show, including some unproduced, and details on the original singers and includes cut material. A great book that sets the standard very high for these collections. There was also a rave review in the NY Times last week in the Arts and Leisure section. Highly recommended. Could not be a better gift!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What it is missing 2 Jan 2009
By LotusPoint - Published on Amazon.com
The previous review by Joe Regan states that a review appeared in The New York Times (in print on Dec. 25, 2008). What he neglects to point out is the following criticism from The New York Times' review by John Steele Gordon:

" If there is anything missing from this collection, it is Hammerstein's "Notes on Lyrics," written for the 1949 book. While frequently quoted here, it should have been included in its entirety. It contains more wisdom about how to go about this most exacting of all literary forms than anything I have ever read. No one with even the slightest interest in how words are married to music should fail to read it."

Would that those editing and publishing this current book had included it in its entirety, I would not now have to try to find a copy of the earlier book.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The book's production is fine, but... 6 April 2009
By John Spritz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
...Oscar just wrote way-too-many execrable operetta lyrics in the '20s and '30s. There's a strange tension that builds thru the book as you work your way from one forgotten song (or show) to the next: you're waiting for 1943, getting together with Dick Rodgers, and The Real Hammerstein shining through. There's certainly much gold before that (Show Boat, some other stray Kern pieces), but a heck of a lot of dreck.

Really. Hold this (hefty) book in your hand and put your finger at 1943, which is where he "starts" for most Americans, and you're 4/5 of the way through the pages. I suppose that's the point of this series, to give us an exhaustive compilation of how Major Genius Lyricist plugged away for so many years, but it's curious, compared to Hart and Porter and Gershwin, how Hammerstein had to go through so much, so many tedious tales about far-off kingdoms and fair maidens, to finally arrive, ata mature age, to Oklahoma! and everything after. This guy put in one heck of an apprenticeship.

I'd say this book is only for the crazily devoted, who want to track down lyrics even Hammerstein himself probably forgot six weeks after he wrote them. But, like all others in this series, this title is lovely to look at, delightful to hold.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A marvelous craftsman 10 Feb 2009
By Kathleen Donaldson - Published on Amazon.com
Oscar Hammerstein II's lyrics are among the most beloved in the world and his collaborations with composers such as Jerome Kern and Richard Rodgers were among the most successful in theatre history. People will be singing "Ol' Man River", "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'!", "If I Loved You", "Getting to Know You" and so many more for years and years to come. This tome includes every lyric Hammerstein wrote- nearly 450! The author, Amy Asch, has done a mervelous job compiling the lyrics and has writen insightful commentary on the man and the words he so brilliantly crafted.
Hammerstein was a supreme craftsman, not only as a lyric writer, but as a librettist, influencing and mentoring many theatre writers, most notably Stephen Sondheim. This book is a testiment to his greatness.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book 14 Jan 2014
By NYCbookfinds - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I gave this book Five Stars because it is a wonderful collection of one of the most memorable and talented lyricist of all time. Originally, I bought my copy in an old book store in NYC. Then, I sent a copy to my friend and composer in CA.
We are enjoying this treasure together as we learn from one of the Masters in Musical Theatre.
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