Tuesday, July 18, 2006

torch it

Some girls dream of their wedding dress. I dream of the dress I'll be wearing the night I climb on top of a grand piano in some smokey jazz club and start belting out standards and torch songs.

You think I’m kidding. I have my list:

Night & Day
Summertime
Blue Skies
A kiss to build a dream on
They can’t take that away from me
I won’t dance (you can’t make me)
Sinnerman

That’s the warm up.

Which is of course why I cajoled litwit into a Monday night out to see a girl singer that neither one of us had ever even heard before – except one of us, briefly, in a Henry Jaglom film a long, long, time ago.

But the Algonquin, where Andrea Marcovicci performs a generous share of her winter months, lends her some serious cabaret cred, so I figured we couldn’t miss.

Well. We did. Sorta.

I suppose she pulled it out in the end, and left us with some really charming moments, but as litwit writes up beautifully, she stumbled considerably in the beginning -- with some funky phrasing, curious high notes mixed in with a whole lot of Rex Harrison-talkie-like thingys -- and an all around general lack of dame-ness – the one quality that a girl singer has gots to have if she’s gonna make it happen.

It was the kind of show my grandmother would have loved – sentimental songs from the 30s and 40s – although I suspect she would have said, under her breath (or at least thinking it was -- the poor dear is awfully deaf) as we exited the theater: “it was lovely to hear the old songs: but we didn’t exactly sing them like that.”

(Much the same way she whispered, overloud, as we exited the Troldhaugen Concert Hall in Oslo after a round of – well, of course -- Grieg choral pieces: “that was a lovely. But did they have to sing all those beautiful songs in Russian?” An understandable grievance. She’d waited a long time and came a great distance to hear some Norwegian in Norway. And I suspect she was still holding a grudge against the Russians for the Cold War, the same way she’s still holding a grudge against the Swedes for the way they let the Germans just march right through during WWII. But all good Norwegians do.)

But I shouldn't be so hard Marcovocci -- there were some genuine lovely bits in the evening -- she's a marvellous storyteller and had moved through the awkwardness by just about the halfway point -- and I did come away with one more song for my list that is almost as remarkable for its provenance as it is for its smoldering wonderfulness – Kurt Weil and Ogden Nash? Collaborators? For Marlene Dietrich? Who knew?
Speak Low
Speak low when you speak, love
Our summer day withers away too soon, too soon
Speak low when you speak, love
Our moment is swift, like ships adrift, we're swept apart, too soon
Speak low, darling, speak low
Love is a spark, lost in the dark too soon, too soon
I feel wherever I go that tomorrow is near, tomorrow is here and always too soon
Time is so old and love so brief
Love is pure gold and time a thief
We're late, darling, we're late
The curtain descends, ev'rything ends too soon, too soon
I wait, darling, I wait
Will you speak low to me, speak love to me and soon
So there's that.

And there's the dress.

2 comments:

Anali said...

suttonhoo - you and litwit sound so fun!

Michael, the kid said...

hello, would you please tellme the name of the female singer who sings this song, i know she is african and her name is something like didi dietrich ... or something haha i hope you can help me. regards

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