Midnight Frolic - Broadway Music Of Louis Hirsch
Composer: Louis Hirsch
Louis Hirsch wrote some of the loveliest music I ever heard on the Broadway stage. It really is a shame that it is almost completely forgotten today.
—Robert Russell Bennett (1978)
From the mid-1910s until his tragic death in 1924, Louis A. Hirsch (born 1887) was one of the best and most celebrated composers of the American musical theater. From 1911 until 1924, Hirsch’s eighteen Broadway musical comedies and revues spotlighted him as Jerome Kern’s only true rival, and made mega-stars of several young performers—among them Al Jolson, Will Rogers, W.C. Fields, and Mae West. Hirsch’s work is important because of its influence on American theater music: it combined, for the first time, the sounds of Hirsch’s Jewish heritage filtered through his European classical training, fused with a fascination for ragtime, blues, and early “jass.” To audiences of the 1910s, Hirsch’s music was unique and sensational. Although he shared librettists (Guy Bolton) and lyricists (P.G. Wodehouse) with Jerome Kern, Hirsch’s style—while comparable to Kern’s—was far more extroverted. And historically, in almost every way Hirsch was the “prototype” for George Gershwin; indeed, Hirsch’s untimely demise (at age 36) was the event that finally opened the doors of Broadway to the younger composer. This recording features seventeen never-before-recorded original period orchestrations of overtures, selections, songs and dance numbers from Hirsch’s shows, including his monster hits, “The Wedding Glide,” “Mary,” and “The Love Nest.”
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1. Overture to the Ziegfeld Follies of 1915
2. Was There Ever a Night Like This?
3. Hello Frisco! — The Transcontinental Telephone Song
4. ’Neath the South Sea Moon
5. My Rainbow Girl & The Alimony Blues
6. My Home Town
7. Any Old Time At All
9. When I Hear a Syncopated Tune
10. Selections from Mary
11. Cupid’s Lane
12. The Wedding Glide
13. Wildflower: An Indian Intermezzo
14. List’ning on Some Radio
15. The Love Nest
16. Highlights from Going Up
17. The Ziegfeld One Step