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Subject: Re: Barbara Cook retiring
From: Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 8 May 2017 11:40:21 -0400

text/plain (52 lines)

There's always been a bit of mystery about both "My White Knight" and "Being In Love" - 
namely, that the former song was possibly ghost-written by Frank Loesser. (And the fact 
that the show's score was published by Frank Music Corporation - Loesser's company - 
also adds to the intrigue.) I can cite reasons why I think this might NOT be true, but 
admittedly, it's feasible. 

So - one of the reasons that has been given, over the years, for the switch to "Being In 
Love" is that Loesser refused to give the rights to the song for use in the film. Even though 
the song's recit-like middle section ("All I want is a plain man" etc) remains in the film. 
Could it be that Willson wrote that part and Loesser wrote the main tune? (Somehow that 
seems backwards to me - that the recit-style writing would have come  more naturally 
from Loesser - but??)

I would like to think that Willson wrote it all, but who knows? Whoever wrote it, there's no 
question that "My White Knight" is a beautiful song through and through. ("Being In Love" 
is nice too, but not as lush or expressive.)

In the meantime, I tend to think that Shirley Jones probably could have sung "My White 
Knight" as is. Aside from the final Ab, the song never goes higher than an F - easy 
tessitura for Jones, given her past film/stage credits. I'm sure the Ab wouldn't have been a 
problem either. But, maybe indeed the song wasn't a good fit for her. (Also interesting to 
note that the song was heavily transposed - down a fourth! -  for none other than legit 
soprano Kristin Chenoweth in the horrid TV remake of the show with the horribly miscast 
Matthew Broderick - the reason seemingly was that the legit range of the song seemed too 
high for the intimacy of the TV film and for the style of the times - i.e. "no one wants to 
hear sopranos anymore" lol.)

In any case, I agree with all that has been said about the inimitable and amazing Barbara 
Cook. So sad to see her ending her career - but we were so blessed to have her voice for 
so long. And still quite amazing to realize that her last full Broadway show (the revue 
Sondheim On Sondheim) was only 7 years ago! A very remarkable lady. 

On Sun, 7 May 2017 23:26:22 -0700, Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>I was very disappointed that she didn't do the "Music Man" movie, particularly when 
Meredith Wilson had to rewrite one of my favorite songs, "My White Knight" into something 
else that Shirley Jones could sing.

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