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re: What are Oscar Hammerstein II's best lyrics? (or... your personal favorites)
Last Edit: keikekaze 07:35 pm EDT 04/17/24
Posted by: keikekaze 07:30 pm EDT 04/17/24
In reply to: What are Oscar Hammerstein II's best lyrics? (or... your personal favorites) - GrumpyMorningBoy 07:12 am EDT 04/17/24

One of my favorites, which I've mentioned here before, though it was years ago now, is this one from the release and the final "A" section of "Many a New Day":

Many a light lad might kiss and fly,
A kiss gone by is bygone.
Never'll I ask an August sky
'Where has last July gone?'

Never'll I tiptoe through the rye
Wonderin' where has some guy gone!
Many a new day will dawn,
Many a red sun will set,
Many a blue moon will rise before I do!

Besides the fact that all of this is perfect for Laurey's character and for Laurey alone, I love the rhyme scheme involving "bygone" and its successors. Our ears have been trained by decades of pop music to expect the rhyme scheme of the release to end with the release, and a new rhyme scheme to begin with the return of the "A" section. Instead, here Hammerstein extends the release's rhyme scheme right through the return of the "A" music, surprising our ears with the extra rhyme, which also contains the punchline of the joke. And then, there's that wonderful, deliberate contrast between the purely visual "red sun" and the purely metaphorical "blue moon."

I also admire--with extreme envy!--the entire lyric, from start to finish, of "I Am Going To Like It Here" from Flower Drum Song. A pantoum, an Indonesian verse form, the second and fourth lines of each stanza become the first and third lines of the next. In the song, Hammerstein brings the lyrical chain full circle, ending with a repetition of the song's opening line--except for the change of "here" to "there":

If he goes to another place
I am going to like it there.

The whole lyric is supremely delicate, beautiful, and moving, and again just right for the character who sings it.
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Previous: GREAT examples!!! - GrumpyMorningBoy 08:34 am EDT 04/18/24
Next: re: What are Oscar Hammerstein II's best lyrics? (or... your personal favorites) - carolinaguy 02:52 pm EDT 04/17/24
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