Composer Birthday: Oscar Hammerstein II

Happy Birthday to lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, born July 12, 1895. He’s best known for his long collaboration with composer Richard Rogers, but he also composed several pieces with Sigmund Romberg, who was his collaborator on Lover Come Back To Me, composed in 1928. Wikipedia says the bridge was based on Tchaikovsky’s short work June:Barcarolle, from The Seasons, but I’m unconvinced. I know that I should be posting a vocal version with piano accompaniment, since Hammerstein was the lyricist and this is a website about piano playing, but I just can’t resist this version, from a 1976 album by Chet Atkins and Les Paul entitled Chester and Lester. I owned it on LP and purchased it again when it was issued on CD. The LP was/is far better, because in addition to unbelievable playing, the recording engineers left the tape running in between songs. Chet Atkins and Les Paul banter back and forth, some of it clearly not improvised, all of it hilarious, but some of that was cut out on the CD, and some of the charm was lost.

Chester and Lester