Someone to Watch Over Me – George & Ira Gershwin
Somewhere – Leonard Bernstein
Send in the Clowns – Stephen Sondheim
Marvin Hamlisch used to pay tribute to other composers during his appearances. Many times he would work on putting together a symphony performance dedicated to only ONE Composer, (i.e. Richard Rodgers, Cole Porter, George Gershwin) — and he used to talk to the audience about them, telling them why they were significant to him, and recounting their accomplishments, or what they said.
He also liked to perform a short medley during his appearances which he named “Songs I Wish I’d Written” – with three of the songs from other composers that he liked a lot:
Someone to Watch over Me by George & Ira Gershwin
From the musical Oh, Kay! (1926), where it was introduced by Gertrude Lawrence. Gershwin originally approached the song as an uptempo jazz tune, but his brother Ira suggested that it might work much better as a ballad, and George ultimately agreed. It has been performed by numerous artists since its debut and is a jazz standard as well as a key work in the Great American Songbook.
LISTEN: Rendition by: Amy Winehouse
Somewhere — Leonard Bernstein & Stephen Sondheim
“Somewhere” is a song from the 1957 Broadway musical West Side Story that was made into a film in 1961. The music is composed by Leonard Bernstein with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
In the stage musical, the song appears in the second act of the show during the Somewhere Ballet. It is performed by an off-stage soprano and is later reprised by the entire company. In the original Broadway production, “Somewhere” was sung by Reri Grist who played the role of Consuelo.
WATCH: Song “Somewhere” from West Side Story:
Send in the Clowns — Stephen Sondheim
From the 1973 musical A Little Night Music, an adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s film Smiles of a Summer Night.
Sondheim wrote the song specifically for the actress Glynis Johns, who created the role of Desirée on Broadway. The song is structured with four verses and a bridge, and uses a complex compound meter. It became Sondheim’s most popular song after Frank Sinatra recorded it in 1973 and Judy Collins’ version charted in 1975 and 1977. Subsequently, Sarah Vaughan, Judi Dench, Grace Jones, Barbra Streisand, Shirley Bassey, Zarah Leander, Tiger Lillies, Ray Conniff, Glenn Close, Cher and many other artists have recorded the song, and it became a jazz standard.
- LISTEN: Rendition by Frank Sinatra
WATCH: Rendition by Dame Judi Dench:
“When somebody asks me what my favorite song is, they think it is a song that I’ve written. I don’t have a favorite of my own, but I have a lot of favorites from other composers, and I put my three top favorites together in a medley that I call: “Songs I Wish I’d Written” — Marvin Hamlisch (1944–2012)
Piano performance by Marvin Hamlisch: Songs I Wish I’d Written: