Here are more of those wonderful songs we love, and the stories behind their long and unexpected lives. Each program takes up the work of one songwriter and a few of his familiar, forever songs, where daydreams, blue skies, and love lost and found still live.
Combing a lively lecture with a wide variety of film clips, filmmaker and cultural historian Sara Lukinson traces how these favorite songs from the Great American Songbook came to be and how different artists, unexpected arrangements, and changing times transformed them into something new but still the same.
Please Note: Individual sessions are available for purchase.
April 19 Blue Skies: Songs by Irving Berlin
Berlin’s songs are deceptively simple: His magical fusions of melody and lyrics seem more born than written. His joyful songs are contagious, while his love songs are tender and eternally true, such as Blue Skies, What’ll I Do, Cheek to Cheek, and Putting on the Ritz
May 3 My Huckleberry Friend: Songs by Johnny Mercer
Could one man have written the lyrics to so many favorites, and with more composers than any other lyricist? Each song is so distinctive, whether with zest and shine, or dreaminess and the heart’s devotion. Lukinson makes a start with songs like Moon River, Come Rain or Come Shine, That Old Black Magic, and Something’s Gotta Give.
May 17 The Look of Love: Songs by Burt Bachrach
He’s the composer who keeps surprising us. Bachrach’s popular tunes have a catchy lightness, but it’s their richness that takes hold and stays there. Reimagined over the years, his songs grow in dimension, delight, and emotional power. Revisit The Look of Love, Make it Easy on Yourself, What the World Needs Now, and God Give Me Strength.
Lukinson, who has won three Emmys and seven Writer’s Guild Awards, now teaches at NYU and the 92nd Street Y. Her personal essays have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine.