Arthur Hammerstein (1872-1955)

Sheet Music for Indian Love Call from the Rudolf Friml show Rose Marie

Rose Marie

Oscar Hammerstein’s son, Arthur, followed in his father’s footsteps and produced a number of operettas with composers Rudolf Friml and Herbert Stothart, starting with Friml’s first success The Firefly (1912.46).  Arthur produced many of Friml’s shows, including High Jinks (1913.34); Katinka (1915.29); You’re in Love (1917.05); Sometime (1918.30, with Stothart as music director and Mae West and Ed Wynn in the cast); Tumble In (1919.06); The Blue Kitten (1922.02); Rose-Marie (1924.28, with book and lyrics by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II, orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett and the introduction of Edward Cianelli, a man who would play countless villains in the movies); The Wild Rose (1926.34); and Luana (1930.26).

Musical score for show Wildflower, composed by Herbert Stothart and Vincent Youmans

The Wildflower

After using Stothart as music director on Sometime, Arthur gave him an opportunity to compose the score for Arthur’s show Tickle Me (1920.27) and then to collaborate with Vincent Youmans on Wildflower (1923.05) and Mary Jane McKane (1923.45).  Wildflower was helped by orchestrations by Bennett.  Stothart also collaborated with George Gershwin on Song of the Flame (1925.52), again with orchestrations by Bennett.

Still Photo from Trailer from movie Sweet Adeline

Irene Dunne in Sweet Adeline

Almost two years after his nephew (Oscar II) wrote Show Boat with Jerome Kern, Arthur teamed with his nephew and Kern on the musical Sweet Adeline (1929.31), with orchestrations by Bennett and “torch singing” by Helen Morgan (replaced by Irene Dunne in the movie).  While the entire score is beautiful, one song stands out—“Some Girl Is On Your Mind.”  There are five distinct parts (four soloists and a male chorus), and it is appropriate to note that successful integration of these five conflicting melodic lines was difficult to achieve.  The same observation holds true for Giuseppe Verdi’s quartet in Rigoletto and Leonard Bernstein’s quintet in West Side Story.  “Some Girl” did it successfully and highlights Kern’s notable progression from tunesmith to composer.

Take a moment and listen to the complex development of this song in John McGlinn’s restoration recording. 

This is a thrilling example of Kern’s choral music.