In early 2001, Ted Chapin asked me what I would like to work on for the 2002 Richard Rodgers centenary celebrations. My immediate response was the 1925 musical Dearest Enemy, Rodgers’ first Broadway success with lyricist Lorenz Hart and librettist Herbert Fields. Luckily, the Village Light Opera Group music director Ron Noll and director Michael Jackson agreed to produce the show in April 2002, and the project began.
To my surprise, most of the original material was lost. The greatest portion of what existed on the show was The Century Library rental materials in archive at the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization. The rental package consisted of several libretti, vocal book created from the piano book, and a set of orchestra parts for eleven musicians. Harold Sanford’s full score and orchestra parts for “War Is War,” also in archive, proved that the Century Library materials were not necessarily based on the original 1925 orchestrations.
The libretto, which is most likely the touring libretto since it omits the character of Aaron Burr, included complete lyrics for the duet “I Beg Your Pardon” and a partial lyric for the third act’s opening “How Can We Help But Miss You,” both numbers were missing from the Century Library performance materials. It seemed imperative to find them. I had hoped the original production materials might be found in Helen and George Ford’s papers in the Cinematic Arts Library of the University of Southern California, but the collection had nothing on the show.
The archive at the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization also contained a copy of the copyright libretto Sweet Rebel; copies of Rodgers’ sketches for “Bye and Bye” and “Heigh-Ho, Lackaday”; the original men’s chorus arrangement of “Cheerio!”; lyrics for a duet, “When Love Awakes”; a draft for an Act Three opening chorus, music and lyrics by Augustus Barrett; along with the published songs and piano arrangement, letters and other ephemera. One informative item was a breakdown of the musical numbers for Act One from the show’s September 1925 tryout, giving the routines, and running time for each number. For instance, the routine for “I Beg Your Pardon was “verse, refrain, verse, refrain, dance of two refrains.”
The original orchestrations were credited to Emil Gerstenberger. At the time that he was scoring Dearest Enemy, he was also working on a revue, Gay Paree, which opened on August 18,1925, It’s likely that he asked Harold Sanford for help to meet the show’s Baltimore opening date of September 7.
The Century Library orchestra parts were a reduction of a larger orchestration, and the Century Library boasted that its shows were available for rental with a large or small orchestra. The large orchestration for Dearest Enemy in the archive of stage producer J.C. Williamson In the National Library of Australia is most likely the only set of the large Century Library orchestration. The smaller orchestration suffers from the fact that too often the trumpet and trombone are used to fill in harmonic notes better suited to the mellower horns, and the trumpet too often has the melody with the singer. The flute and clarinet may outline the original writing for more woodwind, but they can do little in filling out a chord.
Since there are so few manuscripts in Rodgers’ hand, when questions arose about questionable notes in the parts, it was the editor’s decision on what the actual chord or note should be. Given the limited amount of surviving materials, much of my work was based on whatever experience I had acquired working on period musicals for Bill Tynes’ vintage musicals in concert for the New Amsterdam Theatre Company, and from conversations with colleagues working in the same field. I owe a huge debt to my friend Bruce Pomahac, Director of Music for The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, as well as to deceased friends Russell Warner, John McGlinn, and Bill Tynes.
For further reference, I kept several 1920s vocal scores close to hand: Sunny; The Stepping Stones; Show Boat; The Student Prince; No, No, Nanette; Rose-Marie; The Vagabond King, and others. These published scores had a polish and sophistication missing from the rudimentary Century Library materials, and it was inconceivable that the original production of Dearest Enemy had been this elementary. Its creators were far too savvy.
In 2001, I was editing two Victor Herbert shows. Harold Sanford was the principal orchestrator for one of them, The Lady Of The Slipper. I was becoming quite familiar with Sanford’s orchestration, and, for expert advice on Rodgers and his music, I relied on my friend Bruce, whose office in the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization was a close step from my work area. I interrupted his work far too often with discoveries, questions, and observations.
My first step was to establish the musical program, including all music the libretto specified, whether it existed in the Century Library materials or not. Some things would be created using music from the score. After building a new full score for a number from the Century Library orchestra parts, I corrected copy errors – both mine and the Century Library’s – and filled in the missing instruments, sometimes reassigning the trumpet and trombone writing to the horns or other instruments. Each number presented new problems: what to keep or re-orchestrate. What needed to be written or devised? Perhaps it’s best to examine each number and discuss its development from what did or did not exist.
After the overture’s opening eight measures, the hit number, “Here In My Arms,” is never heard again. At one point, for the Rodgers Centenary, there was a proposal for a recording of Rodgers & Hart overtures, and Bruce Pomahac suggested that “Here In My Arms” should be added to the overture. The best place for the ballad seemed the penultimate spot, so I wrote the transitional material based on the verse to “Here In My Arms.”
The Century Library orchestration for the song, which seemed pedestrian to me, was the same whenever it appeared. I liked the skipping woodwind figuration, so I kept that and rescored the number for use as a “utility arrangement” and the basis for the song’s orchestration.
- Heigh-Ho, Lackaday!
This is essentially the Century Library arrangement. Much of the trumpet and trombone was given to horns and reeds, and I expanded the strings, and harp. The choral arrangement is mine.
- War Is War
This is Harold Sanford’s original orchestration from 1925.
- I Beg Your Pardon
The original duet appears to be lost. In the archive there is a 1954 letter from Rodgers to the Library of Congress asking if they might have a copy. Curiously, the refrain was sung in Max Liebman’s 1955 television broadcast, and the song was listed in the 1976 Goodspeed production. An inquiry into the source of the song performed in that production provided the answer: the refrain came from the television production, and the verse was composed by my friend Russell Warner, Goodspeed’s staff arranger! Russell had no copy of the number, and there was nothing in the Goodspeed library.
Curiously, a 1980 London recording of Dearest Enemy included “I Beg Your Pardon,” in its Goodspeed reconstruction. A call to Caroline Underwood in the London office of Chappell Music resulted in a faxed lead sheet of the song. Looking over the music, Bruce Pomahac observed that Russell’s harmony for the verse seemed less interesting than Rodgers might have written, so I revised the harmony and wrote both a new accompaniment for the song and a dance arrangement.
The Century Library arrangement which is the same arrangement heard in the overture, has one verse and one refrain, to be repeated any number of times. I arranged a second chorus for Sir John, Harry, and the three Generals, and used the 1925 men’s choral arrangement in the Dearest Enemy archive for the last refrain. I adapted the Century Library orchestration to accompany what I’d assembled for the vocals.
- Full-Blown Roses
The soldiers meet the ladies, and they’re all plain and homely! W.S. Gilbert would have loved this situation, which is similar to the collision of the ladies and the soldiers in the first act of Patience. The Century Library materials had some questionable spots, and I wrote the two bars leading from the line “Into the pigpen steps a Venus” to the refrain. A complete full chorus of the song followed the dance. I believe this might have been an error. It might have been sung, although there were no new lyrics and a repeat of the Murray-Tryon patter seemed redundant. I cut this section by half, and wrote the vocal arrangement.
- The Hermits
I kept the figurations in the Century Library arrangement, thinned the orchestration, and added a vocal arrangement to the final refrain. Since neither the libretto nor the vocal book stated who sang what, I divided the number between Mrs. Murray and General Tryon and wrote the vocal arrangement at the end.
- Here In My Arms
The Century Library libretto gave the song one verse and a refrain with first and second endings. The Baltimore timing sheet gave the number one verse, two refrains and dance, but I wanted to give Betsy the second published verse, as well as a key change, so I moved Sir John’s verse and refrain down a full step.
I wrote a new orchestration for the song and based the dance arrangement on Harold Sanford’s orchestration for the dance to “A Little Girl At Home” from The Lady Of The Slipper.
- Act One Finale
The Century Library materials had two sections of this number: “Here In My Arms (Minor)” and “Though We’ve No Specific Reason.” There was nothing for the men’s “Cheerio!” although the libretto mentioned the offstage chorus. I needed to create a finale from the scraps I was given, and I replaced the Century library orchestrations with my work for all of the music that had been played earlier. In the orchestra parts, the curtain fell while Betsy was still singing, so I wrote a postlude to bring down the curtain.
The Century Library materials had no entr’acte, which was an essential part of every score I referenced. The introduction came from the 1925 recording of “Gems from Dearest Enemy“ and I wrote the interlude between “Sweet Peter” and “Here In My Arms.” The arrangement of “Sweet Peter” came from the number’s final choral arrangement, and “Here In My Arms” used my utility arrangement from the Overture.
Perhaps a reference to the gavotte in The Gondoliers, this is essentially the Century Library arrangement. The only part I left untouched was the bells. Much of the trumpet and trombone was given to horns and reeds, and I expanded the strings, and harp. The choral arrangement is mine.
- I’d Like To Hide It
I thinned much of the brass writing and wrote the choral arrangement for the ladies.
- Where The Hudson River Flows
The libretto assigns this to Mrs. Murray, General Howe and General Tryon, but the 1925 program also lists a solo dancer and the Officers and Ladies. Much as I liked the idea of a trio, I felt the 1925 assignment had to be respected. After deciding the song assignments, I put the number into full score, looked over it, and wrote a new orchestration for the sung portion. The dance music, which is used in the Overture, is an expansion of the Century Library orchestration.
- Bye And Bye (Runaround)
There is nothing for this in the Century Library materials, although the libretto mentions – but does not describe – a runaround, a flirtatious pantomime for Betsy and Sir John. it seemed to me that a refrain of “Bye And Bye” would work, especially if the last sixteen bars covered the dialogue after Betsy’s exit.
- Bye And Bye (Underscore)
Nothing exists for this in the Century Library materials, although the libretto specifies the underscoring. This is the first half of the Runaround, reduced to harp and muted strings.
- Bye and Bye
The Century Library parts are very simple: verse and refrain have repeat signs with first and second endings. I put the Century Library parts into full score, and then wrote a new orchestration based on that score, which I felt was poor for such a moving song. I decided as well to write a final refrain in a higher key. The vocal arrangement was inspired by the Donald Novis-Gloria Grafton recording of “My Romance” from Jumbo.
- Old Enough To Love
Trumpet and trombone needed thinning in the vocal refrain. I put them back for the dance, which gave me the chance to play with the Century Library orchestration.
- Sweet Peter
The Century Library parts had one verse and one refrain to be used over and over. I kept very little of the scoring beyond the sliding bass notes and the chromatic run on “drank all the burgundy down.” The song’s bridge had the chromatic stumbling in the trombone and cello, which I removed from the vocal refrain and added to the first dance refrain.
In Thou Swell, Thou Witty: The Life And Lyrics Of Lorenz Hart, a photo of the 1925 “Sweet Peter” ensemble shows the eight men wearing peg-legs. Both the men and women are wearing “Old Dutch” costumes. This gave me the thought that the dance should be in four parts: Jane and Harry, the young ladies, the men’s peg-leg dance, and the general dance at the end.
- Yankee Doodle
The Century Library materials have nothing, although the libretto specifies the singing of “Yankee Doodle.” Feeling this whole sequence needed to be underscored, I found a copy of “Yankee Doodle” in a collection of American songs, laid out the scene, and orchestrated it.
- Here’s A Kiss (Underscore)
There is nothing for this in the Century Library materials, although the libretto specifies the underscoring. I expanded the string writing and added the harp.
- Here’s A Kiss
The Century Library orchestration can be heard in the overture. I examined that full score, and then wrote a new orchestration. The Century Library parts specified that the routine was verse, two sung refrains, and two dance refrains, followed by a refrain of “Bye And Bye.” This seemed too much too late: the lovers have admitted their true feelings, and the plot is snowballing to the success or failure of Putnam’s march.
- Act Two Finale
The Century Library materials had nearly nothing for this finale: the libretto specifies Sir John’s reprise, the stage business and dialogue, but the orchestra parts only had one small piece called “Lantern Music” to be played under Betsy’s stage business hanging the lantern. There was nothing for the reprise of ”Here’s A Kiss” or anything between the lantern business and the reprise of “Here In My Arms.” A dramatic finale needed to be assembled along the lines of the shows I was using for reference. I asked Bruce Pomahac to write underscoring based on “Cheerio!” while I assembled the finale.
Some time before 2001, Bruce had made a comment about Richard Rodgers and Tchaikovsky. I had forgotten the context, but I had not forgotten the comment, and, working on Dearest Enemy, Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty ballet kept coming to mind. It occurred to me that once Betsy faints in Sir John’s arms she’s in a trance much like the Princess Aurora after her encounter with a spindle. Her trance is a depression that does not resolve itself until true love’s kiss brings about the happy ending. As a result, Tchaikovsky became the inspiration for this finale: Sir John’s reprise became the house’s going to sleep, which also occurs in The Nutcracker, and everything from Betsy’s faint to the end of the act would be a lead-in to the Intermezzo, where I intended to take the latent to the blatant.
According to the 1925 programs for Dearest Enemy, there was a short five-minute break between Act Two and the Epilogue. I decided an intermezzo should be written and I knew of two good examples. To cover a scene change in Naughty Marietta, Victor Herbert wrote a four-minute intermezzo based on “Ah! Sweet Mystery Of Life.” Similarly, The Student Prince had an intermezzo based on the Act One “Serenade.”
I hoped the intermezzo would accomplish two things besides cover a scene change: encapsulate the seven years of war between 1776 and 1783 and sustain the tension of the Act Two curtain. If I believed Betsy was the Princess Aurora, then the American Revolution was the wicked fairy Carabosse, I stole Tchaikovsky’s chromatic theme for her spell to provide a contrast to the melancholic purity of Rodgers’ “Bye And Bye.”
- Epilogue Opening Chorus
There is nothing in the Century Library materials. The libretto has four lines of a lost number, and the orchestra parts have no music. At some point, Augustus Barrett, who replaced Rodgers as the show’s conductor, wrote music and lyrics for an opening chorus, and Rodgers kept the sketch. The program for the 1928 Louisville production mentions an opening chorus; perhaps the number was written for those performances.
This Opening Chorus is a reconstruction of Barrett’s sketches for the entire number, including the dance music. I wrote the vocal arrangement and orchestration.
- Bye And Bye (Reprise)
The 1925 Broadway and tour programs give Betsy a “Reprise,” with no song title. According to Stanley Green’s The Rodgers And Hammerstein Factbook, she sang “Here In My Arms.” According to the libretto, she sings “Bye And Bye.” The Century Library materials provided nothing, so I decided to give Betsy the second half of the refrain and to use the first half, with a section of the verse, to underscore her dialogue with Jane and Harry.
- Finale Ultimo
Again, there is nothing for this number in the Century Library materials beyond a short piece titled “Finale,” the last eight bars of “Here’s A Kiss.” According to the libretto, Sir John returns singing the love theme. Since the Sleeping Beauty awakes from a kiss, I probably should have taken the hint and ended with “Here’s A Kiss,” but every other act ended with “Here In My Arms,” and I stayed with the hit song, which seemed to me to be more of a “love theme” than “Here’s A Kiss.” This is the one Century Library cue that I ignored.
I felt the finale needed to begin with the entrance of Washington’s envoy and that the entire scene needed to be underscored. I wrote the trumpet fanfares and simplified the accompaniment of “War Is War.” We found, in recording this number, that the full refrain for “Bye and Bye” was too long, but that half was just enough.
The Century Library has nothing for Curtain Calls or Exit Music. I used the dance music of “Where The Hudson River Flows” and the up-tempo arrangement of “Bye And Bye” from the Intermezzo.
- Exit Music
Everything is taken from the Overture.