Summer Song is a musical with an American background built around an episode in the life of Czech composer Anton Dvorak. Dvorak had taken a break from teaching and conducting to visit the State of Illinois where he wrote his symphony From the New World’. Eric Maschwitz wrote the lyrics and collaborated with Hy Kraft on the libretto while Bernard Grun adapted the music from the melodies of Dvorak in much the same way as those of Grieg had been in Song of Norway.
The character of Dvorak could not be the romantic lead as in real life he was a happily married man with six children and physically, a bespectacled Puck-like figure. Laurence Naismith was the perfect choice to play this eccentric character. Sally Ann Howes had shown in a previous Maschwitz musical Romance in Candlelight that, as well as being fresh and lovely, she had a real singing voice. Her romantic opposite number was David Hughes who came from the world of popular music. The real life American husband and wife team Bonita Primrose and Van Atkins added the lighter side of Milli and Joe. The handsome Trinidadian bass-baritone Edric Connor was cast as man-of-all-work Abe.
Summer Song first played The Opera House in Manchester over Christmas 1955 and it was a great success. Little was changed for the London opening in February 1956 at the Princes Theatre where although the show received mainly favourable reviews it ran for only 148 performances. A cast recording was however recorded and it is this tuneful score we have remastered for this CD release.
The selection by The Melachrino Orchestra includes some melodies not heard in the original cast recording. Edric Connor and David Hughes were recording artists in their own right and we include numbers from both.
1. OVERTURE – Orchestra / I LOVED MY LOVE – Chorus 2:39
2. JUST AROUND THE CORNER – Sally Ann Howes 2:28
3. MY DARLING KAROLKA – Sally Ann Howes 2:27
4. ONCE A YEAR IS NOT ENOUGH – Bonita Primrose 2:41
5. BE SHE DARK, BE SHE FAIR – David Hughes 2:06
6. COTTON TAIL – Edric Connor 2:18
7. NO-ONE TOLD ME – David Hughes 3:30
8. SING ME A SONG – Chorus 1:38
9. MURPHY’S PIG – Bonita Primrose and Chorus 2:34
10. SATURDAY GIRL – David Hughes, Sally Ann Howes 3:16
11. ONE BOY SENDS YOU A ROSE – Sally Ann Howes, Bonita Primrose 3:04
12. DVORAK’S LETTER HOME – Laurence Naismith 2:11
13. DEEP BLUE EVENING – Edric Connor 3:16
14. MILLI’S WEDDING – Edric Connor, Van Atkins, Bonita Primrose 6:02
15. SUMMER SONG – Sally Ann Howes 3:33
16. SMALL TOWN SWEETHEART – David Hughes 3:07
17. NEW YORK ’93 – Chorus 1:54
18. I’LL BE REMEMBERING – Sally Ann Howes 3:00
19. FINALE – Sally Ann Howes 2:27
20. SUMMER SONG SELECTION – The Melachrino Orchestra 7:37
21. CARRY ME BACK TO OLD VIRGINNY – Edric Connor 2:56
22. IF I CAN HELP SOMEBODY – Edric Connor 3:19
23. THERE, BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD, GO I – David Hughes 2:55
24. LOVE IS A MANY SPLENDOURED THING – David Hughes 2:45
25. TWO DIFFERENT WORLDS – David Hughes 3:22