A composer who wrote several musical plays for Broadway, Frederick Loewe was notorious for not liking his own work. He collaborated with such Broadway legends as Earle Crooker and Alan Jay Lerner. Among his noted works are My Fair Lady, Camelot, and The Little Prince. Born in Berlin to Viennese parents, Loewe was the son of an actor and an opera tenor. A quick learner, he began playing the piano at the age of five and composing for his father at the age of seven. When he was 13, he became the youngest pianist to perform with the Berlin Symphony. Katrina, a song composed by Frederick Loewe at 15, sold more than one million copies of sheet music. With confidence and a grand talent, Loewe traveled to America. He began performing concerts in the United States in 1924. Although his talent and compositions were favorably received, he decided to perform in a Yorkville bar. This experience helped the young performer realize what it was that people enjoyed. After ten years of taking menial jobs in the United States, Loewe decided to broaden his professional music career by writing plays and musicals. In 1934, he contributed music for the Broadway hit Petticoat Fever. In 1937 he teamed up with Earle Crooker to compose his first musicals Salute to Spring and Great Lady. It was also in the early years of his career that he joined with lyricist Alan Jay Lerner. Together the two collaborated on such Broadway sensations as My Fair Lady, Camelot, and Brigadoon. Their play, Paint Your Wagon, was hailed by critics as being one of the most well written with tone poems. After Camelot, Lerner and Loewe went their separate ways to pursue solo careers. Realizing the success of their partnership, the two reunited in 1973. They collaborated to bring their 1958 musical Gigi to the stage. In addition the two wrote the score for the play and film The Little Prince. Loewe's musical career lasted more than 40 years. He collaborated with other well-known lyricists and composers. With a determination to succeed, he left Vienna at the ripe age of 20 to pursue a Broadway career in a place he had never been to before. During his career, he collaborated and worked on numerous Broadway musicals, all of which were successful and are still performed on Broadway today. Despite the fact that Loewe did not like his own work, all of his compositions were successful. He spent much of his life in Cannes, France after leaving the United States. He performed concerts and tours worldwide. He died in 1988 in Palm Springs, CA at the age of 83.
© Kim Summers /TiVo
© Kim Summers /TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released June 23, 2008 | Sony Classical
Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Inevitably, the original soundtrack to My Fair Lady is remembered, like the film, for the absence of Julie Andrews, who starred in the Broadway and London stage productions, but was deemed, at least at the time when the casting decision had to be made, not enough of a star to carry the movie. (Embarrassingly, by the time the movie opened, Mary Poppins had made her more than enough of a star to do so.) Instead, Audrey Hepburn stepped into the role of the pre-World War I London flower girl Eliza Doolittle, who aspires to a better accent and the social advantages that will come with it. Ironically, Hepburn's voice was dubbed by Marni Nixon when it came to singing. (Nixon was an accomplished Hollywood voice ghost, having previously sung for Deborah Kerr in The King and I and Natalie Wood in West Side Story, among other assignments.) Rex Harrison re-created his stage role as the elocutionist, Professor Henry Higgins (he had also appeared in the film adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion, the source for My Fair Lady), as did Stanley Holloway, as Eliza's flamboyant Cockney father. It was good that Harrison and Holloway got to immortalize their performances on film, but since both were making their third recordings of the score, they didn't have much to add. Nixon (no doubt with bits of Hepburn here and there) was fine, but the composite performance lacked the flair that Andrews would have given it. The result was an acceptable recording that did not surpass the Broadway or London cast albums. [The 1994 CD reissue adds a number of choral and orchestral interludes, as well as reprises of a few songs.] © William Ruhlmann /TiVo