These days, we tend to talk about the “American Songbook” in terms that belie the real value of this golden age of songwriting. These “standards” are part of our national fabric because they are immensely varied, layered and often clever beyond belief.
One of the kings of the age, of course, is the whimsical and enigmatic Cole Porter, whose measly 😉 63 song pages on Wikipedia don’t come close to covering the nearly 1000 songs that this prolific genius is known to have created. This mammoth output often reveals the many contradictions in Porter’s life: he was raised on a fruit farm but part of a wealthy family; classically trained but more comfortable in the theater; a notorious neat freak, but his handwriting was atrocious… and of course, he was gay, but deeply devoted to his wife, Linda, who knew all about it. Even his most successful show, Kiss Me, Kate, is a mashup of Shakespeare and musical theater that remains part of the most beloved repertory today.
For we the biased, it’s nice to believe that it’s the classical training that peeks through Porter’s popular style, and makes his music so very singable, as well as touching and a whole lot of fun. But it is Porter’s indefinable sense of human nature that makes his work so universal and timeless. Two of our own SoCal treasures, tenor Jonathan Mack and pianist Vicki Ray, will dive into this delightful oeuvre on Saturday evening in Pasadena, where the free concert will include songs, stories, and even some French horn played by Mr. Mack.
Wear what you like, whether it be satin, silk, or buckram. It’s all right with me.
Sacred Space for Music
Cole Porter Songbook
Jonathan Mack, tenor and French horn
Vicki Ray, piano
Saturday, January 30 — 7:30pm
Free admission / Voluntary offering
Pasadena Presbyterian Church
585 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
Location & Directions