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Sunday, August 31, 2008

September Song

By Kurt Weill & Maxwell Anderson
1938


German composer Weill wrote this for the Broadway musical Knickerbocker Holiday, in which it was introduced with a haunting rendition by Walter Huston (Angelica's grandpa). A tender expression of both regret and urgency no doubt better appreciated as one ages, "September Song" is--in this blogger's opinion--truly one of the most beautiful entries in the Great American Songbook. The great Woody Allen film Radio Days features an especially poignant instrumental version.

Lyrics:

When I was a young man courting the girls,
I played me a waiting game.
If a maid refused me with tossing curls,
I'd let the old Earth make a couple of whirls,
While I plied her with tears in lieu of pearls.
And as time came around, she came my way.
As time came around, she came.

When you meet with the young girls early in the Spring,
You court them in song and rhyme.
They answer with words and a clover ring,
But if you could examine the goods they bring,
They have little to offer but the songs they sing,
And the plentiful waste of time of day.
A plentiful waste of time.

Oh, it's a long, long while

From May to December,
But the days grow short

When you reach September.

When the autumn weather

Turns the leaves to flame,
One hasn't got time

For the waiting game.

Oh, the days dwindle down

To a precious few.
September, November--
And these few precious days

I'll spend with you.
These precious days

I'll spend with you.

Recorded By:

Sarah Vaughan
Frank Sinatra
Lou Reed
Willy Nelson
Jimmy Durante

2 comments:

Trombonology said...

I strongly agree with your assessment; a wonderful, wonderful song. So poignantly powerful.

Pierre Fournier said...

Lotte Lenya does a fine, gender adjusted version (ex: "They answer you..." becomes "They woo you with a song and a clover ring").

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