Barbara Cook - "Long Before I Knew You"
After over 70 years of relevance and revelations in the Theatre and Music world, last week Barbara Cook passed away, and I am still reeling from it. Hers was a once in a generation voice. A true soprano who could soar to incredible heights, she also had character and color that you don't commonly see. She was widely regarded as one of the very best interpreters of modern song and we could all take a masterclass from her in that.
first came to prominence in the 1950s as the lead in the original Broadway musicals Plain and Fancy (1955), Candide (1956) and The Music Man (1957) among others, winning a Tony Award for the last. She continued performing mostly in theatre until the mid-1970s, when she began a second career as a cabaret and concert singer. She also made numerous recordings.
During her years as Broadway’s leading ingénue Cook was lauded for her excellent lyric soprano voice. She was particularly admired for her vocal agility, wide range, warm sound, and emotive interpretations. As she aged her voice took on a darker quality, even in her head voice, that was less prominent in her youth. At the time of her death, Cook was widely recognized as one of the "premier interpreters" of musical theatre songs and standards, in particular the songs of composer Stephen Sondheim. Her subtle and sensitive interpretations of American popular song continued to earn high praise even into her eighties. She was named an honoree at the 2011 Kennedy Center Honors.
She was a bastion of the golden era of musical theatre, and her ability to craft a song and tell the truth from it was unmatched. She was greatly loved, and she will be incredibly missed.
Also, I'm giving you a few other snippets of her work, just so you can see the range of her depths.
So today, with tears and triumph, I choose Barbara Cook's "Long Before I Knew You" as my, with clear eyes washed fresh by tears, hands held tightly, now that I've found you, song for a, like a feather on the wind, like an ocean of lanterns filling the sky, with love and grace each step of the way, Tuesday.