Jerome Kern / Dorothy Fields: Pick Yourself Up

Written by William Sharp

Baritone

April 20, 2020

I once said that one of my favorite singers was Fred Astaire. Steve Blier muttered, “that explains a lot”. You’ll have to ask him what it explained, but it might have been that I like things simple, unaffected, and with good diction. In the 1936 film Swing Time, Fred pretends that he can’t dance, so Ginger will spend time with him in a lesson. He learns real fast. Jerome Kern’s song from the movie comes down to us as an inspiration to not give up after something makes us fall — like two left feet, or a global pandemic.  There have been many standout recordings of this classic, from the likes of Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Diana Krall… the list goes on. I’ll offer Ella Fitzgerald (in Nelson Riddle’s arrangement).

For a chaser, watch Fred and Ginger from the film, after Fred gets the hang of dancing.

Nothing’s impossible I have found,
For when my chin is on the ground,
I pick myself up,
Dust myself off,
And start all over again.

Don’t lose your confidence if you slip,
Be grateful for a pleasant trip,
And pick yourself up,
Dust yourself off,
And start all over again.

Work like a soul inspired,
Till the battle of the day is won.
You may be sick and tired,
But you’ll be a man, my son!

Will you remember the famous men,
Who had to fall, to rise again?
So take a deep breath,
Pick yourself up,
Dust yourself off,
And start right over again!

William Sharp

William Sharp’s association with NYFOS goes back to when it was but a twinkle in Steven and Michael’s eyes.  He fondly remembers those first concerts at packed-to-the-rafters Greenwich House (hot? — in more ways than one). He has appeared with most major American symphony orchestras, and has created world premiere performances and recordings of works by composers such as Leonard Bernstein, John Harbison, John Musto, Jon Deak, Libby Larson, David Del Tredici, Lori Laitman, Steven Paulus, Scott Wheeler, David Liptak, and Jörg Widmann. Mr. Sharp’s discography of several dozen discs encompasses music from the 12th century to today. His 1990 world premiere recording of Leonard Bernstein’s last major work Arias and Barcarolles (Blier/Barrett/Kaye), won a Grammy Award, and he was nominated for a Grammy (Best Classical Vocal Performance) for his recording with Mr. Blier featuring the works of American composers such as Virgil Thomson, John Musto and Lee Hoiby. He is winner of the Carnegie Hall International American Music Competition, the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, the Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Prize, and the Geneva International Competition. He has taught voice at the university level since 1977, and joined the Peabody Conservatory faculty in 2002. His students are performing throughout the world in concert and opera.

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