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Oklahoma City Philharmonic to present 'The Cole Porter Songbook'

Music by Broadway legend Cole Porter to be featured on Oklahoma City Philharmonic's upcoming pops concert pair.
BY RICK ROGERS Published: February 17, 2013

In Robert Kimball and Brendan Gill's book “Cole,” Gill discussed how Porter's extraordinary musical talent worked perfectly in tandem with his remarkable intelligence: “The Porter lyrics, composed at the same time as his music and indissolubly wedded to it bar by bar, syllable by syllable, were a product of intense intellectual concentration; the seemingly effortless rhythms came not from heaven but from a rhyming dictionary. Cole literally sweated to make good.”

For the Philharmonic's upcoming pops concert pair, Levine set out to sample the full range of Porter's compositional output, with a mix of American standards and clever, but lesser-known tunes that deserve greater exposure. The program features music from shows that spanned nearly 30 years, from 1928's “Paris” to 1957's “Les Girls.”

After narrowing his musical selections, Levine began the arduous task of finding suitable orchestral arrangements that would serve double duty: showcase the soloists' unique vocal talents with sophisticated charts that cast Porter's tunes in the best possible light.

“I found some terrific arrangements that Jack Everly created for his Symphonic Pops Consortium, another that the Indianapolis Symphony commissioned from Wayne Barker, Larry Blank's ‘A Cole Porter Festival Overture' that we'll use to open the second half, and then we commissioned Fred Barton to create arrangements of ‘I've Got You Under My Skin' and ‘Let's Do It' for us,” Levine said.

“Everybody in the pops business networks with each other. When you're depending on the kindness of the people we work with, it's good to have friends in this business. Putting this concert together has really been a labor of love.”