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Lorenz Hart: A Poet on Broadway (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 28. März 1996

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"Exhilarating and moving."--John Kander, composer of Cabaret and The Kiss of the Spider Woman

"Exhilarating and moving."--John Kander, composer of Cabaret and The Kiss of the Spider Woman

"Exhilarating and moving."--John Kander, composer of Cabaret and The Kiss of the Spider Woman


Lorenz Hart singlehandedly changed the craft of lyric writing. When Larry Hart first met Dick Rodgers in 1919, the commercial song lyric consisted of tired cliches and cloying Victorian sentimentality. Hart changed all that, always avoiding the obvious, aiming for the unexpected phrase that would twang the nerve or touch the heart. Endowed with both a buoyant wit and a tender, almost raw sincerity, Hart brought a poetic complexity to his art, capturing the everday way people talk and weaving it into his lyrics. Songs had never been written like that before, and afterwards it seemed impossible that songs would ever be written any other way. Lorenz Hart: A Poet on Broadway presents the public triumphs of a true genius of the American musical theatre, and the personal tragedies of a man his friend the singer Mabel Mercer described as "the saddest man I ever knew." Author Frederick Nolan began researching this definitive biography in 1968, tracking down and interviewing Hart's friends and collaborators one by one, including a remarkable conversation with Richard Rodgers himself.

A veritable who's who of Broadway's golden age, including Joshua Logan, Gene Kelly, George Abbott and many more, recall their uncensored and often hilarious, sometimes poignant memories of the cigar-chomping wordsmith who composed some of the best lyrics ever concocted for the Broadway stage, but who remained forever lost and lonely in the crowds of hangers-on he attracted. A portrait of Hart emerges as a Renaissance and endearing bon vivant conflicted by his homosexuality and ultimately torn apart by alcoholism. Nolan skillfully pulls together the chaotic details of Hart's remarkable life, beginning with his bohemian upbringing in turn of the century Harlem. Here are his first ventures into show business, and the 24-year-old Hart's first meeting with the 16-year-old Richard Rodgers. "Neither of us mentioned it," Rodgers later recalled, "but we evidently knew we would work together, and I left Hart's house having acquired in one afternoon a career, a best friend, and a source of permanent irritation."

Nolan captures it all: the team's early setbacks, the spectacular hour-long standing ovation for their hit song, "Manhattan," the Hollywood years (which inspired Hart to utter the immortal line, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean the bastards aren't out to get you"), and the unforgettable string of hit shows that included "On Your Toes," "The Boys from Syracuse," and their masterpiece, "Pal Joey." But while success made Rodgers more confident, more musically daring, and more disciplined, for Hart the round of parties, wisecracks, and most of all drinking began to take more and more of a toll on his work. When Hart's unreliability forced Rodgers reluctantly to seek out another lyricist, Oscar Hammerstein II, and their collaboration resulted in the unprecedented artistic and commercial success of "Oklahoma," Hart never truly recovered. Meticulously researched and rich with anecdotes that capture the excitement, the hilarity, the dizzying heights, and the crushing lows of a life on Broadway, Lorenz Hart is the story of an American original.

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HASH(0x9c1908dc) von 5 Sternen A Standing Ovation for Lorenz Hart! 9. Mai 2001
Von Susan Fong - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Lorenz Hart is one of the finest lyricists in the history of American musical theater. He is largely responsible for elevating the process of writing lyrics into an art form. Before Hart, lyrics were usually trite and predictable with simplistic rhymes such as "I am blue, and so are you."

Hart wrote lyrics that are cerebral and sophisticated. His compositions are infused with wit and wisdom. He used complex rhymes. An example from "My Funny Valentine": "Your looks are laughable, unphotographable. Yet you're my favorite work of art. Is your figure less than Greek? Is your mouth a little weak? When you open it to speak, are you smart?"

Another example from "Bewitched": "I'm wild again, beguiled again, a whimpering simpering child again...." And yet another example from "Lady is a Tramp": "She gets too hungry for dinner at eight. She likes the theater and never comes late. She never bothers with people she hates. That's why the lady is a tramp."

Hart could be wistful and romantic as in "My Romance": "My romance doesn't need to have a moon in the sky. My romance doesn't need a blue lagoon standing by. No month of May. No twinkling star. No hideaway. No soft guitar."

Hart's lyrics are consistently observant and very often ingenious. They are the perfect match for the variety and intricacy of Richard Rodgers' superb music.

This biography is quite detailed with a number of amusing anecdotes. It is a must read for those who want to know more about this endearing, erratic, and gifted artist Lorenz Hart. His contributions to musical theater are profound and timeless.
12 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9c092774) von 5 Sternen Very good 27. September 2010
Von Steve Schwartz - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Nolan labored under a severe handicap. For some reason, the owners of the copyright on Hart's lyrics would not grant Nolan permission to quote them at length (for some probably very stupid reason). Therefore, Nolan concentrates necessarily on the life. He has done yeoman's work hunting down those Hart acquaintances still alive as well as letters previously unpublished. I think his portrait quite insightful. He manages to contain many of Hart's contradictions. He also keeps Hart's homosexuality in perspective, something rare in our time when writers seem to reduce an artist to his sexual preference. They focus so strongly on the juicy details that they forget the person. Put crudely, I doubt any two homosexuals are alike even in their homosexuality and there are more homosexuals than there are poets of the caliber of Hart. Furthermore, Hart's "natural" homosexuality was hardly yea or nay. He proposed to at least two women who knew of his sexual activities. They turned him down, not because he was homosexual, but because he was alcoholic.

Hart's sex life was undoubtedly a mess (although not necessarily because he was gay). His great fear of loneliness made the rest of his entire life even messier. He was physically unappealing - extremely short, with a head too large for his body and coarse features. With alcohol came oblivion - he drank enough to pass out. Gradually, the drinking caught up with him, and he died in his 40s. Nolan makes it quite clear that Hart had been pursuing passive suicide for several years.

Nevertheless, this is just one side of Hart, and not really the side that makes us, years later, care about him. He was, as Nolan points out, a poet on Broadway. His songs contain some of the finest lyric poetry of the century. His range wasn't particularly great and he wasn't quite the innovator some think him (P. G. Wodehouse and Ira Gershwin did precede him as writers of sophisticated lyrics), but within his emotional bailiwick, he was a master. Nolan shows us that aspect as well. Despite the obstacles thrown in his way, Nolan gives us a sense of Hart's genuine individuality - an attitude, really, of loneliness and realism. Offhand, I can't think of a straight "I love you/You love me" in any of Hart's songs. "I Wish I Were in Love Again," "Falling in Love with Love," "It Never Entered My Mind," "Isn't It Romantic," "Spring is Here," "Blue Moon," and "Glad to be Unhappy" concern love lost, love dreamed about, and love maybe. Undoubtedly, Hart had a viewpoint toward the subject skewed a certain way - worried about the fragility of human relations, despite all the surface dazzle of wit.

Nolan makes all of this clear. Indeed, his inability to spend much time with the lyrics themselves pushed him to dig all the deeper into the core of the songs. I really like this book.
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HASH(0x9bf30870) von 5 Sternen Lorenz Hart: A Poet on Broadway 2. Juli 2011
Von worldtalker - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
I love this book and the man that you get to know. Very fascinating of the man himself and his unusual working habits. As far as cleverness goes, I don't think there's ever been a greater lyricist than Mr. Hart. And the incredible speed at which he wrote is reason enough for any serious lyricist or word lover to delve into and appreciate. Yes! buy this book. It's a fine testament to a true genius.
HASH(0x9bb220f0) von 5 Sternen Lorenz Hart--A Tortured Genius 17. März 2016
Von Bill Emblom - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
My interest in Lorenz Hart stems primarily from writing the lyrics to what is my favorite song "Manhattan." Hart was a lyricist par excellence and known for his ability to rhyme most anything. An example from "Manhattan" would be "The city's glamour can never spoil the dreams of a boy or goil." Rodgers and Hart began their partnership in 1919 with Rodgers providing the melody and Hart the lyrics.

Author Frederick Nolan does a good job in describing Hart the man who comes across to me as being insecure in himself since he knew he was not attractive to others being only around five feet six inches tall with an over sized head. Since he couldn't find love in the opposite sex he looked for it in his own sex. He spent money freely buying drinks for people he didn't know and would never see again. Singer Mabel Mercer described him as, "The saddest man I ever knew." Hart could be a difficult man to keep track of since he would sleep until noon, work until around five
o'clock and hit the town for fun and frolic. His partnership with Richard Rodgers survived until 1943 when Rodgers could no longer depend on Hart with his unpredictability. Alcoholism also contributed to his early demise not only in his career but in his life as well.

The book contains anecdotes of other Broadway notables of the day such as Al Jolson and Florenz Ziegfeld. I did find myself skimming parts of the book which dealt with details that didn't interest me. However, Larry Hart wrote lyrics to songs that are still sung today such as "Manhattan", "That's Why the Lady Is A Tramp", and "Blue Moon."

Lorenz Hart had several personal problems but he was a tortured genius with a great gift as a lyricist.
HASH(0x9bb8700c) von 5 Sternen A wonderful read. I always respected Lorenz Hart 11. Februar 2015
Von Tom Degan - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
A wonderful read. I always respected Lorenz Hart, the lyricist, but after putting this book down I could say sincerely, "I like Larry Hart".

There are more-than a-few minor errors of fact: For instance a person in the story who was born in 1897 is said to have been born the night President McKinley was assassinated. That event occurred in 1901. Bing Crosby is described as "a tenor". He was a baritone. Van Johnson is said to have been "a blonde". He was a redhead. These and a score or more mistakes had me thinking, WHA???.

But still, I couldn't put it down. Written with wit and compassion for its subject, I recommend "Poet of Broadway" to any and all are interested in the brilliant and sad Larry Hart.
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