Heart and Soul: The Unforgettable Songs of Frank Loesser
Performed by: Various Artists
Distributed by: Masterworks Broadway
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
A man who has been called the most versatile of Broadway composers, Frank Loesser never really studied music formally. Born in New York City in 1910, the son of a German-born classical piano teacher and the younger brother of renowned classic pianist, musicologist and music critic, Arthur Loesser, Frank began writing music at an extremely young age. Refusing to study classical music, much to the dismay of his father, Frank instead loved pop music, teaching himself how to play the harmonica and the piano. In 1931, he teamed up with composer William Schuman to create In Loving Memory of You which became the first of Frank Loesser’s published lyrical works. The rest is history. Frank Loesser went on to create some of the most famous songs in theater, film and radio. Considered timeless classics, many of his songs are still being used today in theater and on screen.
In June of 2010, Masterworks Broadway paid tribute to one of the greatest lyrical composers of all time by releasing a compilation album of his work. Heart and Soul: Celebrating the Unforgettable Songs of Frank Loesser features nineteen tracks of songs and musical compositions created for the silver screen by Frank Loesser and performed by various artists such as Doris Day, Barry Manilow, Johnny Mathis, Michele Lee, Pearl Bailey, Dinah Shore and more. Having been a fan of Frank Loesser’s work, I couldn’t wait to listen to this album.
It was a treat to hear this collection of music often performed by the original artists in the musicals they were created for. This offered me a chance to listen to the songs performed in a different style. For example, I had heard Baby, It’s Cold Outside performed by various performers, but never as it was performed by Pearl Bailey and Hot Lips Page. There were also songs included in this compilation performed by the original artists in the styles I knew and loved like Heart and Soul by Bea Wain, Luck Be A Lady by Barry Manilow, What Are You Doing New Years Eve by Johnny Mathis, I Believe in You by Michele Lee and more. This album is filled with some of Frank Loesser’s greatest work, including medleys of music from films like Hans Christian Andersen and Where’s Charley?.
The folks at Masterworks Broadway did an excellent job in the selection and placement of each of the nineteen tracks of this album. Heart and Soul: Celebrating the Unforgettable Songs of Frank Loesser presents a perfect example of music that made Loesser one of the most sought after composers in his day. The ability to create lyrics and music that combine and flow perfectly with one another is quite difficult to attain. The fact that Frank Loesser did it so many times in such a seemingly effortless manner makes him a musical/lyrical genius in his own right. I am extremely happy to add Heart and Soul: Celebrating the Unforgettable Songs of Frank Loesser to my music collection and recommend it to anyone who has appreciated the music of Frank Loesser in its various incarnations over the years.