Not for Just an Hour, Not for Just a Day, Not for Just a Year

February 12, 2011

Soon after Marilyn Horne closed her 1999 farewell recital in Carnegie Hall with a pure, straightforward performance of “Always,” I heard this story:

Someone asked Irving Berlin which of his songs he valued most. He answered that it would be “Always.”

The questioner listed some more obviously important songs that Berlin had written, adding: “Anybody could have written ‘Always.'”

“But I did,” said the composer.

I have sometimes used this anecdote as an example of how intention, concept, etc. are worthless without execution. Can anyone here provide a source/authority for it?

The song was a wedding present for Ellin McKay, who would be Irving Berlin’s wife for sixty-two years.

BONUS: Ella Fitzgerald’s version even includes a counterpoint lesson.

One Response to “Not for Just an Hour, Not for Just a Day, Not for Just a Year”

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