Saturday, August 11, 2012

Marvin Hamlisch

Situated in Bergen County, just over the George Washington Bridge, and only a few miles away from New York City's Broadway theater district, Congregation Adas Emuno joins with so many others all around the world in saying rest in peace to Jewish-American composer and songwriter Marvin Hamlisch, 1944-2012.

Here is a photo montage tribute featuring his best known composition, "The Way We Were," sung by none other than Barbra Streisand:

The Los Angeles Times reported that Streisand was devastated upon hearing the news.  Here's an excerpt from the article:

Streisand is dedicating her latest CD, "Release Me," to Hamlisch. The CD is set for a September release and will feature a photo of the two that was shot New Year’s Eve 1993.

Streisand said that she and Hamlisch were like two peas in a pod from the moment they met nearly 50 years ago. 
“When I was with Marvin it felt like I was home,” she said. “We just hit it off and we became friends. We were so alike -- a passion for work and music.”
He was a man who loved food, laughter and the New York Yankees, she recalled. On their concert tours, she said, “Marvin had this little gizmo that he showed me that gave him the most recent baseball scores.”
Hamlisch also eased Streisand's nerves about returning to the concert stage in 1993 after 27 years. “I had sung for fundraisers,” she said. “When I decided to go back, it had to be with Marvin. Marvin got me through all of that fear.”
Streisand, the producer-writer-director, hired Hamlisch to score her 1996 film, “The Mirror Has Two Faces.” And he performed at her wedding to actor James Brolin in her Malibu home in 1998.
“The wedding was put together in 2 1/2 weeks,” she said. “He was rehearsing at a nearby school and we were talking on the phone because I was doing preparations for the wedding.”
She last saw Hamlisch in November at the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Gala.
“I hadn’t seen him in a while,” she said. “I was worried about him because he didn’t look well. He seemed very tired. I sat him down next to me.”
Streisand, who opens a concert tour in October at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, is planning a tribute to Hamlisch for the concert. 
“He was the kindest, most thoughtful, generous human being,” she said.
And like any good friend, she said, “he never forgot my birthday.”

To get a sense of the man himself, take a look at this rare footage of Marvin Hamlisch doing schtick and singing with Cantor Simon Spiro, including a new version of Irving Berlin's "Anything You Can Do":

And here are some notes about the video from the write-up on YouTube:
0:13 -- Tote Board: Actually an enormous video screen so that the people in the back and balcony seating can see better.
0:32 -- Holiday: This concert took place in the month of September, so the holiday Marvin is referring to is Rosh Hashana.
0:41 -- Purim: Usually a less-than-huge holiday, Purim at Toronto's Beth Tzedec Congregation is famously celebrated with its city-wide full-scale major musical productions each year
3:16 -- Martin: Earlier in the concert, Simon & Martin did a very funny bit in which Simon kept getting Marvin's name wrong
5:26 -- Adon Olam: While Marvin is known for composing many hits, Simon's most noted composition is "Adon Olam", which was a #1 hit in Israel and is performed today at synagogues throughout the world.
6:33 -- Sedaka: Neil Sedaka had done a Beth Tzedec concert with Simon shortly before Marvin's.
6:41 -- That's where we met: Simon & Marvin first met when they performed together in London's "Live At Her Majesty's" in the 1990s.
6:52 -- You weren't: These insults that they exchange are not real insults. They were written by lyricist Aliza Spiro as part of the song patter
7:31 -- Page turn: That's just so that Marvin can follow the chart. He is improvising on piano while Simon improvises vocally
7:52 -- Sixty jingles: In his native England, Simon actually wrote and/or sang for well over 100 commercial jingles
9:06 -- Marvin's hand: Marvin not only agreed to perform this song but threw himself into it wholeheartedly. By the end, you can see that he is Mr. Song-and-Dance. What a wonderful man. He will be missed!!

Funeral and visitation information are available on his official website,, along with his a wealth of information on his life and works. Truly, the lights on Broadway have grown a little dimmer with his passing.

No comments:

Post a Comment