I recently listened to a concert on the radio of songs from the Great American Songbook, virtually all of which were show-tunes. I thought I would share with you three songs from foreign musicals – all of which have become popular standards. Unlike the American songs, none of these would be generally recognised today as show-tunes. (Click on the song titles to go to a YouTube link.)
Although made famous in 1970 by Simon & Garfunkel and misidentified as an Andean folksong, “El Condor Pasa” is in fact the title song from a 1913 Peruvian “Zarzuela” by Daniel Alomia Robles.
“Aquarela do Brasil” (“Watercolour of Brazil”, from Entra na Faixa) by Brazilian composer Ary Barosso might have vanished into obscurity had it not been featured in a 1942 Disney animated feature called Saludos Amigos. It was later popularised by bandleader Xaviar Cugat, and was the inspiration for Terry Gilliam’s 1985 film Brazil.
“Glow-worm” was originally written in 1902 by German composer Paul Lincke, a protégé of Richard Strauss for his operetta Lysistrata. Lincke’s work was eclipsed by the modern jazz style – ironically his own song became best known after being adapted into that style as a hit for the Ink Spots.
I hope you enjoyed this bit of musical theatre trivia.