Jerome Kern

Yesterdays, song (from "Roberta")

    Description by Robert Cummings

    This song appeared in the 1933 Broadway hit Roberta, which was made into a popular film and released in 1935. Many believe this musical was a continuation of the evolution in Kern's Broadway style toward a more operatic approach. With lyrics by longtime collaborator Otto Harbach, Yesterdays has been cited by many as being among Kern's finest efforts. Does it divulge a certain operatic character? Some may hear it that way because of its greater sense for drama, but the song does not actually break with the composer's Broadway musical persona, even if it exhibits a more serious manner and an almost Rachmaninovian lyricism.

    The main theme is melancholy, but soars in its nocturnal, intimate beauty. On its first appearance, its sweet sadness comes across in mostly descending phrases, and when it is given the second time a new phrase is added, one that falls gently and beautifully, and with a resolute sorrowful sense. The music perfectly matches the lyrics, which tell of youthful romance and past loves, of better times than the sad ones of the present. Without a doubt, this song features one of Kern's finest and perhaps deepest melodic creations.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2015 Steinway & Sons STNS 30026
    2012 Naïve V 5283
    2012 Guild Light Music GLCD 5193
    2010 Decca
    2010 EMI Classics
    2010 Opening Day Recordings 7383
    2009 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 5099969853
    2008 DRG / EMI Music Distribution DRGCD 91510
    2008 Historic Recordings 89707
    2007 Centaur Records 2771
    2005 Centaur Records 2724
    2002 LML Music 202
    2002 Naïve 4942
    2002 Preiser Records 89945
    2000 EMI Classics / Angel Records / EMI Music Distribution CDC-54527
    1998 Biddulph Recordings LAB137
    1997 Delos 3224
    1997 London 4551532
    1996 RCA 68478
    1996 RCA Victor 68478
    1996 Silva America 6013
    1996 Avid 519
    1995 Philology 116
    1993 Vanguard 6015
    1993 Angel Records / EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 0777754527
    London / London 414666
    Telarc Distribution 83337
    Reference Recordings 28
    Pro-Arte Records 451
    Reader's Digest Music 371376
    RCA 60795