News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Akron Children's Hospital

NOCHE

Don Drumm Studios


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Commentary


The tone of September's songs
Septembers songs prompt reflections on time and mortality
by WKSU's PAUL GASTON


Commentator
Paul Gaston
 
Download (WKSU Only)

For students and teachers, for theaters and orchestras, and for governments throughout the world, September is the month promising new beginnings. But WKSU commentator Paul Gaston and been listening to – and thinking about – the songs of September.

Paul Gaston: A sense of urgency, of mortality

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (6:03)


     Why is it that the songs of September--and there are memorable ones--share a sense of regret, of sadness, of time that will never be recovered? 

     Al Dubin’s 1937 lyrics for “September in the Rain” offer three images for a season of dying gardens and shorter days: “leaves of brown . . . tumbling down,” the sun going out “like a dying ember,” and, well, the rain.

     It doesn’t get any brighter in “September Song” one year later. That 1938 song by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Maxwell Anderson and the edgy composer, Kurt Weill, begins with charming patter about the fleeting joys of youthful love. But at its heart lies wistful regret that there’s not much time left. A year goes by quickly. So does life.

     “It’s a long, long while from May to December / But the days grow short when you reach September.” Gone is the leisure of summer, the heady spirit of a season you hope will never end. Now there is a sense of urgency, of mortality.   

     One more? Sammy Cahn’s 1965 lyrics for “The September of My Years” gave Frank Sinatra the name for one of his last albums. Here, too, September prompts reflections on time and mortality. “One day you turn around, and it’s summer / Next day you turn around, and it’s fall.” Time for a sigh as the Chairman of the Board accepts “The warm September of my years.”

     You probably have your own favorite.

     But where are the songs that capture the other side of September, the month of openings, fresh starts, renewed energy? Our performing arts organizations, from the Cleveland Playhouse to the Akron Symphony, begin their new seasons. The Holden Arboretum welcomes fall visitors to its most brilliant colors. From Case Western Reserve to Walsh University, Wooster College to Kent State Tuscarawas, college classes get under way. New friendships form. New ambitions emerge.

     The days grow shorter, sure. But the earlier evenings have their charm. It’s not exactly a song. But in his “Ode to Autumn,” John Keats offers reassurance to the fall season, which has its own music.

     Hedge-crickets sing, and now with treble soft

     The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;

     And gathering swallows twitter in the skies. 

     I remind myself of September’s positives partly to cheer myself up. But there are some Septembers when the songs of September seem particularly sobering--songs of loss, of regret, of life’s limited span. And this is one of those Septembers.

 

Listener Comments:

September along the Gulf Coast is lovely and fun as the humidity and heat of summer start to change for the better. It is also a time of deep anxiety every time a new tropical storm is named, even one thousands of miles away. Hurricane Betsy ripped and flooded New Orleans and the Mississippi coast on Sept. 9, 1965, and we are all still experiencing PKSD (post-Katrina stress disorder) from the devastation of Aug. 29, 2005, and the September that followed. We look forward to the end of September and watch the Weather Service's statistical graph that plots a steep decilne in hurricane formation as October approaches.


Posted by: Earl Higgins (New Orleans) on September 10, 2011 12:09PM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Massive pipeline planned to pump Ohio shale products to Texas
This needs stopped. Ohioans pay the price, putting up with pollution, leaks, explosions, and the top one percent profit from exporting fracked product to China.

National Weather Service confirms three tornado touchdowns yesterday
I was driving back from a party and was caught in the middle of a large thunderstorm. The hail and lightning were a whole light closer than usual, is something ...

Another Indians season opens with Chief Wahoo under scrutiny
The picture you have for Robert rocha is not him. He has long hair. No idea who that guy is in that picture

Portman predicts McDonald's confirmation, but says it won't be easy
I sent the following note to Senator Blumenthal after reading commentary from yesterday's hearing: Senator, You certainly have the right to ask Mr. McDonald que...

Seven minutes changed everything, but what changed Ashford Thompson?
He shot the guy four times in the head. I have never been that drunk or mad, and I have been through it. Shoot a guy once is bad, maybe a mistake, shoot a guy f...

First cricket farm in the U.S. opens in Youngstown
I am interested in cricket flour to replace soy flour in a low carbohydrate diet. As soon as you have cricket flour available for the average person, please le...

New process starts digesting sludge in Wooster
Awesome! When do our sewage rates decrease accordingly?

Akron's Chapel Hill Mall in foreclosure
Not a surprise. Between the shoplifting, gangs and violence that goes on up there it is no wonder that no one feels safe to shop at Chapel Hill. They have sca...

Ohio launches investigation into at least one Concept charter school
I worked at Noble Academy Cleveland as admin assistant and enrolment coordinator for 6 years, I know this is so valid and true and can provide staff names and p...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University