I’ve been listening to some pre pop era music on your tube a lot lately- the big band and “standards” era. Based on what we view on You Tube, we then get recommendations given to us by You Tube on the right side bar.
One of my recommendations was an album of early 1950s female singers. In this album was Jo Stafford. I often have music on in the background when doing other things like chores, but when I heard the song ” No Other Love” sung by Jo I really took notice. I recognised this melody: it was based on Chopin’s Etude No. 3 in E! Now this is one of my favourite pieces of music by Chopin and I had no idea until now it had been turned into a song from 1950. Here is the song:
“No Other Love” is a popular song.
The words were written by Bob Russell. The music is credited to Paul Weston but is actually derived from Frédéric Chopin’s Étude No. 3 in E, Op. 10, and is practically identical to that of the song “Tristesse,” a 1939 hit for French singer-actor Tino Rossi. It should not be confused with “No Other Love”, written and composed by Broadway team Rodgers and Hammerstein.
A version recorded by Jo Stafford (Weston’s wife) with Weston’s orchestra backing her (released by Capitol Records as catalog number 1053, reached #8 on the Billboard charts in 1950. The piano artistry of George Greeley is also credited on the recording. This version of the song was featured heavily in the trailers and final sound-track for Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2012 film The Master. It is also featured in Todd Haynes’s 2015 film, Carol. Instrumental versions have been featured prominently in television as well, notably in the finale of the American cartoon Futurama, and as a recurring musical theme during the final episodes of the 2003 version of the Japanese anime Fullmetal Alchemist.
I think Jo and her husband Paul Weston did a good job with Chopin’s melody. The result is a beautiful vintage love song. I know some people are not keen on using classical music pieces to create songs, but this Etude by Chopin lends itself well to the inclusion of lyrics I think. The music of the Romantic era did have a certain lyrical quality to it. The composer Felix Mendelssohn even wrote some piano pieces named Songs Without Words.
This is not the first time that this particular Etude by Chopin was appreciated for its romanticism. There is a certain wonderful vintage film starring Robert Young and Dorothy McGuire, released in 1945. The film is called The Enchanted Cottage.
My mother and I watched it on television back in the early 1980s and I never forgot it, for it was utterly charming and heartwarming. We often spoke about The Enchanted Cottage over the years as we loved it so much. There are few films that stick in my mind and heart as this film does. Its one of my all time favourites.
I had not seen The Enchanted Cottage again for all those years until I found it online a few months ago. I was so happy to find it. I could surprisingly remember a lot of the plot ( which is some feat for me as I don’t have the best memory when it comes to remembering things for many years ago).
As I started watching it I wondered if it would be as affecting as I remembered it being. It was in fact even more affecting than I remembered!
There is a scene in it where this Chopin Etude is played and the effect is just so moving, so captivating, so utterly magical —you are enchanted! It doesn’t matter that the “special effects” are not as sophisticated as we get in films today, nor the fact that it’s in monochrome, and the focus isn’t sharp – you just don’t see such charming and magical moments in films today. Here is the film:
Here’s a review of The Enchanted Cottage, which I recommend you read after you have watched the film ( as it contains talks about the story, so would contain many spoilers pre viewing):
The Enchanted Cottage doesn’t seem to be a very well known film, which to me is a great shame as it was well acted, with a charming and moving story line. Who wouldn’t want to live in an enchanted cottage like this one?
Here is a great review by “G Willy” found on Amazon:
Few habitable remnants of a New England cottage were spared from the flames of a devastating fire. Some claim that what remains is now haunted and occupied/owned by a reclusive witch, Ms. Minnett (Mildred Natwick). For over a century, the cottage had been rented to honeymooners who resided there in the heights of passion, and within its walls sweethearts swore eternal love to one another. Indeed, their spirits and memories continue to dwell in this sacred abode. But, tragedy changes happiness to disenchantment when the newly-wed Minnett’s lives are abruptly subjected to the horrors of war, namely her lover’s demise, which leaves Ms. Minnett a bitter, cold widow haunted with loneliness and sadness, just as the dilapidated cottage appears to the typical passerby.
Yet, 25 years later, there is one who dreams of the cottage’s charming powers–perhaps keeping them alive–the terribly homely Laura Pennington (Dorothy McGuire), a thoughtful, sensitive local girl who grew up fascinated by legends of love associated with Ms. Minnett’s humble home. She believes it’s enchanted rather than haunted and articulates the nuances that distinguish the two terms. Additionally, Ms. Minnett seems to foresee that magic is imminent once again in the cottage when she invites Laura to work there for room and board and wages.
The synopsis above describes the history of the cottage and events that take place within the first 15 minutes of the story. But honestly, these descriptions nor any others truly do justice to The Enchanted Cottage (1945) compared to experiencing it firsthand. This film is a cinematic masterpiece and evokes more emotion than any other movie that comes to mind. McGuire gives a breath-taking performance that wrenches the heart and soul. Seriously, have a box of tissues on hand before pressing play. God, I absolutely love McGuire’s voice and performance–both enchanting in their own right. What an excellent, excellent, excellent and utterly profound film!