Rudolf Friml was born in Prague in 1879. He emigrated to America in 1906 where he flourished as a composer of songs and operettas. He is one of three such early twentieth-century immigrants included on this record, each of whom wrote immensely popular stage pieces overflowing with romantic melody. The other two are Victor Herbert and Sigmund Romberg. Friml’s 1924 production of Rose Marie
was a huge hit. His librettists were Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II. I met Otto Harbach on several occasions when, as a teenager, I sang at a number of annual ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) dinners here in New York. At one of those ASCAP evenings I had the thrill of singing Harbach’s Smoke gets in your eyes
and Hammerstein’s It’s a grand night for singing
with both authors in attendance. I also sang once at Oscar Hammerstein’s home. I have always loved singing Rose Marie
. As a youngster I was convinced that it referred to my own beloved sister Rosemary.
from notes by Robert White © 1997