Vernon Duke

Biography

Born: October 10, 1903; Parafianovka, Russian Empire   Died: January 16, 1969; Santa Monica, CA  
Vernon Duke was among the most popular composers of the Depression era, scoring a series of hits including the standards "April in Paris," "Autumn in New York," and "I Can't Get Started"; under his real name Vladimir Dukelsky, he also enjoyed a concurrent career in classical music. Born October 10, 1903, in Parafianovo, Russia, he was raised in Kiev, and at age 11 was admitted to the Kiev Conservatory, studying composition under Reinhold Gliere Read more and theory under Boleslaw Jaworski. Civil unrest forced the Dukelsky family to flee Russia in 1919, and after spending some 18 months in Constantinople, they settled in New York City in 1921. There, Dukelsky befriended George Gershwin, who suggested he Americanize his name to Vernon Duke; although he made the change for the Gershwin-inspired pop material he began writing at that same time, the composer retained his given name for his more ambitious musical projects as well as his poetry.

Duke settled in Paris in 1924, receiving a commission from Serge Diaghilev to compose the ballet Zephyr and Flora, which premiered the following year; although his "First Symphony" was performed in 1928 by Serge Koussevitzky and his orchestra, he spent much of the latter half of the decade in London, writing for the musical stage. Duke returned to New York in 1929 and began writing for Broadway, teaming with lyricist Yip Harburg to score his first major pop hit with "April in Paris," from the 1932 musical Walk a Little Faster. He authored his own lyrics for "Autumn in New York," from 1934's Thumbs Up, and that same year also penned "I Like the Likes of You" and "What Is There to Say" for the Ziegfeld Follies, to whom he later contributed "I Can't Get Started," "An Island in the West Indies," and "That Moment of Moments" as well. In the meantime, as Dukelsky he continued working on ballets (1934's Jardin Public, from a scenario by André Gide), concertos ("Dédicaces [Posviashcheniia]"), and oratories ("The End of St. Petersburg," perhaps his most challenging composition).

Duke's greatest commercial success followed with the 1940 Broadway premiere of Cabin in the Sky, an all-black musical choreographed by George Balanchine; Ethel Waters introduced the production's most famous number, "Taking a Chance on Love." Two years later, Duke entered the U.S. Navy, but after the war his career floundered, and in 1946 he returned to Paris before settling in California two years later. In 1952, he collaborated on the musical Two's Company with Ogden Nash, and in 1957 married singer Kay McCracken. Five years later, Duke published his first book of poetry, Epistles; his memoir Passport to Paris appeared several years earlier, and he additionally published dozens of articles in both English and Russian. 1966's "Anima Eroica (Ode to St. Brigitte)" was Duke's last major completed work; he died during a lung cancer operation on January 16, 1969. ~ Jason Ankeny Read less
Browse 1-25 of 31 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    The Golden Age Of Light Music: Ca C'est Paris
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5207 Release Date: 02/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  José Padilla,  Vernon Duke,  Roger Roger,  Guy Lafarge  ... 
    Conductor:  Jos Cleber,  Robert Farnon,  Roger Roger,  Hal Mooney  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Telecast Ensemble
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  • 2.
    The Golden Age Of Light Music: The Lost Transcriptions, Vol. 4
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5208 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nicholas Brodszky,  David Rose,  Lew Brown,  Frederic Bayco  ... 
    Performer:  Vincent Abato,  Stan Freeman,  Richard Hayman
    Conductor:  David Rose,  Annuncio Paolo Mantovani,  Carl Chandler,  Harry Bluestone  ... 
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  • 3.
    Crossroads / Nedsym Lite
    Label: Challenge   Catalog: 72612 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Vernon Duke,  Fritz Kreisler,  Sholom Secunda  ... 
    Conductor:  Tim Nobel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NedSym Lite
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  • 4.
    The Golden Age Of Light Music: A Glorious Century Of Light Music
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5200 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jerome Kern,  Vernon Duke,  Ron Goodwin,  Jule Styne  ... 
    Conductor:  Cyril Ornadel,  Paul Mauriat,  Ron Goodwin,  Annuncio Paolo Mantovani  ... 
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  • 5.
    Virgins, Vixens & Viragos / Susan Graham
    Label: Onyx   Catalog: 4105 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  Hector Berlioz,  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Susan Graham,  Malcolm Martineau
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  • 6.
    The Golden Age Of Light Music: Stereo Into The Sixties
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5192 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Herman Clebanoff,  Annuncio Paolo Mantovani,  Ron Goodwin  ... 
    Performer:  Russ Conway,  Neill Sanders
    Conductor:  Frederick Fennell,  Herman Clebanoff,  Annuncio Paolo Mantovani,  Ron Goodwin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ferrante & Teicher
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  • 7.
    Let's Dance / Eckert, United States Air Force Band
    Label: Altissimo   Catalog: ALT61652 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Mancini,  John LaBarbera,  Arthur Johnston,  Edward "Duke" Ellington  ... 
    Conductor:  Joe Eckert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  United States Air Force Band Airmen of Note
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  • 8.
    Music & Painters - Music Of The Era Of Monet, Chagall, Courbet & Picasso
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5283 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Gabriel Fauré,  Ernest Chausson  ... 
    Performer:  Anne Gastinel,  Daniel Blumenthal,  Marie-Nicole Lemieux,  Noel Lee  ... 
    Conductor:  Dmitry Yablonsky,  Christoph Eschenbach,  Alain Lombard,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kasbek Ensemble,  Russian State Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 9.
    Sweet Bye And Bye / 2011 Studio Cast
    Label: Ps Classics   Catalog: 1198 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vernon Duke
    Performer:  Georgia Engel,  Rebecca Luker,  Telly Leung,  Graham Rowat  ... 
    Conductor:  Eric Stern
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  • 10.
    The Golden Age Of Light Music: The Lost Transcriptions, Vol. 1
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5174 Release Date: 05/10/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Jerome Kern,  Edward B. Claypoole,  David Rose  ... 
    Performer:  Lou Whiteson
    Conductor:  Sidney Torch,  Percy Faith,  David Rose,  Dolf van der Linden  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 11.
    April In Paris / Coleman Hawkins
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 61063 Release Date: 01/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johnny Green,  Coleman Hawkins,  Vernon Duke,  Harlan Thompson  ... 
    Performer:  Coleman Hawkins
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 12.
    The Golden Age Of Light Music: A First A-Z Of Light Music
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5169 Release Date: 12/14/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vivian Ellis,  George Forrest,  David Rose,  Aldo Von Pinelli  ... 
    Performer:  Queen's Hall Light Orchestra,  Warren Barker and His Orchestra,  David & His Orchestra Rose,  Hans-Georg Arlt Orchestra  ... 
    Conductor:  Sidney Torch,  Warren Barker,  David Rose,  Hans-Georg Arlt  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 13.
    Seasons...dreams / Anne Akiko Meyers
    Label: eOne   Catalog: 7780 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Richard Wagner,  Gene Pritsker,  Vernon Duke  ... 
    Performer:  Emmanuel Ceysson,  Reiko Uchida,  Anne Akiko Meyers
    CD: $17.99
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  • 14.
    The Indispensable Coleman Hawkins - Body And Soul
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 66495 Release Date: 09/07/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Fats Waller,  Don Redman,  Red McKenzie,  James P. Johnson  ... 
    Performer:  Coleman Hawkins
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  • 15.
    Ruby Braff - This Is My Lucky Day
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 6456 Release Date: 08/20/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Walter Donaldson,  Donald Heywood,  Vernon Duke,  Irving Berlin  ... 
    Performer:  Dick Hafer,  Steve Jordan,  Pee Wee Russell,  Ruby Braff  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ruby Braff Octet,  Ruby Braff Sextet
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  • 16.
    Roots - My Life, My Song / Jessye Norman
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 764263 Release Date: 06/15/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Traditional,  Edward "Duke" Ellington,  Billy Strayhorn,  Thelonious Monk  ... 
    Performer:  Jessye Norman
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  • 17.
    Kiss The Guitar Player - Dialogues For Guitar & String Quartet / Klimt!
    Label: Challenge   Catalog: 72333 Release Date: 11/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Tiehuis,  Piet Souer,  Luigi Boccherini,  Leonardo Amuedo  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Tiehuis,  Bert Meulendijk,  Arturo Ramón,  Jim Schultz  ... 
    On sale! $17.98
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  • 18.
    Golden Age Of Light Music - Light Music For All Seasons
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5138 Release Date: 04/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vernon Duke,  Eric Coates,  Claude Thornhill,  Leroy Anderson  ... 
    Performer:  Ethel Smith
    Conductor:  Michel Legrand,  Eric Coates,  Leroy Holmes,  Walter Collins
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Michel Legrand Orchestra,  Leroy Holmes Orchestra,  London Promenade Orchestra
    On sale! $19.98
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  • 19.
    Love And The Dickens - Richard Pearson Thomas / Muriello, Thomas
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1007 Release Date: 03/04/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Rodgers,  Cole Porter,  George Gershwin,  Vernon Duke  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Pearson Thomas,  John Muriello
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  • 20.
    That's Entertainment III
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 55215 Release Date: 12/10/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Irving Berlin,  Harry Warren,  Vernon Duke,  Nacio Herb Brown  ... 
    Performer:  Judy Garland,  Howard Keel,  Betty Hutton,  Lena Horne  ... 
    Conductor:  John Mauceri
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 21.
    American Classics - Duke: Piano And Cello Concertos, Etc / Yablonsky, Magill, Dunn, Russian Philharmonic
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559286 Release Date: 11/20/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vernon Duke
    Performer:  Scott Dunn,  Samuel Magill
    Conductor:  Dmitry Yablonsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 22.
    Stardust - Rodgers, Gershwin, Sondheim / Utterback
    Label: Connoisseur Society   Catalog: 4253 Release Date: 08/30/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Carlos Jobim,  Bill Evans,  George Duning,  Frankie Laine  ... 
    Performer:  Joe Utterback
    On sale! $19.98
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  • 23.
    Serious Fun ! - Berners, Nicholas, Baker/ Applebaum, Hamelin
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 744 Release Date: 06/28/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  David Nathaniel Baker,  Tom Lehrer,  Peter Winkler,  Stephen Sondheim  ... 
    Performer:  Jody Karin Applebaum,  Marc-André Hamelin
    On sale! $19.98
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  • 24.
    Gemini - Menuhin & Grappelli Play Gershwin, Berlin, Etc
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 86230 Release Date: 02/15/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Jack Strachey,  David Raksin,  Vernon Duke  ... 
    Performer:  Denny Wright,  Ike Isaacs,  Lennie Bush,  Alan Clare  ... 
    Conductor:  Max Harris,  Nelson Riddle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Instrumental Ensemble,  Alan Clare Trio
    On sale! $16.98
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  • 25.
    Historic Two-piano Wizardry - Morley & Gearhart Rediscovered
    Label: Ivory Classics   Catalog: 72004 Release Date: 09/18/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Egbert Anson Van Alstyne,  John Waldo Green,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Zoltán Kodály  ... 
    Performer:  Virginia Morley,  Livingston Gearhart
    On sale! $34.98
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