In only a few days many people in the United States and around the world will be celebrating Valentine’s Day. Though this holiday started as a tradition of celebrating the martyr Saint Valentine, it has been commercialized and is now a day to exchange gifts with loved ones. Modern day Valentine’s Day celebrations often involve giving and receiving gifts to expresses one’s love for another, be it a friend, a family member, or significant other.
For those who celebrate the day and are in need of a bit of inspiration, this post will feature some potential lyrical gifts: love songs. Special Collections & Archives holds both entire collections of sheet music such as the Library of the Institute for the Study of Women in Music Collection and the Vicente Gomez Collection, as well as individually cataloged items like Bob Iriving’s score “With You Beside Me.”
Highlighted here are four love songs from the Library of the Institute for the Study of Women in Music Collection. The first is by Margaret Ruthven Lang: “Irish Love Song.” This song was one of her most performed songs. The term “O’Mavourneen” is used quite a bit in the lyrics: it means “darling” or “dear” in Irish. The next composer, Amy Woodforde-Finden, lived in India while her husband served with the Indian Medical Service. She wrote “Kashmiri Song”, one of her most popular pieces, during this time. In “Kashmiri Song” there are notes with both South Asian and British influences. Then, Isidore Luckstone composed the music for “Love’s Symphony.” However, the lyrics were taken from the poem “A Love Symphony” written by Arthur O’Shaughnessy, a 19th century poet. Finally, Carrie Jacobs-Bond wrote the lyrics and composed the music for “I Love You Truly,” an endearing song of love for another.
Another music related collection to get some musical inspiration from is the Vicente Gomez Collection. This collection contains the music from the 1941 feature film Blood and Sand. Vicente Gomez wrote the lyrics for and composed this piece. It was written for a scene where the protagonist serenades his love interest. Gomez himself plays the lead guitarist on screen in the scene. The film starred Rita Hayworth, Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell and Anthony Quinn.
And finally, the love song “With You Beside Me” was composed by Bob Irving with lyrics written by Raymond A. Browne. Brown’s lyrics describe the love that one has for another, even after the darkest of days: “what need for more than one true friend if that one! Thee my own, my precious!”