About this work
Written with the immortal Ned Washington ("When You Wish Upon a Star," "Baby Mine, High Noon," "Stella By Starlight," "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You"), "The Nearness of You" from 1937 is as great a song as Hoagy Carmichael ever wrote. And it is a quintessentially Carmichael song. The tonal melody full of yearning dissonances, the blues harmonies that chromatically modulate, the phrasing that can change from a descending sequence to a passionate bel canto: all these things are in all of Carmichael's best songs. That the yearning dissonances, the chromatic modulations, and the passionate bel canto are about erotic longing instead of the nostalgic longing only makes them all the more pungent rather than poignant. But like Carmichael's nostaligic songs, his sexual songs are extremely effective and even a few bars of "The Nearness of You" immediately sets the scene for a night of sensuality.