Sigmund Romberg (1887 – 1951) was a Hungarian Jew who moved with his family to New York in 1909. He played violin and piano as a child and later became a prolific songwriter for Broadway shows, including Desert Song and The New Moon. Two of his finest compositions were ‘Lover. Come Back To Me’ and ‘Softly As In A Morning Sunrise’. both written for ‘The New Moon’. in 1928.
Unlike the strummer and whiner Bob Dylan, who was also a Jew, Romberg was a gifted composer who bequeathed the world many enduring songs. In a sane world Dylan would be forever unknown and Americans today would be familiar with Romberg’s work. Highly recommended is the fine version of ‘Softly’ by the superb Modern Jazz Quartet featuring Milt Jackson on vibes, John Lewis on piano, Percy Heath bass and Connie Kay drums. It will be a measure of America’s recovery when this music is once again gracing the airwaves.