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Posted October 16, 2012
A Musical Journey
Perusing this book is much like attending a cabaret performance by Michael Feinstein: It is replete with personal anecdotes and examples of the Great American Songbook. It is accompanied by a CD of 12 of the best Gershwin tunes. And the illustrations, many of which are from the author’s personal collection amassed over decades, are not only impressive but a rare addition to an informative work.
At the age of 20, Feinstein became the personal assistant to Ira Gershwin, helping to catalog the work of perhaps the greatest songwriting team in American history [Ira with his brother, George, of course]. He spent six years at the task, which certainly qualifies him as one of the foremost authorities on his subject. The book not only addresses the Gershwins’ impressive output, but the whole genre, which he dates back to the writing of Swanee. He suggests the tunes of George and lyrics of Ira, fresh and vital, helped to shape the attitudes, morals and beliefs of the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s. And beyond the Gershwins, he looks at the whole genre: Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Rogers and Hart, Harry Warren and Harold Arlen, and how they were influenced by the brothers Gershwin.
In case you’re wondering, the twelve songs are: “Strike Up the Band,” “’S Wonderful,” “I’ve Got a Crush on You,” “They All Laughed,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Embraceable You,” “Who Cares?,” “I Got Plenty of Nuthin’,” “They Can’t Take Than Away from Me,” “I Got Rhythm,” and “Love Is Here to Stay.”
Not only are the Gerswins memorable, but this book will be as well: for its information and art. It certainly should, and will be, I am certain, a lot more than just a display on a coffee table. Highly recommended.
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Posted November 3, 2012
The Gershwins have another hit, via Micael Feinstein
Everyone who enjoys great American music and songs must obtain a copy of this book
written superbly by Michael Feinstein. As a bonus, the book includes a CD by the
author. If not for yourself, this book makes a wonderful gift!
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Posted October 17, 2012
Heard it onNPR
I heard the author today on NPR and I cannot wait to read this book. My first thought was, my grandmother (educated polish woman who loves biographies and classical music) would LOVE this book. Only problem, she doesn't speak polish. I am considering translating this book as her birthday gift.
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Posted February 24, 2013
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