George Gershwin: A New Biography by William G. Hyland, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
George Gershwin: A New Biography

George Gershwin: A New Biography

by William G. Hyland
     
 

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This book reexamines how Gershwin became the first composer to apply popular music to classical forms yet never achieved the happiness his stature deserved.

Overview

This book reexamines how Gershwin became the first composer to apply popular music to classical forms yet never achieved the happiness his stature deserved.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
A retired foreign service official who now writes books about American popular song, Hyland knows something about music (he played trumpet in the Army), and his love of Gershwin's music has inspired him to produce a compact, fully annotated biography that makes generous use of an impressive assortment of primary and secondary sources, including the Gershwin collection at the Library of Congress. — Terry Teachout
Library Journal
Previously, Gershwin biographers have been either hagiographic (e.g., David Ewen's Journey to Greatness: The Life and Music of George Gershwin) or unflattering (e.g., Joan Peyser's The Memory of All That). Hyland (Richard Rodgers) takes the middle of the road, and the Gershwin who emerges is both more complicated and more fascinating. Drawing on research from the Gershwin Collection at the Library of Congress, the author excels at examining issues such as his subject's teachers and exactly how much (or little) formal instruction he received. Hyland evenhandedly assesses areas of controversy: Gershwin's personality (was he sweet-tempered or conceited and pushy?), his relations with women (he never married), his status as composer of concert music (disputing unfounded accusations that he did not orchestrate his concert music after Rhapsody in Blue), and his relationship to African American composers and their music. In addition, Hyland compares the composer with contemporaries Aaron Copland, Duke Ellington, and Leonard Bernstein. This fresh and well-researched biography of one of America's great composers is highly recommended for all libraries.-Bruce R. Schueneman, Texas A&M Univ., Kingsville Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"[H]yland brings the scholar's approach. His documentation is superb, and he probes and assesses his sources, attempting to determine what actually happened: for example, the conflicting accounts of Gershwin's final illness. Hyland furnishes details of the life—personal and professional—and does a good job placing Gershwin's achievements in the context of his time….For comprehensive collections serving upper-division undergraduates through faculty." - Choice

"Previously, Gershwin biographers have been either hagiographic or unflattering. Hyland takes the middle of the road, and the Gershwin who emerges is both more complicated and more fascinating….This fresh and well-researched biography of one of America's great composers is highly recommended for all libraries." - Library Journal, Starred Review

[J]oins the ranks of several fine and industrious authors who have produced estimable efforts….[w]ritten in an accessible style that addresses a wide readership….[i]s a work of significant ambition - Book Reviews

William G. Hyland's biography ofsongwriter and composer George Gershwin is a detailed and very thorough one….William G. Hyland's biography of George Gershwin is clearly meant to eclipse the early biographies of the songwriter and to be the definitive one. He corrects the myths and errors about Gershwin in the earlier biographies and replaces them with facts. - Magill Book Reviews

[A]nyone curious about the new Gershwin scholarship will find this book to be an efficient starting point for further exploration. - The New York Times Book Review

"In this in-depth, well-researched biography, Hyland explores Gershwin's complex personality and his pioneering music….Hyland provides fresh insights on how Gershwin forged a link between jazz and the concert hall, new musical trends on Broadway in the 1920s, the composer's life and work in Hollywood, and his place in the pantheon of American music….Hyland explains how Gershwin became the first composer to apply popular music to classical forms and how his compositions reflected the restlessness of our country during the Jazz Age….a scrupulous portrait of a musical genius." - Booklist, Starred Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780313361500
Publisher:
Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
Publication date:
08/30/2003
Edition description:
New
Pages:
312
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are saying about this

Thomas Hischak
"It did not take me long to realize that this was not 'just another' Gershwin biography [due to] the book's originality, its very up-to-date information, its careful but readable analyses, and its overview of everything yet written about Gershwin. The book is meticulously researched, very thorough, and well written. . . . I find it to be an excellent addition to the field."
Thomas Hischak^LProfessor of Theatre

It did not take me long to realize that this was not 'just another' Gershwin biography [due to] the book's originality, its very up-to-date information, its careful but readable analyses, and its overview of everything yet written about Gershwin. The book is meticulously researched, very thorough, and well written. . . . I find it to be an excellent addition to the field.
Steve Ross
Another Gershwin biography? Yes—and a very good one at that. It includes a fascinating overview of many of the other works on the subject, as well as being easy and enjoyable to read. And besides—its got rhythm!
Michael Feinstein
This new biography of George Gershwin is well researched and most interesting. Mr. Hyland has carefully combined old and new information to present an evenhanded and fresh look at the composer.
Thomas Hischak Professor of Theatre
It did not take me long to realize that this was not 'just another' Gershwin biography [due to] the book's originality, its very up-to-date information, its careful but readable analyses, and its overview of everything yet written about Gershwin. The book is meticulously researched, very thorough, and well written. . . . I find it to be an excellent addition to the field.

Meet the Author

WILLIAM G. HYLAND served a long career with the United States Government—at the White House, the State Department, and the NSC—and for ten years was the editor of Foreign Affairs Quarterly. He is the author of many works on international politics, as well as The Song Is Ended: Songwriters and American Music, 1900-1950 and Richard Rodgers.

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