Gershwin: A Biography

Overview

This still unrivaled biography portrays with precision and insight the tragically brief life—from the Brooklyn tenements to Broadway, Hollywood, and Carnegie Hall—of George Gershwin (1898–1937), a man whose music (Lady Be Good, Of Thee I Sing, Rhapsody in Blue, Concerto in F, An American in Paris, Porgy and Bess) and career—like F. Scott Fitzgerald's—embodied the glamorous success and lost possibilities of the Jazz Age.

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Overview

This still unrivaled biography portrays with precision and insight the tragically brief life—from the Brooklyn tenements to Broadway, Hollywood, and Carnegie Hall—of George Gershwin (1898–1937), a man whose music (Lady Be Good, Of Thee I Sing, Rhapsody in Blue, Concerto in F, An American in Paris, Porgy and Bess) and career—like F. Scott Fitzgerald's—embodied the glamorous success and lost possibilities of the Jazz Age.

Includes a new critical discography.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A self-confessed modern romantic, ``a man without traditions,'' George Gershwin wrote hundreds of lively, expressive, perfectly crafted songs, the opera Porgy and Bess and longer, more pretentious works that, 50 years after his death, remain in the repetory. Arguably, he is the most popular American composer of all time. In describing Gershwin's life and career, this long book, by a prolific writer on American music and military aviation, lists the highlights, repeats many familiar anecdotes and, curiously, does not include in the bibliography the Charles Schwartz biography that for some 15 years has been regarded as the standard work. For many readers, the most interesting part of this book will be the epilogue describing the later career of Ira Gershwin, who died in 1983, after ``he had just enjoyed some of his favorite chocolates.'' Photos not seen by PW. (September 18)
Library Journal
A well-timed biography, since this year marks the 50th anniversary of George Gershwin's death. Jablonski is thorough and obviously a fan, but concentrates mainly on social and career history, giving little insight into Gershwin or his work. He rarely offers either detailed musical analysis or glimpses into Gershwin's personal life. The book that might have been is revealed in the later chapters, particulary the one on Porgy and Bess , rich with anecdotes and details of the opera's creation. He makes some pointed observations about the conflict others saw between ``jazz'' and ``highbrow,'' but tries too hard as an apologist. Finally, a curious 45-page epilogue is devoted to lyricist Ira Gershwin's life and career after his brother's death. A fair biography, but not the definitive one Gershwin deserves. Mark H. Sullivan, Univ. of North Carolina Lib., Charlotte
Booknews
Reprint of the 1988 Doubleday original with a new critical discography. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306808470
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 8/22/1998
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 520
  • Sales rank: 390,652
  • Product dimensions: 5.42 (w) x 8.44 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Edward Jablonski is the author of The Gershwin Years: George and Ira (with Lawrence D. Stewart—available from Da Capo/ Perseus Books Group), Arlen: Happy with the Blues, Alan Jay Lerner, and many others. He lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 The New American Gershvins 1
2 From Tin Pan Alley ... 15
3 ... to Broadway 40
4 "Experiment in Modern Music" 61
5 1924 77
6 Modern Romantic 91
7 Interlude and Preludes 117
8 Hits and Misses 138
9 Americans in Paris 153
10 Transition: Broadway to Hollywood 182
11 Manhattan Rhapsody 211
12 Song Book 229
13 Porgy and Bess 250
14 The Goldwyn Coast 292
Epilogue: The Myths of Ira Gershwin 327
Compositions by George and Ira Gershwin 372
Bibliography 393
Notes on Sources 396
Acknowledgments 400
An Informal Discography and Videography (1998 Edition) 402
Index 421
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