The Gershwin Style: New Looks at the Music of George Gershwin

Overview

Even as orchestras, performers, enthusiasts, and critics across the nation—and across the globe—celebrate the one-hundredth anniversary of his birth, George Gershwin (1898-1937) remains one of America's most popular yet least appreciated composers. True, he is loved and revered for his wonderful popular songs, a few instrumental works, and the majestic opera Porgy and Bess. But most of his music is virtually unknown; hundreds of compositions, Broadway show tunes, and even several large and important instrumental ...

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Overview

Even as orchestras, performers, enthusiasts, and critics across the nation—and across the globe—celebrate the one-hundredth anniversary of his birth, George Gershwin (1898-1937) remains one of America's most popular yet least appreciated composers. True, he is loved and revered for his wonderful popular songs, a few instrumental works, and the majestic opera Porgy and Bess. But most of his music is virtually unknown; hundreds of compositions, Broadway show tunes, and even several large and important instrumental works are gradually disappearing with the generations that first heard them.

The Gershwin Style: New Looks at the Music of George Gershwin is a bold new work that stands in opposition to this disappearance. It is also a fresh collection of essays that promises to make a key contribution to American music research. Editor Wayne Schneider has corralled some of the leading authorities of Gershwin's efforts—renowned experts and authors who have researched his music for years if not decades—and sets their work alongside articles by scholars who come to Gershwin for the first time from backgrounds in American music or popular music in general. The notable contributors include Wayne D. Shirley, Charles Hamm, Edward Jablonski, and Artis Wodehouse (who has transcribed nearly all of Gershwin's piano performances).

No one who surveys the American musical landscape can doubt Gershwin's enduring popularity or profound influence, but his critical standing among today's serious music scholars is much less certain. As Schneider points out in his Introduction, there have been many biographies of Gershwin but comparatively few studies of his music in and of itself. Covering both the "popular" and "classical" extremes of Gershwin's output, as well as the many and subtle points in between, this book reevaluates the music of an American original from several enlightening perspectives. This is a book with much to offer any student or scholar of American music—while some essays explore new methods of measuring Gershwin's abilities as a composer, others draw on hitherto unavailable musical and archival sources to make arguments previously unthinkable. The essays gathered here, most of which were written especially for this volume, thus address a number of important research topics, among them biography, source studies, music analysis, performance practice, and questions of interpretation and reception. The contributions also reflect the wide diversity of contemporary thinking regarding the logic, legacy, and lure of Gershwin's music.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Excellent notes with each paper serve as the bibliography. A useful addition to comprehensive music and performing-arts collections."—Choice
Library Journal
Schneider music, Univ. of Vermont has compiled an eclectic mix of essays on the music of American composer George Gershwin that admirably completes Steven Gilbert's Music of Gershwin LJ 12/95, one of the few recent monographs to focus on Gershwin's compositional style rather than his life. Contributors include Gershwin biographer Edward Jablonski, popular music culture scholar Charles Hamm, and Gilbert himself. Whereas Gilbert in his earlier volume applied an analytical approach to the entire Gershwin oeuvre, the writers in Schneider's book treat specific works and also delve into more diverse topics, such as Gershwin's influence on later pop/rock music, the making of the film Rhapsody in Blue, and the development of the piano roll industry. The discourse is elevated throughout but not inaccessible for those with the requisite musical background. Recommended for academic and larger public music collections.--Barry Zaslow, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195090208
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/28/1998
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Wayne Schneider is Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Vermont.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Gershwin Style, Wayne Schneider
Part 1: Analysis and Manuscript Studies
Toward a New Reading of Gershwin, Charles Hamm
Rotating Porgy and Bess, Wayne D. Shirley
Gershwin's Operetta Overtures: Medley or Composition?, Wayne Schneider
Nice Work: Thoughts and Observations on Gershwin's Last Songs, Stephen E Gilbert
Some Musing's on 'Nice Gershwin Tunes': Form, and Harmony in the Concert Music of George Gershwin, Larry Starr
Part 2: Reception
Rhapsody in Blue: A Study in Hollywood Hagiography, Charlotte Greenspan
Gershwin on the Cover of Rolling Stone, Susan Richardson
George Gershwin and Jazz, Andre Barbera
Part 3: Performance Practice
Tracing Gershwin's Piano Rolls, Artis Wodehouse
George Gershwin's Piano Rollography, Michael Montgomery
What About Ira?, Edward Jablonski

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