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Ira Gershwin: The Art of the Lyricist [NOOK Book]

Overview

In Ira Gershwin: The Art of the Lyricist, the older and less flamboyant of the Gershwin brothers at last steps out of the shadows to claim his due as one of American songwriting's most important and enduring innovators. Philip Furia traces the development of Ira Gershwin's lyrical art from his early love of light verse and Gilbert and Sullivan, through his apprentice work in Tin Pan Alley, to his emergence as a prominent writer for the Broadway musical theater in the 1920s. Furia illuminates his work in satirical...
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Ira Gershwin: The Art of the Lyricist

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Overview

In Ira Gershwin: The Art of the Lyricist, the older and less flamboyant of the Gershwin brothers at last steps out of the shadows to claim his due as one of American songwriting's most important and enduring innovators. Philip Furia traces the development of Ira Gershwin's lyrical art from his early love of light verse and Gilbert and Sullivan, through his apprentice work in Tin Pan Alley, to his emergence as a prominent writer for the Broadway musical theater in the 1920s. Furia illuminates his work in satirical operettas such as Of Thee I Sing and Strike Up the Band, the smart "little" revues of the 1930s, and his contributions to the opera Porgy and Bess. After describing the Gershwin brothers' brief but brilliant work in Hollywood before George's sudden death - work that produced such classics as "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" - Furia follows Ira's career through such triumphs as Lady in the Dark with Kurt Weill, Cover Girl with Jerome Kern, and A Star Is Born, with Harold Arlen. Along the way, Furia provides much insight into the art of the lyricist, and he captures the magic of a golden era when not only the Gershwins, but Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II, Gertrude Lawrence, Fred Astaire, and other luminaries made the lights of Broadway and the Hollywood screen shine brighter than ever before.

In this marvelous biography, Furia focuses on the life of Ira Gershwin, the older and less flamboyant of the Gershwin brothers, one of American songwriting's most important and enduring innovators. From his first major success, "The Man I Love" 1924, to his last great hit, "The Man That Got Away" 1954, Ira Gershwin wrote the words to some of America's best-loved standards. 20 illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

Aaron Cohen
Few lyricists have matched Ira Gershwin's ability to stretch "I love you" ingeniously throughout 32 bars of music. Despite his brilliant verses, his contributions to popular song have been somewhat underrated compared to the accolades bestowed upon his brother and collaborator, George. Furia's cogent critical biography is an important study of Ira's career that argues how important his work was in shaping what has become the quintessentially American language. He proceeds through detailed analyses of Gershwin hits; for example, Furia parses "The Man I Love" --in which the tension, he maintains, is strengthened by choosing "I love" instead of "I'll love" --to show how Ira managed to "weave witty sentiments out of the simplest of vernacular phrases." Furia also recounts the Gershwin brothers' process of collaboration and champions the underperformed Ira GershwinKurt Weill production, "Lady in the Dark". Stories of glamorous Broadway musicals and MGM movie extravaganzas also inform the book. Moreover, Furia looks at Ira's retiring personality, which made him satisfied throughout his life with letting the legends around him take center stage.
From the Publisher

"Ira Gershwin is predominantly a lyrical biography of 'the other Gershwin,' as Ira was unfairly called. And nobody understands the rhetoric of a song better than Furia."--The Chicago Tribune

"Mr. Furia presents a clear, focused, highly readable study of Gershwin's lyrics in all their deceptive simplicity.... A sharp and concise look at the reasons Gershwin's songs have endured."--The New York Times Book Review

"Ira Gershwin was a true master of lyric writing, and Mr. Furia has done him great and insightful justice."--Steve Allen

From Barnes & Noble
In this insightful biography, the elder & less flamboyant Gershwin brother emerges from the shadows to claim his rightful place as one of the greatest innovators of American songwriting. Illuminates an era of enormous musical creativity. B&W photos.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198024446
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,297,719
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

About the Author:
Philip Furia is Professor of English at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of The Poets of Tin Pan Alley.

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