Overview

George Gershwin is one of the giants of American music, unique in that he was both a brilliant writer of popular songs ("Swanee," "I Got Rhythm," 'They Can't Take That Away from Me") and of more serious music, including Rhapsody In Blue, An American in Paris, and Porgy and Bess. Now, in The George Gershwin Reader, music lovers are treated to a spectacular collection of writings by and about Gershwin, with more than eighty pieces of superb variety, color, and depth. There is a who's who of famous commentators: ...
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The George Gershwin Reader

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Overview

George Gershwin is one of the giants of American music, unique in that he was both a brilliant writer of popular songs ("Swanee," "I Got Rhythm," 'They Can't Take That Away from Me") and of more serious music, including Rhapsody In Blue, An American in Paris, and Porgy and Bess. Now, in The George Gershwin Reader, music lovers are treated to a spectacular collection of writings by and about Gershwin, with more than eighty pieces of superb variety, color, and depth. There is a who's who of famous commentators: bandleader Paul Whiteman; critics Robert Benchley, Alexander Woollcott, and Brooks Atkinson; fellow composers Irving Bedin, Jerome Kern, Alec Wilder (who analyzes the songs "That Certain Feeling" and "A Foggy Day"), Leonard Bernstein, and the formidable modernist composer Arnold Schoenberg (who was Gershwin's tennis partner in Hollywood). Some of the most fascinating and important writings here deal with the critical debate over Gershwin's concert pieces, especially Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris, and there is a complete section devoted to the controversies over Porgy and Bess, including correspondence between Gershwin and DuBose Heyward, the opera's librettist (a series of excerpts which illuminate the creative process), plus unique interviews with the original Porgy and Bess. Sprinkled throughout the book are excerpts from Gershwin's own letters, which offer unique insight into this fascinating and charming man.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Editors Wyatt (executive director, Cape Cod Conservatory of Music) and Johnson (musicology, Syracuse Univ.) have assembled a fascinating collection of articles, biographical reminiscences, reviews, musical analyses, and letters relating to the life and music of George Gershwin. Organized into seven sections that roughly follow the composer's life, the book is designed to supplement previous collections of source material, especially Edward Jablonski and Lawrence Stewart's The Gershwin Years, Jablonski's Gershwin and Gershwin Remembered, Robert Kimball and Alfred Simon's The Gershwins, and George Gershwin, edited by Merle Armitage. Most of the material is being reprinted from the original source for the first time, though several items were previously published in Gershwin books. Other information, such as taped interviews with the original leads of Porgy and Bess, have never before appeared in print. The items range from family members and friends' reminiscences, contemporary comment on Gershwin and his music, letters to and from Gershwin, several articles by Gershwin, and excerpts from books (including a delightful piece by Leonard Bernstein). Controversial aspects of Gershwin's career, such as the genesis of "I've Got Rhythm," the orchestration of concert works after Rhapsody in Blue, and Gershwin's place in American music, are well documented. Including a chronology and a selected bibliography, this excellent compendium is recommended for all libraries.-Bruce R. Schueneman, Texas A&M Univ. Lib., Kingsville Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

"A fascinating collection of articles, biographical reminiscences, reviews, musical analyses, and letters relating to the life and music of George Gershwin." --Library Journal

"How refreshing and exciting to see once again these surprises--and more--from the Gershwin scrapbooks, archives, private collections (some lost), in one cornucopia; the sweeping life of a wonderful great American master." --Edward Jablonski, historian, co-author of The Gershwin Years--George and Ira

"From early in Gershwin's career his music challenged Americans to rethink their assumptions about composition and performance, nationalism, cultural hierarchy, and the racial divide. Documenting that rethinking process, Wyatt and Johnson's reader also illuminates the life and legacy of one of American music's most charismatic figures." --Richard Crawford, University of Michigan

"A superb source book about a cornerstone figure in American Music...an indelible contribution to the very idea of American culture and how it got that way. Letters and pieces by Gershwin himself are prominent, but the book will go anywhere and everywhere to catch a glimpse of his raffish genius in the sunlight.... You get, then, Gershwin from many, if not all sides and seen through a huge variety of lenses."--Buffalo News

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198029854
  • Publisher: NetLibrary, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/12/2004
  • Series: Readers on American Musicians
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 875,729
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Robert Wyatt is a concert pianist and Gershwin authority who is now Executive Director of the Cape Cod Conservatory of Music. John Andrew Johnson is Assistant Professor of Musicology in the Department of Fine Arts at Syracuse University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
I Portraits of the Artist 1
1 In person, my brother was a good deal like his music 3
2 George Gershwin Was My Brother 3
3 Did you ever feel that a composer resembled his music? 6
4 Variations on a Gershwin Theme 7
5 George Gershwin Through the Eyes of a Friend 20
6 Gershwin Bros 25
7 Childhood of a Composer 27
II The Growing Limelight (1919-1924) 37
8 Letter to Max Abramson 39
9 Pianist, Playing Role of Columbus, Makes Another American Discovery: Beryl Rubinstein Says This Country Possesses Genius Composer 41
10 Letter to Ira Gershwin 42
11 Whiteman Judges Named: Committee Will Decide 'What Is American Music' 44
12 An Experiment 45
13 A Concert of Jazz 49
14 Letter to George Gershwin 52
15 The Gershwins in Britain 52
16 Which Came First? 57
III Fame and Fortune (1924-1930) 63
17 Lady, Be Good! 65
18 Letter to Lou and Emily Paley 72
19 That Certain Feeling 75
20 George Gershwin, An American Composer Who Is Writing Notable Music in the Jazz Idiom 77
21 New York Symphony at Carnegie Hall 82
22 Mr. George Gershwin Plays His New Jazz Concerto 85
23 Paul Whiteman Gives 'Vivid' Grand Opera; Jazz Rhythms of Gershwin's '135th Street' 87
24 Our New National Anthem 89
25 Jazz Is the Voice of the American Soul 91
26 Does Jazz Belong to Art? 94
27 Mr. Gershwin Replies to Mr. Kramer 98
28 The Ewe Lamb of Widow Jazz 101
29 d'Alvarez-Gershwin Recital 102
30 Someone to Watch Over Me 103
31 George Gershwin Accepts $100,000 Movietone Offer: Fox to Pay That Sum for Film Version of Musical Comedy - Composer Gets Bid of $50,000 for Rhapsody in Blue Rights 107
32 Letter to Mabel Schirmer 108
33 An American in Paris: Narrative Guide 110
34 Gershwin's New Score Acclaimed 112
35 Fifty Years of American Music ... Younger Composers, Freed from European Influences, Labor Toward Achieving a Distinctive American Musical Idiom 114
36 The Composer in the Machine Age 119
37 'Jazz,' the Critics, and American Art Music in the 1920s 123
IV Maturity (1930-1935) 131
38 Making Music 133
39 Satire to Music 137
40 George Gershwin 138
41 Of Thee I Sing, Kaufman-Ryskind Musical Comedy Satire at the Music Box 143
42 A Music Master Talks of His Trials 145
43 From William Grant Still: A Study in Contradictions 147
44 George Gershwin's 'I Got Rhythm' (1930) 156
45 The Gershwin Myth 172
46 George Gershwin as Orchestrator 175
47 George Gershwin Plays His Second Rhapsody for the First time Here with Koussevitsky and Boston Orchestra 177
48 Letter to Rose Gershwin 178
49 George the Ingenuous 179
50 Letter to Emily Paley 184
51 Letter to Ira Gershwin 185
52 The Future of Gershwin 186
V Porgy and Bess 191
53 From America's Folk Opera 193
54 Selected Correspondence 201
55 George Gershwin Arrives to Plan Opera on Porgy 211
56 Porgy and Bess, Native Opera, Opens at the Alvin: Gershwin's Work Based on DuBose Heyward's Play 213
57 Rhapsody in Catfish Row: Mr. Gershwin Tells the Origin and Scheme for His Music in That New Folk Opera Called 'Porgy and Bess' 217
58 From an Interview by Robert Wyatt 221
59 From an interview by Robert Wyatt 228
VI Last Years: Hollywood (1936-1937) 237
60 Hollywood - An Ending 239
61 Gershwin Analyzes Science of Rhythm 244
62 Radio Pays a Debt 246
63 A Foggy Day 250
64 Letters to Zenna Hannenfeldt 251
65 Letters to Mabel Schirmer 254
66 Letter to Emily Paley 259
67 Letter to Henry Botkin 260
68 Letter to Rose Gershwin 261
69 Letter to Rose Gershwin 263
70 Letter to Irene Gallagher 263
VII Obituaries and Eulogies 269
71 Report in Variety 271
72 George Gershwin 273
73 Hail and Farewell: Career and Position of George Gershwin in American Music 274
74 Poem 278
75 Tribute 279
76 Gershwin Left $341,089 Estate to His Mother; 'Rhapsody in Blue' Appraised at 'Greatest Value' and Opera Rights of 'Nominal Interest' to the Residue 280
77 Letter to Rose Gershwin 281
VIII As Time Passes 285
78 Music by Slide Rule 287
79 Gershwin on Gershwin 289
80 Gershwin, Schillinger, and Dukelsky: Some Reminiscences 289
81 Why Don't You Run Upstairs and Write a Nice Gershwin Tune? 293
82 George Gershwin 300
83 George Gershwin: yes, the sounds as well as the tunes are his 301
Chronology 309
Selected Bibliography 325
Credits 333
Index 335
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