The George Gershwin Reader

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Robert Wyatt, John Andrew Johnson
Oxford University Press, 2007 - Music - 354 pages
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 celebration of this great American composer. The Reader offers a kaleidoscopic collection of writings by and about Gershwin, including 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 Berlin, 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 -- Todd Duncan and Anne Brown. Sprinkled throughout the book are excerpts from Gershwin's own letters, which offer unique insight into this fascinating and charming man. Along with a detailed chronology of the composer's life, the editors provide informative introductions to each entry.
 

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The George Gershwin reader

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Editors Wyatt (executive director, Cape Cod Conservatory of Music) and Johnson (musicology, Syracuse Univ.) have assembled a fascinating collection of articles, biographical reminiscences, reviews ... Read full review

Contents

I PORTRAITS OF THE ARTIST
1
II THE GROWING LIMELIGHT 19191924
37
III FAME AND FORTUNE 19241930
63
IV MATURITY 19301935
131
V PORGY AND BESS
191
HOLLYWOOD 19361937
237
VII OBITUARIES AND EULOGIES
269
VIII AS TIME PASSES
285
Chronology
309
Selected Bibliography
325
Credits
333
Index
335
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About the author (2007)


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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