Friday, April 8, 2016

G is for George Gershwin

 
              I am participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, and my theme this year is classical music. Check out the list of other participants by clicking here! G is for George Gershwin. Today’s featured video is a selection of piano parts from Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue performed by The 5 Browns. If you have never heard the Rhapsody in Blue in its entirety, I would recommend listening to it at least once. The full version is done with an orchestra and piano and could last around 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the tempo. I found one performance with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, which you can watch by clicking here. For now, let’s enjoy The 5 Browns’ piano version with 5 pianos!
 


 
 
   ·   George Gershwin is the first 20th century composer that I’m featuring. He was an American composer and pianist who lived from 1898 to 1937.
 
   ·   Gershwin’s claimed his song “Swanee,” with words written by Irving Caesar, was written in 10 minutes on a bus, and it was his first big success. After the Broadway singer, Al Jolson, recorded it, it sold one million sheet music copies and nearly two million records. Gershwin said, "Swanee penetrated the four corners of the earth."
 
   ·   His work was highly influenced by jazz music, but he also pursued studies in classical music. Composers Maurice Ravel and Arnold Schoenberg both refused to give him lessons in composition because they did not want strenuous classical study to ruin the jazz-themed style in his work.
 
   ·   Some of Gershwin’s most recognized works, include the Rhapsody  in Blue, An American in Paris, and the folk opera, Porgy and Bess. He also wrote a number of musicals with his brother, Ira Gershwin. Their musical, Girl Crazy, included the well-known song “I Got Rhythm.”



 
            Yesterday, I asked what did Felix Mendelssohn’s grandfather do? Answer: Moses Mendelssohn was a philosopher.

            For this challenge, I’m keeping a playlist of the videos I’m using plus some extras for anyone who wants to hear more. I will update with the latest letter each day. Today's additional video is an arrangement of George Gershwin's song "Summertime" for guitar put together and played by Gerhard Gschossmann from Germany (you like all the G's there?).
 

 
Have you seen any films featuring George Gershwin's music? An American in Paris, perhaps? He wrote the score for Shall We Dance, who were the stars of that 1937 film?

16 comments:

  1. I have heard of him and his work :) I didn't see any movies featuring his songs though. Seemed like he lived a short life.

    betty

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    1. Betty, he died of a brain tumor, very sad :(

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  2. love your theme! Thanks for the music!

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  3. Songwriting on a bus...I don't know much about composition, but you'd think it would be done at a piano!

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    1. Stephanie, I think he may have been stretching the truth a bit with that claim!

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  4. Oh yeah, I saw An American in Paris. I do love Rhapsody in Blue. Oh, and I'm a huge Astaire/Rogers fan, so of course I've seen Shall We Dance. (That's Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.)

    Liz A. from
    Laws of Gravity

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    1. I enjoyed An American in Paris :) Good job on your trivia answer!

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  5. I love Rhapsody in Blue, and Gershwin's work is awesome. Genius!

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    1. Yolanda, I agree, he has a very unique approach :)

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  6. I LOVE your theme!
    I actually wrote a short piece around the song Rhapsody In Blue...and there were other significant 'blue' references in the story, including a lapis lazuli stone and cerulean-coloured sails flapping in a breeze...
    Writer In Transit

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    1. Thank you, Michelle! That sounds like a fun story, I like using themes like that. I have a blog post featuring things that start with letter F, and this was before I ever heard of the A to Z Challenge :)

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  7. I really like Gershwin...sorry I am so behind, playing catch up. I know it's Fred and Ginger. I have seen that film plus An American in Paris and Porgy and Bess. What a shame he died so young.

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    1. Birgit, I wonder what more Gershwin would have done if he lived longer. I figured you would know the answer to this trivia :)

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