The Music of Gershwin


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Steven E. Gibert

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George Gershwin is perhaps the most popular American composer of the twentieth century, and his short and dramatic life has been the subject of much attention. His music, however, has never been scrutinized as closely as his life, and the composer known for his show tunes has had difficulty finding a niche in the world of "serious" music. This book is the first in-depth analysis of Gershwin's entire compositional oeuvre, including his concert music.

Weaving biographical material with musical analysis, Steven Gilbert presents a chronological study of the highlights of Gershwin's career. He discusses the well-known Rhapsody in Blue, Concerto in F, An American in Paris, and Porgy and Bess, as well as such popular songs as "Swanee." "S'Wonderful," "I Got Rhythm," "Love Walked In," and "Love Is Here to Stay." But he also examines relatively neglected works that are no less deserving, such as Second Rhapsody, Cuban Overture, and Pardon My English, the last of which, says Gilbert, was a failure on Broadway but was one of George and Ira Gershwin's finest collaborations. Written in a fluid, conversational style and illustrated with numerous musical examples, some of which have never before been published, this book will be enjoyed by general readers and appreciated by professional musicians and musical scholars alike.

Steven E. Gilbert is professor of music at California State University, Fresno. He is also a part-time music critic for the Fresno Bee and an occasional cocktail pianist.

"This book—the first thorough and systematic treatment of Gershwin's work from a theoretical perspective—will serve to establish Gershwin's 'legitimacy' to music scholars as one of our most central and accomplished, as well as popular, American composers. Written in a colorful way, it will also help make Gershwin's work accessible to those who are not specialists in theory or analysis."—Larry Starr, University of Washington, Seattle

"Gilbert uses detail to support meaningful and often strikingly original musical overviews of Gershwin's larger concert works and Porgy and Bess. . . . Gilbert's comparative discussions of Gershwin's unpublished holograph manuscripts and the published revisions throughout his analytical commentaries are invariably enlightening."—Geoffrey Block, University of Puget Sound Notes

ISBN: 9780300062335
Publication Date: October 25, 1995
268 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/2