George Gershwin Was an American Research Paper

  • Length: 8 pages
  • Sources: 6
  • Subject: Music
  • Type: Research Paper
  • Paper: #67596723

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Gershwin was influenced by French composers of the early twentieth century. The orchestrations in Gershwin's symphonic works frequently seem comparable to those of Ravel; similarly, Ravel's two piano concertos demonstrate an influence of Gershwin. Gershwin asked to learn with Ravel. Gershwin's own Concerto in F. was condemned for being connected to the work of Claude Debussy, more so than to the probable jazz style. The association did not discourage Gershwin from enduring to explore French styles. The title of an American in Paris replicates the very voyage that he had intentionally taken as a composer (Biography, 2010).

Aside from the French influence, Gershwin was fascinated by the works of Alban Berg, Dmitri Shostakovich, Igor Stravinsky, Darius Milhaud, and Arnold Schoenberg. He also asked Schoenberg for composition teachings, but Schoenberg refused. Russian Joseph Schillinger's persuasion as Gershwin's teacher of composition (1932 -- 1936) was considerable in providing him with a technique to composition. There has been some discrepancy about the character of Schillinger's influence on Gershwin. After the posthumous triumph of Porgy and Bess, Schillinger maintained he had a great and direct influence in supervising the formation of the opera. Ira absolutely denied that his brother had any such help for this work. A third description of Gershwin's musical relationship with his teacher was written by Gershwin's close friend Vernon Duke, also a Schillinger student, in an article for the Musical Quarterly in 1947 (Biography, 2010).

What placed Gershwin separately was his capability to maneuver forms of music into his own exclusive voice. He took the jazz he revealed on Tin Pan Alley into the conventional by merging its rhythms and tonality with that of the trendy songs of his era. In 2007, the Library of Congress named their Prize for Popular Song after George and Ira Gershwin. Distinguishing the thoughtful and affirmative effect of trendy music on culture, the prize is given yearly to a composer or performer whose lifetime offerings demonstrate the standard of excellence connected with the Gershwins. On March 1, 2007, the first Gershwin Prize was given to Paul Simon (Biography, 2010).

At the beginning of his career Gershwin made dozens of player piano roll recordings, which were a chief source of earnings for him. A lot of are of trendy music of the period and others were his own works. Once his musical theatre-writing career took priority, his normal roll-recording sessions decreased. He did record supplementary rolls during the 1920s, including a complete version of his Rhapsody in Blue. Compared to the piano rolls, there are a small number of easy to get to audio recordings of Gershwin's playing. His first recording was his own Swanee with the Fred Van Eps Trio in 1919. The recorded balance highlights the banjo playing of Van Eps, and the piano is outshined. The recording took place prior to Swanee became celebrated as an Al Jolson specialty in early 1920 (Biography, 2010).

Gershwin also recorded a shortened account of Rhapsody in Blue with Paul Whiteman and his orchestra for the Victor Talking Machine Company in 1924, soon after the world opening. Gershwin and the same orchestra made an electrical recording of the shortened version for Victor in 1927. On the other hand, a disagreement in the studio over understanding angered Paul Whiteman and he left. The conductor's baton was taken over by Victor's staff conductor Nathaniel Shilkret. In 1925, Gershwin sat down at the keyboard of an Aeolean Duo-Art Weber reproducing piano and fashioned a precise record of his well-known Rhapsody in Blue. This piano and the recording persist to exist today and can be heard more than a few times per day at the Music House Museum positioned near Traverse City, Michigan (Biography, 2010).

Gershwin made a quantity of solo piano recordings of tunes from his musicals, some containing the singing of Fred and Adele Astaire, as well as his Three Preludes for piano. In 1929, Gershwin administered the world premiere recording of an American in Paris with Nathaniel Shilkret and the Victor Symphony Orchestra. Gershwin's role in the recording was quite partial, predominantly for the reason that Shilkret was conducting and had his own thoughts about the music. When it was comprehended no one had been employed to play the brief Celeste solo, Gershwin was asked if he might play the instrument, and he agreed. Gershwin can be heard, quite momentarily, on the recording throughout the slow part (Biography, 2010).

Gershwin appeared on more than a few radio programs, including Rudy Vallee's, and played some of his works. This included the third movement of the Concerto in F. with Vallee conducting the studio orchestra. Some of these recitals were preserved on transcription discs and have been released on LP and CD. In 1934, in an attempt to make money to fund his planned folk opera, Gershwin put on his own radio program titled Music by Gershwin. The show was broadcast on the NBC Blue Network from February to May and again in September through the final show on December 23, 1934. He presented his own work as well as the work of others. Recordings from this and other radio broadcasts include his Variations on I Got Rhythm, portions of the Concerto in F, and many songs from his musical comedies. He also recorded a run through of his Second Rhapsody, conducting the orchestra and playing the piano solos. Gershwin recorded pieces from Porgy and Bess with members of the initial cast, conducting the orchestra from the keyboard; he even proclaimed the collections and the names of the players. In 1935 RCA Victor asked him to oversee recordings of highlights from Porgy and Bess; these were his final recordings (Biography, 2010).

Detected with a brain tumor early in 1937, Gershwin was in Hollywood working on the score of the movie "The Goldwyn Follies" (1938) when he collapsed. He died on July 11, 1937 after surgery was performed on him at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital. He was only 38 years old. Gershwin was one of the first artists to establish jazz elements into accepted songs, using what he had revealed and learned in his years at Tin Pan Alley. In 2007, the Library of Congress named their Prize for Popular Song after him and his brother (Chiedozie, 2011). Nowadays Gershwin's works are performed with ever larger occurrence than they were in his short lifetime. The songs and concert pieces are showing to be a lasting heritage as a fleeting look at the pages of any record catalogue will rapidly show (George Gershwin, n.d.).


A Complete Guide to George and Ira. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2011, from Web site:

Biography. (2010). Retrieved February 1, 2011, from Web site:

Chiedozie, Anjus. (2011). Retrieved January 29, 2011, from Web site:

George Gershwin. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2011, from Web site:

George Gershwin. (2006). Retrieved…

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