George Gershwin


Born: 1898   Died: 1937   Country: USA   Period: 20th Century
In a career tragically cut short in mid-stride by a brain tumor, George Gershwin (1898-1937) proved himself to be not only one of the great songwriters of his extremely rich era, but also a gifted "serious" composer who bridged the worlds of classical and popular music. The latter is all the more striking, given that, of his contemporaries, Gershwin was the most influenced by such styles as jazz and blues.

Gershwin's first
Read more major hit, interpolated into the show Sinbad in 1919, was "Swanee," sung by Al Jolson. Gershwin wrote both complete scores and songs for such variety shoes as George White's Scandals (whose annual editions thus were able to introduce such songs as "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise" and "Somebody Loves Me").

After 1924, Gershwin worked primarily with his brother Ira as his lyricist. The two scored a series of Broadway hits in the '20s and early '30s, starting with Lady Be Good (1924), which included the song "Fascinatin' Rhythm." 1924 was also the year Gershwin composed his first classical piece, "Rhapsody in Blue," and he would continue to work in the classical field until his death.

By the '30s, the Gershwins had turned to political topics and satire in response to the onset of the Depression, and their Of Thee I Sing became the first musical to win a Pulitzer Prize. In the mid '30s, Gershwin ambitiously worked to meld his show music and classical leanings in the creation of the folk opera Porgy and Bess, with lyrics by Ira and Dubose Heyward. The Gershwins had moved to Hollywood and were engaged in several movie projects at the time of George Gershwin's death. Read less
Gershwin: Preludes, Songs;  Corea: Children's Songs / Bates
Release Date: 09/04/1992   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8550341   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $12.99
CD: $11.49
In Stock
On sale!   $12.99   CD:  $11.49 Add CD to Cart

Gershwin / Judd, New Zealand
Release Date: 05/21/2002   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8559107   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $12.99
CD: $11.49
In Stock
On sale!   $12.99   CD:  $11.49 Add CD to Cart

Gershwin In Black And White / Haskell Small
Release Date: 10/05/1993   Label: Centaur Records  
Catalog: 2174   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $16.99
CD: $15.49
In Stock
On sale!   $16.99   CD:  $15.49 Add CD to Cart

The George Gershwin Songbook / Julie Hill, Craig Bohmler
Release Date: 08/12/2000   Label: Centaur Records  
Catalog: 2322   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $16.99
CD: $15.49
In Stock
On sale!   $16.99   CD:  $15.49 Add CD to Cart

The Best Of Gershwin
Release Date: 02/20/2001   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8556686   Number of Discs: 1
On sale!
CD: $8.99
In Stock
On sale!     CD:  $8.99 Add CD to Cart

Work: Girl Crazy: I got rhythm


About This Work
According to Isaac Goldberg, Gershwin's first biographer, I Got Rhythm originated as a slow number in the Gershwins' 1928 flop, Treasure Girl, which closed on Broadway after 68 performances. And, as was the case with Embraceable You, it was to have Read more been included in Florenz Ziegfeld's East Is West, for which the Gershwins compiled a considerable score and which never made it to the boards. In the upshot, both numbers found a definitive place in the Aarons and Freedley production, Girl Crazy, which opened at the Alvin Theater on October 14, 1930, for a run of 272 performances. Embraceable You was taken, with stage veteran Allen Kearns, by the 19-year-old Ginger Rogers, while I Got Rhythm -- in its familiar jauntily upbeat version -- featured 23-year-old Ethel Merman making her Broadway debut.

Merman was Vinton Freedley's find. Having heard her singing between movies at the Brooklyn Paramount Theater, he immediately engaged her. She auditioned soon after for the Gershwins in Sam and Delilah and I Got Rhythm, and George, always obliging, offered to make changes to suit her. "They will do very nicely, Mr. Gershwin," she replied. And they did. Ira Gershwin recalled "her assurance, timing and delivery both as comedienne and singer -- with a no-nonsense voice that could reach not only the standees but the ticket takers in the lobby."

I'm chipper all the day,

Happy with my lot.

How do I get that way?

Look at what I've got:

I got rhythm,

I got music,

I got my man --

Who could ask for anything more?

Thus brilliantly launched, the tune continued to hold a fascination for George, who devoted one of his more elaborate transcriptions to it in George Gershwin's Song Book, published in 1932, and lovingly garlanded it with sublime invention in one of his finest instrumental works, the Variations on "I Got Rhythm," for piano and orchestra, in 1934.

-- Adrian Corleonis, All Music Guide Read less

Select a specific Performer, Conductor or Ensemble or browse recordings by Formats & Featured below

ArkivMusic Recommendation

ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart


Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $0.0/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Already a subscriber? Sign In