Irving Berlin

Composition Types

Biography

Born: May 11, 1888; Tyumen, Russia   Died: September 22, 1989; New York, NY  
The most commercially successful of all American songwriters during the first half of the twentieth century, Irving Berlin was neither American-born nor able to read or write music. Berlin could play only the black keys of the piano, using a special lever to transpose out of F sharp and having an assistant transcribe the music. Born Israel Baline in Russia to a cantor and his wife, the child never received any real musical education; when the Read more family came to the United States, his father abandoned music. Israel sang for pennies on the street and eventually got a job as a singing waiter, attracting attention with his risqué parodies of popular songs. His first published effort, "Marie From Sunny Italy," was a 1907 collaboration with the café's pianist; it was on this song's title page that he first used the name Irving Berlin. In 1908 came "Dorando," the first of some 1,500 songs for which Berlin would write both the words and music. His early songs were very much period pieces, ethnic and novelty songs, and the key to Berlin's success would be his ability to adapt to whatever style was popular at the time. His career ended only when he was unable to come to terms with rock & roll. Berlin's first major hit was "Alexander's Ragtime Band" in 1911. Soon, he was contributing to Broadway revues. Berlin was instrumental in establishing ASCAP, the composers' society, in 1914, and in 1919, he formed his own music publishing firm. In the 1920s, Berlin wrote such tremendously popular songs as "All by Myself," "Always," and "What'll I Do?" Hollywood beckoned as soon as talkies developed; Berlin's "Blue Skies" was incorporated into The Jazz Singer. Most notable among Berlin's film efforts was his work for Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers vehicles, starting with Top Hat. During World War II, his wistful "White Christmas" became a top seller, and Berlin's career peaked in 1945 with the musical Annie Get Your Gun, which spawned "There's No Business Like Show Business." After the 1950 Broadway hit Call Me Madam, Berlin's career went into a slow decline and he essentially withdrew after the failure of his 1962 show Mr. President. Nevertheless, he could look back with satisfaction on a career that included the best-selling single in American history ("White Christmas"), the theme of the entertainment industry ("There's No Business Like Show Business"), and the "shadow" national anthem ("God Bless America"). Read less
Browse 1-25 of 267 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    It's Christmas! / Jonas Kaufmann
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 19439786762 Release Date: 11/20/2020   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Traditional,  Michael Praetorius,  George Frideric Handel,  Christoph von Schmid  ... 
    Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann,  Florian Pedarnig,  Till Brönner
    Conductor:  Jochen Rieder,  Wieland Reissmann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Florian Boys' Choir,  Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra,  Salzburg Bach Choir  ... 
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  • 2.
    Eileen Farrell: Complete Columbia Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 19075991902 Release Date: 01/31/2020   Number of Discs: 16
    Composer:  Alban Berg,  Luigi Cherubini,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Carl Maria von Weber  ... 
    Performer:  Friedrich Jagel,  David Lloyd,  Edwina Eustis,  Hubert Norville  ... 
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos,  Arnold Gamson,  Max Rudolf,  Luther Henderson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schola Cantorum,  High School of Music and Art Chorus,  New York Philharmonic  ... 
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  • 3.
    Clair de Noel / Salzedo Harp Duo
    Label: Azica   Catalog: 71332 Release Date: 01/10/2020   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mykola Leontovych,  David Ice,  Traditional,  William James Kirkpatrick  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Salzedo Harp Duo
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  • 4.
    Christmas Brass 2 / Brass Arts Quintet
    Label: Mark Records   Catalog: 54505 Release Date: 01/03/2020   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Lowell Mason,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Franz Schubert,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Brass Arts Quintet
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  • 5.
    Colours of Christmas / Trumpets in Concert
    Label: Ars Produktion   Catalog: 38292 Release Date: 01/03/2020   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Manuel Lichtenwöhrer,  Gernot Kahofer,  Leonhard Leeb,  Bernhard Macheiner  ... 
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  • 6.
    Pure Imagination Great Songs from the Stage & Screen / Glazier
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3716 Release Date: 06/07/2019   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anthony Newley,  Jerry Bock,  Johnny Mercer,  Jule Styne  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Glazier,  Robin Fisher
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  • 7.
    Woolf: Ein Engel in der Nacht - eine musikalische Erzahlung / Haimovitz, Uccello
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186798 Release Date: 03/15/2019   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Luna Pearl Woolf,  Traditional,  John Lennon,  Gordon Getty  ... 
    Performer:  Matt Haimovitz,  Zheng Cao,  Caterina Lichtenberg,  Mike Marshall  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Morgan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  UCCELLO,  St. Martin de Porres School Children's Choir
    SuperAudio CD: $24.99
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  • 8.
    Woolf: Angel Heart - A Music Storybook / Uccello, St. Martin de Porres School Children's Choir
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186731 Release Date: 11/16/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Luna Pearl Woolf,  Traditional,  John Lennon,  Gordon Getty  ... 
    Performer:  Matt Haimovitz,  Frederica Von Stade,  Lisa Delan,  Mike Marshall  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Morgan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  UCCELLO,  St. Martin de Porres School Children's Choir
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  • 9.
    American Originals / Russell, Cincinnati Pops
    Label: Fanfare Cincinnati   Catalog: 13 Release Date: 11/09/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  James Reese Europe,  Walter Donaldson,  George M. Cohan,  Perry Bradford  ... 
    Performer:  Rhiannon Giddens,  Pokey LaFarge,  Robyn Watson,  Robert Sullivan
    Conductor:  John Morris Russell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops,  Steep Canyon Rangers
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  • 10.
    My Playlist for the Christmas Season
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578349 Release Date: 11/09/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Robert Chilcott,  Felix Bernard  ... 
    Performer:  Ilya Rashkovsky,  Tanya Houghton,  Joseph Lin,  Benjamin Loeb  ... 
    Conductor:  Peter Breiner,  Matthew Berry,  Richard Hayman,  Gavin Sutherland  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia,  Commotio,  Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 11.
    Let's Go In to a Picture Show: Silent Cinema Recordings 1907-1922
    Label: Harbinger   Catalog: 3403 Release Date: 09/21/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Len Spencer,  Albert Von Tilzer,  T. W. Thurban,  George Christie  ... 
    Performer:  Ada Jones,  Len Spencer,  Byron G. Harlan,  Walter van Brunt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Edison Military Band,  Metropolitan Military Band
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  • 12.
    Boni Pueri's Wonderful World
    Label: Arco Diva   Catalog: 197 Release Date: 02/02/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George David Weiss,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Bedrich Smetana,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Fuchs
    Conductor:  Pavel Horák
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boni Pueri Boys Choir
    CD: $17.99
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  • 13.
    John Williams: Conductor
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 541779 Release Date: 02/02/2018   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Jule Styne,  Andrew Lloyd Webber,  Claude-Michel Schönberg,  Stephen Sondheim  ... 
    Conductor:  John Williams,  John Williams,  Hans Stadlmair
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops,  Skywalker Symphony Orchestra,  Tanglewood Festival Chorus
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  • 14.
    Christmas with Canterbury Cathedral Girls Choir
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002777002 Release Date: 12/15/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Francis Wade,  Adolphe Adam,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Franz Xaver Gruber  ... 
    Conductor:  David Newsholme
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canterbury Cathedral Girls' Choir
    CD: $19.99
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  • 15.
    Imagine Christmas
    Label: Sono Luminus   Catalog: 92216 Release Date: 10/27/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Steve Nelson,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Irving Berlin,  Johnny Marks  ... 
    Performer:  Bruce Levingston,  Irina Muresanu,  Matei Varga,  Ronn McFarlane  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Galilei,  Jasper String Quartet,  Cuarteto Latinoamericano  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 16.
    Weihnachts Lieder (Deluxe Box)
    Label: Carus   Catalog: 83031 Release Date: 10/06/2017   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Michael Praetorius,  Götz Payer,  Traditional,  Paul Kickstat  ... 
    Performer:  Götz Payer,  Julian Prégardien,  Ingeborg Danz,  Sibylla Rubens  ... 
    Conductor:  Frieder Bernius,  Kay Johannsen,  Marcus Creed,  Michael Alber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Choir,  Hamburger Ratsmusik,  Les Escapades  ... 
    CD: $34.99
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  • 17.
    The Great Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 5423592 Release Date: 08/04/2017   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giacomo Puccini,  Cesare Andrea Bixio  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Andrea Griminelli,  Placido Domingo,  José Carreras
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Emerson Buckley,  Steven Mercurio
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano,  Emilia Romagna Arturo Toscanini Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 18.
    Pictures of America / Dessay
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88985386282 Release Date: 01/13/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Burton Lane,  Leonard Bernstein,  Frank Sinatra,  Stephen Sondheim  ... 
    Performer:  Natalie Dessay
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  • 19.
    Carols from Chelsea / Vann, Orford, Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospital Chelsea
    Label: Somm   Catalog: 0161 Release Date: 11/18/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Xaver Gruber,  Henry John Gauntlett,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  James Orford,  Eloise Irving,  Thomas Stoddart,  Angus McPhee  ... 
    Conductor:  William Vann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chelsea Royal Hospital Chapel Choir
    CD: $18.99
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  • 20.
    America Again / Downes
    Label: Sono Luminus   Catalog: 92207 Release Date: 10/28/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Morton Gould,  Lou Harrison,  Traditional,  Amy Marcy Beach  ... 
    Performer:  Lara Downes
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  • 21.
    Ultimate Christmas Collection / Mormon Tabernacle Choir
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 535958 Release Date: 10/21/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Lowell Mason,  Mykola Leontovych,  Traditional,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Mormon Tabernacle Choir,  Alexander Schreiner,  Frank Asper,  Marilyn Horne  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard P. Condie,  Jerold D. Ottley,  Leonard Bernstein,  Jerold Ottley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Brass & Percussion Ensemble,  Columbia Brass Ensemble
    CD: $11.99
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  • 22.
    Twelve Days of Christmas / The King's Men
    Label: King's College Choir   Catalog: 0017 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jim Clements,  Mariah Carey,  Mel Torme,  Traditional  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The King's Men
    CD: $13.99
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  • 23.
    Christmas 101
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002507302 Release Date: 09/23/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Traditional,  John Francis Wade,  William James Kirkpatrick  ... 
    Performer:  Sir Andrew Davis,  Simon Preston,  Harvey Alan,  David Corkhill  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks,  John Rutter,  Sir Neville Marriner,  John Eliot Gardiner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $46.99
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  • 24.
    Christmas on Stage & Screen / U.S. Air Force Band & Singing Sergeants
    Label: Klavier Records   Catalog: 77047 Release Date: 09/09/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Jerry Herman,  Jule Styne,  Ralph Blane  ... 
    Conductor:  Lowell Graham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  United States Air Force Band,  United States Air Force Singing Sergeants
    CD: $17.99
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  • 25.
    Christmas Songbook / The King's Singers
    Label: Signum Classics   Catalog: 459 Release Date: 08/12/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Walter "Jack" Rollins,  Johnny Marks,  Hugh Martin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The King's Singers
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