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George Gershwin - Essay Example

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In the essay “George Gershwin” the author discusses the artist George Gershwin. It is through his works that Jazz has found its way into mainstream music. His expressions have managed to influence many famous musicians. George Gershwin was born to a Russian-Jewish immigrant family…
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George Gershwin
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 "Since I found you" and "Raggin' the Traumeri" were the first two songs that George tried to publish but wasn't so lucky. Later on, he was able to get his song "When you want 'em you can't get 'em when you've got 'em you can't get 'em" published but wasn't able to make much impression on the public. First real fame came to him when Al Jolson popularized his song "Swanee" in 1919. Another notable success for him was in 1920 when he was hired to write music for "Scandals". Eventually, George and his elder brother Ira, together, were one of the dominant songwriters of the Broadway.
His works such as Oh, Kay! (1926), Funny Face (1927), Strike Up the Band (1927 & 30), Girl Crazy (1930) and Of Thee, I Sing (1931) is one of the few that are worth mentioning. But his most outstanding work was "Rhapsody in Blue" for Paul Whitman Orchestra which opened a new era in the music by bringing Jazz into mainstream music and established it as a credible music genre. Later on, he composed "Concerto in F" for the New York Symphony Society, which is also considered one of his wonderful works amongst others such as "An American in Paris" and "Second Rhapsody". One of the interesting works he did was folk opera by the name of "Peggy and Bess" along with co-writers, Ira Gershwin, DuBose, and Dorothy Heyward, which made its way to Broadway on 10th October 1935. Disaster struck in July 1937. George was admitted to Cedars of Lebanon Hospital where he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and was operated. He could not survive and was pronounced dead on 11th July 1937. His last song "Love is here to stay", is here to stay in the hearts of everyone who knew him.
In conclusion, Gershwin has always been inspired by classical European music and he elegantly combined it with something that originated in the gatherings of the African-American communities and managed to bring it into opera houses and Broadway while at the same time inspiring many others. Few of them such as Frank Sinatra, Nina Simone, Bing Crosby, and Sting have recorded many of his songs. Many musicians like Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and many more have admired his work by depicting it in their work. In an article by John Rockwell in New York Times, 1987, praises Gershwin by citing Paul Simon's example as to how this folk-rock artist carries forward the legacy of the great legend in his work "Graceland". Furthermore, in the same article he says, "If Gershwin didn't push the boundaries of classical music forward in his concert pieces(sic), he at least aspired to transcend the song forms and the limited harmonic language he started with. And that is something that today's ambitious pop art-song composers like Mr. Simon, David Byrne, Stevie Wonder, and even Bruce Springsteen could profitably learn from him." In 2007, the Library of Congress created the Gershwin Prize in the memory of Gershwin brothers, for the artists with lifetime contribution to popular music. So far Paul McCartney (2009), Stevie Wonder (2008) and Paul Simon (2007) have been the three recipients.
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