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George Gershwin September 26, 1898 – June 11, 137 Who was George Gershwin? Son Both of his parents were Russian Immigrants Brother One of 4 children Friend He learned to love music by attending a friends recital Pianist He had a natural talent Composer He composed many different types of music 1910 The Gershwin Family purchased their first Piano. 1912 George began studying under Charles Hambitzer 1914 He dropped out of school and began working as a “song plugger” What is a “song plugger”? a pianist who plays music inside a music store in order to sell the new sheet music 1916 George published his first song “When you Want Em you can’t get Em” • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKXtleLs4-c 1918 Began working for Harms 1919 Composed “Swanee” and his Fame began In the 1920’s George and his brother Ira joined together to write several shows. Lady Be Good (1924) Primrose (1924) Tell Me More (1924) Tip Toes (1925) Oh Kay (1926) Funny Face (1927) Rosalie (1928) Treasure Girl (1928) Show Girl (1929) Strike Up the Band (1929). “Rhapsody in Blue” Commissioned by “Paul Whitman” in 1924 Jazz influenced for Piano and Orchestra George has 6 weeks to compose this piece Inspired by the sound of the train on the tracks Gershwin improvised the piano solos himself Opened February 12, 1924 Let’s listen to “Rhapsody in Blue” • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFHdRkeEnpM “ not a composition at all but a string of …terrific tunes…stuck together with a thin paste of flour and water ” This is a quote by Leonard Bernstein in an article on Classical notes Listening Guide for “Rhapsody in Blue” 0:00 The piece starts out with the Clarinet playing a moderate tempo 0:42 The Clarinet continued but the tempo moves a little faster and the woodwinds join in. 1:05 At this point the a small piano solo begins 1:11 The entire orchestra joins in for just a few seconds, your ear turns to hear the cymbals chime in 1:19 The extended piano solo begins, during this solo, that is about 2 minutes long, there are several repeated cords. The theme of the solo is a blues theme. 2:30 The tempos slows down 2:50 Tempo speeds up again 3:14 The full orchestra joins in again with a fast tempo. The theme continues to be a Blues theme. 3:48 The full orchestra is continuing to play using a march like theme. (I would compare this part of the piece to something out of a Disney movie). 4:25 The flute joins in playing in slow flutters. 4:40 The tempo speeds back up with the full orchestra playing. 5:16 A small trumpet solo plays at this point of the piece. 5:30 A Jazz theme is being played by the full orchestra. 5:57 There is a short pause and then the clarinet starts playing a slow tempo followed by the full orchestra chiming in with the piano accenting the sound. 6:35 Another extended piano solo playing several repeated cords. This was an amazing section of the piece, the only way I can explain it is that it is a Jazz like theme. 7:30 The piano solo is still playing using a slow tempo and repeated notes. 8:40 The tempo speeds up and almost sounds like it is a race. 9:20 The tempo slows down again and speeds up again. The piece is playing repeated notes. 10:00 – 11:00 The piano solo continues using repeated note for about a full minute 11:32 The Strings join in and begin to play a soft melody. The theme turns to a Romantic theme. 12:10 The cymbals join the strings. 12:25 The full orchestra joins in again 12:48 The melody moves to a higher tempo. 13:15 Another piano solo, this starts out slow and then changes to fast and then slow again. The theme is still Romantic. 14:35 The melody here is suspenseful. It almost sounds like something scary is going to happen. 15:26 At this point the woodwinds join the piano. 16:01 The full orchestra join in playing a Jazz theme. 17:00 The full orchestra is still playing a distinct sound, the cymbals and piano stand out. Gershwin composes his first Opera “Porgy & Bess” • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7-Qa92Rzbk Off to Hollywood for George and Ira! July 11, 1937 George Gershwin Passes Away at the age of 39! Bibliography 29 September 2014. <https://www.sfcv.org/learn/composer-gallery/gershwin-george>. "George Gershwin." Bio. 2014. A&E Television Networks. 29 September 2014. Cracium, Liviu. CMUSE. n.d. 01 October 2014. <http://cmuse.org/most-interesting-facts-about-george-gershwin/>. George Gershwin. 2004. Encyclopedia of World Biography. 01 October 2014. <http;//www.encyclopedia.com>. George Gershwin. n.d. 06 October 2014. <http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/george-gershwin-328.php>. George Gershwin. n.d. 06 October 2014. <http://www.artsalive.ca/en/mus/greatcomposers/gershwin.html>. Gutmann, Peter. Classical Notes. 2003. 01 October 2014. http://www.classicalnotes.net/classics/gershwin.html . Music Academy Online. n.d. 01 October 2014. <http;//www.musicacademyonline.com/composer/biographies.php?bid=58>. Pollack, Howard. George Gershwin, His Life and Work. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2006.