The Cambridge Companion to Gershwin

The Cambridge Companion to Gershwin

by Anna Harwell Celenza (Editor)


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George Gershwin is often described as a quintessentially American composer. This Cambridge Companion explains why, engaging with the ways in which his music was shaped by American political, intellectual, cultural and business interests. As a composer and performer, Gershwin embraced technological advances and broke new ground in music business practices. In the decades preceding World War II, he captured the mechanistic pulse of modern life with his concert works and lay the groundwork for the Great American Songbook with his Broadway shows and film music. With his brother Ira, and his cousins Henry and B. A. Botkin, Gershwin explored various ethnic and cultural identities and contemplated their roles in US culture. His music confronted race during the Jim Crow era and continues to engage with issues of race today. This interdisciplinary exploration of Gershwin's life and music describes his avowed pursuit of an 'American' musical identity and its ongoing legacy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781108437646
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 08/22/2019
Series: Cambridge Companions to Music
Pages: 332
Product dimensions: 6.85(w) x 9.72(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

Anna Harwell Celenza is the Thomas E. Caestecker Professor of Music at Georgetown University, where she also serves as core faculty in the American Studies Program. She is the author/editor of many scholarly books, including the award-winning Jazz Italian Style: From Its Origins in New Orleans to Fascist Italy and Sinatra (Cambridge, 2017).  She has published numerous articles on a range of composers, from Franz Liszt and Gustav Mahler to Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn and Louis Armstrong.

Table of Contents

Part I. Historical Context: 1. The unlikely patriarch Michael Owen; 2. Hearing Gershwin's New York Ellen Noonan; 3. Gershwin's musical education Susan Neimoyer; 4. Gershwin in Hollywood Jessica Getman; Part II. Profiles of the Music: 5. Blue Monday and New York theatrical aesthetics Kristen M. Turner; 6. Broadway in blue: Gershwin's musical theatre scores and songs Todd Decker; 7. The works for piano and orchestra Timothy Freeze; 8. Harmonizing music and money: Gershwin's economic strategies from 'Swanee' to An American in Paris Mark Clague; 9. Exploring new worlds: An American in Paris, Cuban Overture and Porgy and Bess Anna Harwell Celenza; 10. Complexities in Gershwin's Porgy and Bess: historical and performing contexts Naomi André; 11. Writing for the big screen: Shall We Dance and A Damsel in Distress Nathan Platte; Part III. Influence and Reception: 12. The coverage of Gershwin in music history text Howard Pollack; 13. When Ella Fitzgerald sang Gershwin: a chapter from the Great American Songbook Will Friedwald; 14. The afterlife of Rhapsody in Blue Ryan Raul Bañagale; 15. Broadway's 'new' Gershwin musicals: romance, jazz, and the ghost of Fred Astaire Todd Decker; 16. Gershwin and instrumental jazz Nate Sloan; Epilogue: the Gershwin I knew, and the Gershwin I know Michael Feinstein.

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