THE GEORGE GERSHWIN READER
Edited by Robert Wyatt
George Gershwin is one of the giants of American music, unique in that he was both a brilliant writer of popular songs and of more serious music. Here, music lovers are treated to a spectacular celebration of this great American composer.
The Reader offers a kaleidoscopic collection of writings by Gershwin, as well as those about Gershwin, written by a who’s who of famous commentators. More than eighty pieces of superb variety, color, and depth include the critical debate over Gershwin’s concert pieces, especially Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris. There is a complete section devoted to the controversies over Porgy and Bess, including correspondence between Gershwin and DuBose Hayward, the opera’s librettist, plus unique interviews with the original Porgy and Bess–Todd Duncan and Anne Brown. Sprinkled throughout the book are excerpts from Gershwin’s own letters, which offer unique insight into this fascinating and charming man. Along with a detailed chronology of the composer’s life, the editors provide informative introductions to each entry.
Here is a book for anyone interested in American music. Scholars, performers, and Gershwin’s legions of fans will find it an irresistible feast.
“A superb source book about a cornerstone figure in American Music…an indelible contribution to the very idea of American culture and how it got that way. Letters and pieces by Gershwin himself are prominent, but the book will go anywhere and everywhere to catch a glimpse of his raffish genius in the sunlight…. You get, then, Gershwin from many, if not all sides and seen through a huge variety of lenses.” — Buffalo News
“How refreshing and exciting to see once again these surprises—and more—from the Gershwin scrapbooks, archives, private collections (some lost), in one cornucopia; the sweeping life of a wonderful great American master.” — Edward Jablonski, author of Gershwin, Gershwin Remembered, and The Gershwin Years
“The George Gershwin Reader, edited by Robert Wyatt and John Andrew Johnson, is a necessity for any lover of Gershwin’s music. The book’s well-selected contents, which range from some of Gershwin’s letters to contemporary reviews to more recent studies and reminiscences, bring home the truth of Ira Gershwin’s statement: ‘In person, my brother was a good deal like his music.’ ” — Claudia Roth Pierpont, The New Yorker
“A fascinating collection of articles, biographical reminiscences, reviews, musical analyses, and letters relating to the life and music of George Gershwin.” — Library Journal
“From early in Gershwin’s career his music challenged Americans to rethink their assumptions about composition and performance, nationalism, cultural hierarchy, and the racial divide. Documenting that rethinking process, Wyatt and Johnson’s reader also illuminates the life and legacy of one of American music’s most charismatic figures.” — Richard Crawford, University of Michigan