George Gershwin: An Intimate Portrait by Walter Rimler

By Walter Rimler

George Gershwin lived with goal and gusto, yet with depression besides, for he used to be not able to make a spot for himself--no kin of his personal and no genuine domestic in music.


He and his siblings bought little love from their mom and no course from their father. Older brother and lyricist Ira controlled to create a house while he married Leonore Strunsky, a hard-edged lady who lived for wealth and standing. the nearest George got here to domesticity was once via his longtime courting with Kay rapid. She used to be his lover, musical confidante, and fellow composer. yet she remained married to a different guy whereas he went ceaselessly from girl to girl. merely within the ultimate hours of his lifestyles, after they have been separated by means of a continent, did he notice how a lot he wanted her. Fatally ailing, unprotected through (and maybe estranged from) Ira, he used to be exiled through Leonore from the home she and the brothers shared, and he died horribly and on my own on the age of thirty-eight.


Nor was once Gershwin capable of finding a delightful musical harbor. For years his songwriting genius can be expressed in simple terms within the ephemeral international of express enterprise, as his brilliance as a composer of large-scale works went unrecognized via intellectual song critics. while he resolved this situation together with his opera Porgy and Bess, the critics have been not able to appreciate or validate it. a long time could cross prior to this, his so much formidable composition, used to be universally considered as one in every of music’s lasting treasures and ahead of his stature as an exceptional composer turned secure.   


In George Gershwin: An Intimate Portrait, Walter Rimler uses clean resources, together with newly found letters by way of Kay rapid in addition to correspondence among and interviews with intimates of Ira and Leonore Gershwin. it truly is written with lively prose and comprises greater than dozen photographs.

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When Rose and Morris did turn their attention to Ira, it was to use him. He was the one who in hard times was sent to pawn his mother’s diamond ring. He was the one who went to Public School 25 to talk George’s teachers out of expelling him. indd 17 4/2/09 8:51:59 AM 18 and Jules Verne), he was made to work at one and another of his father’s innumerable businesses: a cigar store (with billiard parlor), a Turkish bath, restaurants, bakeries, a hotel. During this time, he began to write jokes, stories, and light verse for local newspapers.

In the mid-1920s, he was refused admission to the Lake Placid Club because he was a Jew. In 1934, on a concert tour, he would be denied a hotel room in Toronto for the same reason. When, in 1925, Vanity Fair magazine asked him and other celebrities to write their own epitaphs, his contribution was “Here lies the body of George Gershwin, American composer. Composer? ” One read: “The song pluggers of the theater, vaudeville and radio are the paid agents of the Yiddish song agencies. Money and not merit dominates the spread of this moron music which is styled Jewish, jazz and swing.

When Berg asked him to demonstrate his own music, he became embarrassed by it; it seemed to him, at that moment, inadvisable to launch into the Rhapsody in Blue. “Mr. ”8 When George returned to America, he brought the music of the Lyric Suite with him, as well as a signed photo of Berg, which he framed and displayed prominently in his apartment. Back home, he continued work on the new orchestral piece at Bydale. There Kay heard it come to life and watched as he completed the orchestration. It was just as he had told her—he was digging beyond gloom to get to joy, and the resulting music, like the city it depicted, was radiant.

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